STRATFORD Boat Club’s Masters rowers produced another strong performance on Sunday at the Veteran Fours Head of the River on the Tideway in London – the premier long-distance competition for Masters four-oared crews in the United Kingdom.
Rowing over the 6,000m Championship Course with the ebb tide and with a southerly wind which drove up some very rough water in the final 2,000m, Stratford’s Masters D (average age 50-55) coxless four of Simon Beard, Richard Nelson, Tom Doherty and Gary Clay chalked up an impressive second place in 21:43 behind winners Tyrian Boat Club, who won the Masters Championship gold medal earlier this year in this category.
The Stratford crew produced a time more than ten seconds faster than both the national silver medallists from Norwich and the previous year’s winners of this event from Walton Rowing Club.
Stratford’s crew overtook two crews ahead of them and drew level with third placed Express Boat Club on the finish line, despite being obstructed during overtaking.
Simon Beard, Masters D crew member, said: “This bodes very well for Stratford’s chances at the Masters Championships this year, as the row on Sunday was well controlled despite the conditions and we still all had something in reserve at the end.
“We are confident we can offer the national champions a worthy adversary as the season progresses. We are also pleased we can expect to be placed higher in the starting order next year, thus hopefully avoiding the delays involved in having to overtake so many other crews.”
In addition, Evesham Rowing Club’s Women’s Masters C coxed four – whose boat shared the Stratford trailer to and from the event – also celebrated a strong second placing in their race, so it was a very encouraging day for Avon Masters competing against the best crews in the United Kingdom.