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A bumper weekend of action for Stratford Boat Club's junior squad

AFTER many long months training in isolation and a precious few weeks back on the water, Stratford Boat Club’s junior squad were back racing at the weekend.

Stratford’s J16 squad relax after a busy weekend.
Stratford’s J16 squad relax after a busy weekend.

It was to be a baptism of fire for the club’s older athletes, with the first event back being the National Schools’ Regatta held over 2,000m on the Olympic course at Eton Dorney

Just two crews from Stratford’s J17/18 squad competed under the limited entries permitted. Alice Baines and Amelie Sartain flew the flag in the championship double sculls and recorded a creditable 22nd place.

On Sunday, the J16 squad also travelled to Dorney Lake for the National Schools Regatta where they took a WJ16 coxless quad. The squad rowed really well in the time trial and fought hard, but came up against some strong schools that had been able to train throughout lockdown and ended up finishing 26th.

On Monday the rest of the J16 squad travelled down to Dorney Lake to race at the Junior Sculling Regatta.

First up was the J16 double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie, who placed eighth to reach the B final.

Next up was Toby Sartain in the J16 single sculls and he rowed with finesse to take 15th place and reach the C final. The last time trial for the J16s was the WJ16 double scull of Honour Keil and Harriet Holmes, who took 17th place to reach the C final.

Later in the day the finals took place and first up were Wilcock and Beattie, who came home second after a fantastic race.

Sartain raced well in his final and came home in a solid fourth place. Meanwhile, Keil and Holmes finished in a respectable fifth place in their final.

Stratford’s WJ16 double ready for the off at the Junior Sculling Regatta.
Stratford’s WJ16 double ready for the off at the Junior Sculling Regatta.

J16 coach Abi Terry said: “It was great to see the J16s racing again after a year and half without any recent racing, we can’t wait for the next event.”

For the J15s they chose to test themselves over the 2012 Olympic course at Dorney Lake and up first were the 1,900m time trials to select crews for the A, B and C finals.

Up first were Grace Beason and Ruby Brooker-Collins in the double sculls where they returned a time of 9:29, which placed them in the C final. They raced just as enthusiastically in their final, finishing sixth in 10:42 over the full 2,000m.

Next up was Charles Happel rowing a single scull. He recorded a time of 8:37 which placed him in the B final, where he came fourth in a time of 9:32. Single sculler Uche Nwachukwa finished seventh her time trial, missing out on a place in the final by six seconds.

Stratford’s WJ15 quad shooting the bridge at Dorney Lake.
Stratford’s WJ15 quad shooting the bridge at Dorney Lake.

Finally, the WJ15 quad of Maddie Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and Amalia Richardson, expertly coxed by Imogen Hill, recorded a time of 8:02 in their time trial, just missing out on a place in the A final by 1.8s.

Determined to make amends they won the B final by three lengths in a time of 8:47, with the time quicker than both of Hinksey’s and Maidenhead’s in the A final.

J15 coach Steve Marsden said: “It was a great performance from all our crews who, as always, performed above and beyond all expectations against the top boat clubs.

“Well done all – they now know the pain and pleasure of competition over a gruelling 2km regatta course.”

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