Masters end their season in style

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STRATFORD’S Masters rowers completed their final regatta of the summer in style with a trip to the 2016 World Rowing Masters Regatta.

The event, which is held on the international course at the beautiful Lake Bagsvaerd just outside Copenhagen, attracts a quality field from all over the globe with many ex-Olympians from London 2012 and former internationals among the competitors.

Amongst the best performing competitors were crews from as far afield as Argentina, Russia and Australia.

With almost 10,000 rowers competing over four days, racing was thick and fast, every three minutes throughout the day, with up to three races on the 1000m course at any time.

The Stratford-upon-Avon crew of Kjersti Woolley (stroke) and Tomas Doherty (bow), competing in the mixed masters E double sculls, had their work cut out in a race against crews from The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Switzerland, and France.

Despite getting off to a shaky start which saw them a length down over the first 250 metres, the crew settled into a good rhythm and fought back to overtake several crews finishing in a time of 4 minutes and 25 seconds in a race won by an excellent former champion Netherlands double.

Woolley said: “It was a great experience to take part in such a high profile event and, as a Norwegian, to beat a crew from Norway was an added bonus!”

Next year Stratford will be hoping to take a larger contingent to the event, which takes place at Lake Bled in Slovenia.

Closer to home, Stratford’s junior squad were in action at the weekend on the Thames at the opening head race of the new season.

Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, held over 4.25km, attracts top level scullers from around the region with Stratford fielding crews across the age range.

Of particular note were third placings for the J15 double scull of Khloe Curnock and Autumn Keil, J16 double scull of Ellie Gray and Lauren Willis and the J16 coxless quad of Amy Neville, Lara Davies, Issy Marsden and Maddie Winsper.

On the shorter 1.5km course, Stratford J14 crews triumphed with all three boats winning their events.

The mixed coxed quadruple scull of Max Griffiths, Daniel Cox, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny and Mimi Hill recorded the fastest time of the coxed quadruple sculls entered whilst the Women’s crew of Jasmine Mountney, Mili Wilcock, Maiya James, Alice Baines and Sophie Neville overhauled Maidenhead to win their event.

To close the day, a gutsy performance from Fred Tyler in the single scull saw him take the victory in the J14 category.

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Not to be outdone by their colleagues in the masters and junior squads, Stratford’s off midweek beginners’ squad had a successful Explore Regatta at Birmingham Rowing Club.

This time, Stratford’s B crew found their form and narrowly missed out to a Bewdley mixed crew by winning an overall equal first place with Upton.

Rosie Stone, crew captain, said: “We’re all looking forward now to the Stratford Explore Regatta at the end of October and so we’re now into serious but fun training!”