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Stratford Boat Club and King Edward VI School rowers taste success at Worcester Main Head

CREWS from Stratford and sister club King Edward VI School BC did not let the blustery conditions at the Worcester Main Head deter them from coming away with plenty of success.

Stratford's WJ16 squad with their pots.
Stratford's WJ16 squad with their pots.

One of the longest head races of the year, the event was run over two divisions with crews competing over a 6km course in challenging river and weather conditions.

The KES boys were out first in the morning division for the J17 4x race. This was the first time the crew had raced against a decent field and conditions were far from ideal. However, the boys held good pace throughout and finished second behind a strong Llandaff crew.

In Division Two, the school’s Nov 4+ team were back out again after their victory two weeks ago, with just one change in their crew. They were up against different opposition this time around but the result stayed the same, as the boys came away with another victory.

KES’s rowing coach Hannah Crone said: “With the challenging conditions having worsened since the morning, the focus was on keeping it clean and steady. Again they coped well with the conditions and came away with their second win of the season.”

Following on behind the KES boys was Stratford’s first crew in the event. Racing in a men’s quadruple sculls was a mixed male and female crew from Upton and Stratford boat clubs. The team, which just missed out on victory at the prestigious fours event in London by 0.2s last time out, was keen to bounce back.

Chasing down a fast men’s Minerva crew, the Upton/Stratford foursome found themselves in a close battle with Warwick. The blustery headwind combined with a strong stream increased the pressure on the lightweight Upton/Stratford crew.

However, they dug in deep and worked extremely hard to give little away over the 6km course, crossing the line fourth in the 21-minute race. Crew captain Tom Doherty said: “Finishing fourth out of six in a men’s event – and only ten seconds separating the top four crews – was a good achievement, of which the crew can be pleased.”

Also taking part at the Worcester Main Head on Saturday was Stratford’s daytime/off-peak rowers squad. Not only did crews have to race a distance of 6km, they also had to row 4km upstream to the start on top of a 2km journey back up to the boating area.

The women’s crew of Ruth Poulten (bow), Paola Ward. Clare Booth and Rona Fitzpatrick (stroke) competed in their first race together in the women’s masters coxless quad category where they would storm to an impressive victory after a smooth and efficient display.

Squad coach Alfie Nash said: “The crew are very deserving of their win in what were very challenging conditions. The crew maintained good position on the river and demonstrated a high level of resilience and skill.”

Also competing for Stratford Boat Club on a very cold day with blustery strong winds was the WJ16 squad, who yet again proved their skill and power to beat the conditions and competition over the 6km downstream course on the River Severn.

Amalia Richardson, Harriet Noyes, Grace Beason and Kate Richardson, coxed and steered expertly by Imogen Hill, beat the novice crew from Birmingham by almost eight minutes in a time of 22:38.

The crew celebrated adding to their collection of pots by receiving a very attractive China tankard as reward for rowing 4km up to the start, freezing for over an hour waiting for the start then racing 6km at pace before rounding off with a 2km row back to the club to unload.

J16 coach Steve Marsden said: “Such are the joys of winter head racing. It was a particularly pleasing result as Grace had stepped in at very short notice in place of Maddie Hall who was unfortunately ill.”

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