THERE was Stratford Boat Club success to savour at the delightful two-day Ironbridge Regatta in Shropshire.
Raced just upstream from the iconic Telford World Heritage bridge and under the gaze of the imposing and majestic cooling towers of the former power station, the Saturday event was held over the 1000m course in cloudy but warm conditions suitable for good racing.
First out of the blocks for Stratford was Tim Lunel in Masters D category (age 50 to 55 years) single sculls. He made an imposing start to the day with a fine win in his semi-final against a high quality Bewdley sculler, winning by just over two lengths in a well contested race.
Next on the water was Mike Adkins racing in Masters G category (age 60 to 65 years) single sculls. Mike, racing a full age category younger than his actual age, had his work cut out against Walker from Grosvenor, a former national champion and World Championship medallist.
Undaunted, Mike produced a fine row to provide some good sculling but was unable to seal a win against such good quality opposition.
Closely following on behind Mike was the final of the Mixed Masters’ E (average age 50 to 55 years) double sculls featuring Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty.
Against a much-fancied Stourport crew who led by a length off the start, a nip and tuck race saw not much more than a length between the crews for the whole of the course, with Stratford putting in a powerful push at the 500m mark to inch ahead to a length lead which they held to the finish despite a strong counter-attack by Stourport.
Tim Lunel then went one better in the final of the Masters’ D single sculls as he took on another Bewdley sculler.
Following a poor start, a fine technical performance saw him lead by a length-and-a-half to win his first Masters single sculling event.
With two wins in the bank and another fine performance from Mike Adkins, it was the turn of the men’s Masters E category (age 50 to 55 years) double scull of Tim Lunel and Chris Straw.
Taking on a high quality Stourport double was always going to be a challenge, but the Stratford scullers rowed well above their expectations to push Stourport close but not close enough, losing by a couple of lengths.
It was then the turn of Stratford’s women’s section including Christine Goodwin, fresh from the disappointment of the cancelled National Masters Championships, to race in novice women’s single sculls.
With her first round opponent deciding not to compete, Christine took on Birmingham Rowing Club in the semi-final and recorded a fine win.
In a much-delayed final due to a crew member being thrown out of a boat in a previous race, Christine closed the first day’s racing with her final against a much-fancied junior 18-year-old sculler, again from Birmingham Rowing Club.
After a shaky start, Christine had two lengths to make up, which she proceeded to do, demonstrating fine technical skill and stamina and in an exciting finish watched by a large cheering crowd.
Christine closed the distance to well under a length but just ran out of room and had to settle for second place.
Men’s masters vice-captain Tom Doherty said: “It was another good day’s racing for Stratford right across the Masters squad. It was particularly pleasing to see the all-round improvement in individual performances from Christine, Mike and Tim in the difficult single sculling events.”
Stratford Boat Club now look forward to their Fun Regatta on Sunday, July 9.