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Stratford Boat Club's junior and adaptive rowers make a splash

STRATFORD Boat Club’s adaptive squad marked their return to competitive action with a bang at the Marlow Town Regatta, winning three of the four events they entered.

Stratford’s adaptive squad at Marlow.
Stratford’s adaptive squad at Marlow.

Hattie Throssell, supported by Sofia Ward, had a clear win in the ladies’ doubles event for those who use a wheelchair. Lissie Simpson, competing in her first event and supported by Jake Blatcher, then overcame stiff opposition from Guildford to win their final by two lengths. This race was for those with some lower limb disability.

Ian Ward, supported by his mother Paola in their final, took part in the best race of the day. All three crews crossed the line within a few seconds of each other. The event was for those with learning difficulties and was won by the Stratford crew, defeating two Marlow crews by half a length.

Dan Godefroy, supported by Nev Hands, came close to making it a clean sweep for Stratford, missing out by only a length to a strong Marlow boat.

A number of other members of Stratford’s adaptive squad attended the event to cheer their colleagues on. “It was a great sporting and social day out for everyone,” said head adaptive coach Mark Dewdney. “The squad’s next plan is to compete at Maidenhead in early August where several new adaptive squad members will be making their debut at this event.”

Meanwhile at the Peterborough Junior Championships, Stratford’s J15 squad’s racing began on Saturday in the cool and breezy conditions.

However, undaunted, their day started with a round of time trials to determine which finals race the crews would take part in. Stratford’s J15 quad crew of Imogen Hill, Ruby Brooker Collins, Grace Beason, Uche Nwachukwa, coxed by Kate Richardson, sculled strongly to be placed in the C final. They duly won this final in a time of 4:50.

J15 coach Steve Marsden said: “There was great sculling and fantastic, audibly exuberant coxing which pushed the crew across the line in what was their first competitive outing.”

Next up was Nwachukwa, who sculled bravely in a single through a strong head wind in her time trial. She then raced again in the Plate final where she claimed a silver medal in a time of 5:10, only five seconds behind the winning boat from Globe.

Stratford’s final J15 squad race took place on the Sunday with Charles Happel racing in his time trial to be placed in the C final, where he produced an excellent performance to finish in third place behind contestants from Peterborough City and Molesey in a time of 5:04.

Marsden said: “It was a fantastic effort by all our J15 athletes, yet again proving Stratford Boat Club can mix it with some of the best scullers in the land.”

Stratford’s J14 squad finally got their opportunity to race on the wonderful rowing course at Peterborough. The event was designed to give most athletes two rows each per event.

On Saturday in the Open J14 1x trials, Will Dalrymple-Baker finished the 1,000m course in 4:52.9 (seventh overall) and Jamie Wilcock completed it in 5:02.9 (ninth overall), earning him a place in the C final. Here, he came second against Doncaster and Globe in 5:04.1. In the B Final, Dalrymple-Baker finished third in 4:56.7 against strong competition from Windsor Boys School, Newark and Bewl Bridge.

Stratford’s J14 boys double of Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple-Baker.
Stratford’s J14 boys double of Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple-Baker.

Both Stratford J14 boys then competed in the Open J14 2x event after lunch and posted a credible time trial time of 4:29.8 (tenth overall), which got them into the C final. They then won the final in a time of 4:27.9, beating the boys from Peterborough City, Bewl Bridge and Globe.

J14 coach Hugo Happel said: “Both boys did superbly well in their inaugural race against established schools in tricky windy conditions. There’s lots more to come from these two.”

On Sunday, it was the J14 girls’ turn to step into the sculling arena. Starting off in the WJ14 1x category, in similarly windy conditions, Aimee Appleton finished her time trial in 5:55.1 (fifth overall). This performance got her into the B final which she won in 5:42.1. Lucy Sartain did her time trial in 5:55.1 (fourth overall) which got her into the A final. She finished fourth in a terrific time of 5:32.4, with Newark Rowing Club winning gold in 4:44.2.

Shortly after lunch Scarlett Richardson (stroke) and Nancy Davis (bow) set a time of 4:56.6 in the WJ14 2x time trial (fourth overall). Lucy Sartain (stroke) and Molly Vondrak (bow) set an equally impressive time of 4:54.0 in their race (third overall).

Scarlett Richardson and Nancy Davis with their medals.
Scarlett Richardson and Nancy Davis with their medals.

Both Stratford crews made it to the A final against Peterborough City and St Ives. Sartain and Vondrak finished fourth, while Richardson and Davis finished second in 5:11.9.

Finally, the WJ14 4x+ entry made up of Eloise Cooper (stroke), Jessica Long, Esmerelda Elfwood, Harriet Froom (bow), expertly coxed by Appleton, posted a 5:06.2 time trial (sixth overall), securing them a place in the B final. Against strong competition from Kingston Girls’ School and Norwich School, Stratford’s girls finished third in 5:07.8

Happel said: “The WJ14 athletes did incredibly well in their first-ever competition. They stuck to the game plan of keeping strokes long and powerful, which they did brilliantly.”

The WJ14 quad of Eloise Cooper (stroke), Jessica Long, Esmerelda Elfwood, Harriet Froom (bow) and Aimee Appleton (cox).
The WJ14 quad of Eloise Cooper (stroke), Jessica Long, Esmerelda Elfwood, Harriet Froom (bow) and Aimee Appleton (cox).

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