AFTER several months of flooded rivers and event cancellations, Stratford BC were finally back on the water in Northampton for some much-needed competition.
The event was split into four divisions throughout the day to enable a number of races for each crew.
For the early birds in division one, the 9.15am race saw Stratford take on much-fancied Derwent in the Mixed Masters D (50-55 average age category) double sculls event.
Derwent were always going to be a tough challenge, but a solid race by Stratford saw them hold their opponents for the majority of the course until poor steering towards the finish by a Leicester crew being overtaken led to an entanglement of blades, which forced both crews to stop.
Once Stratford got going again, the stoppage proved too much and they finished ten seconds behind Derwent in 8:19.
Straight off in division two saw Heather Hayton in her first ever single scull head race.
With her competitors racing over three divisions it was left to Hayton to focus on her own performance, which saw her pull away from the scullers behind to finish strongly in a time of 9:19.
With the third division reserved for recovery and cake, division four saw Stratford’s masters’ mixed double of Hayton and Tom Doherty racing in the younger age categories taking on competitors from Sudbury and Peterborough.
A good start saw some overtaking of slower crews, resulting in a solid finishing time of 8:02.
Sudbury finished in 7:56, but Peterborough were clearly the strongest in a very fast time of 7:24.
The Stratford junior squad was also represented in division four, with Jake Blatcher racing in the J17 single sculls event.
This was his first head race, having only been rowing for a year.
After a good start, negotiating the corner well, Blatcher set off strongly and he soon caught the double ahead of him.
Despite having to criss-cross the river in order to overtake, he soon regained his rhythm, keeping distance from a senior crew chasing him down and finishing fifth in a time of 9:29.