Rowers impress at world regatta

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HALF-A-DOZEN members of Stratford-upon-Avon Rowing Club masters squad joined nearly 4,600 competitors to compete in the world’s biggest rowing event.
After travelling 1,500 miles, they took part in the 2017 World Rowing Masters Regatta in Bled, Slovenia, with five days racing.
Great Britain led the numbers of competitors with 852 among the total of 4,588 from 862 clubs from 46 countries across the world.
The Stratford contingent featured Tim Lund, Tom Doherty, Simon Beard, Richard Shepherd, Kjersti Woolley, Victoria Brennan and cox Becky Stokes.
With the journey planned by Stratford and Bridgnorth clubs, towing duties for the three days trip through France and Germany were ably led and planned by Shan Stokes, safety advisor from Stratford Boat Club, along with daughter Becky and colleagues from Bridgnorth
Men’s masters vice-captain Doherty said: “This was an huge undertaking to organise and safely transport boats across Europe and huge credit and thanks must go to Shan and Becky Stokes for their organisation and efforts in achieving this.
“It was also great to have a number of Stratford crews competing at such a high standard regatta packed with former international rowers in such a stunning location.”
On the opening day of competition. Lunel and Doherty finished seventh in the men’s D double sculls in a borrowed boat in a time of three minutes58 seconds to place 127th overall out of 145 competitors.
Becky Stokes also took to the water to cox a Bridgnorth crew to a fine fifth place in the masters B eights in three mins 28 secs.
On day two, Lunel put in an excellent row in the highly competitive men’s singles sculls masters D event to take fourth in 4.08 and 122nd out of 180 competitors overall.
Beard, Shepherd, Lunel, Doherty and cox Stokes then joined a composite crew from Stratford and Bridgnorth to finish 37th out of 47 overall in the masters D eights after taking fifth place in their heat of 3:14.
Day three brought changeable conditions as Stratford’s masters D coxed four of Beard, Shepherd, Lunel, Doherty and Stokes raced to fifth in 3:38 for an overall placing of 21 of 26 competitors before Kjersti Woolley joined a Bridgnorth colleague in the women’s masters E double scull to finish fifth in 4:32 for 68th place out of 77.
Cox continued her coxing during the day with Bridgnorth for fourth place in their heat of the masters A coxed four in 3:25 to take 12th place out of 17 before Beard and Shepherd ended fifth in their heat in 3:54 for 37th place out of 48 entries and Lunel took to the water for a third event in an international masters E coxless four.
Increasing wind and rain made day four more and more challenging in four races. Beard, Shepherd, Lunel, Doherty and cox Sokes, together with Bridgnorth rowers and Egyptian Bled medal winner Hany Anward clocked 3:21 in the international masters E eights for 21st place out of 37 entries while Stratford’s masters D coxless four of Beard, Shepherd, Lunel and Doherty recorded fifth place in 3:39 for 40th out of 59.
The masters C doubles sculls of Woolley and Brennan set a time of 4:43 and the combined Bridgnorth/Stratford crew of Paul Wallis and Doherty were 106th out of 156 in a time of 3:53.
The conditions were even worse on the final day on Sunday, with many withdrawals, but Doherty and Woolley battled the elements in the mixed masters E doubles sculls for a seventh place finish.