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Stratford juniors brave Storm Miguel at Blenheim Palace

Stratford’s winning J13 squad at the Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta.
Stratford’s winning J13 squad at the Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta.


STRATFORD Boat Club’s J13 squad did not let Storm Miguel dampen their spirits at the Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta on Saturday, as they rose to the challenge admirably to land a number of positive results.

First to test the conditions was the double boat of Charles Happel and Louis Beason, who recorded a very competitive time of 2:13 to finish in sixth place.

The next race gave the club their first success as the girls’ quad crew of Amalia Richardson, Maddie Hall, Millie Hodgson and Ciara Wilson, coxed by Imogen Hill, won the bronze medal and finished only nine seconds behind the winning Marlow crew.

The next success came the way of the girls’ quad of Grace Beason, Ruby Brooker-Collins, Uche Nwachukwa and Kate Richardson, coxed by Emily Stobart, who also won a bronze and finished only eight seconds away from first place.

Next up was the mixed quad crew of Charles Happel, Louie Beason, Uche Nwachukwa, Grace Beason with Ciara Wilson finished in joint second, with Marlow only three seconds behind the winning Radnor House crew who won in 1:56.

Conditions were deteriorating as the day wore on and the double crew of Amalia Richardson and Millie Hodgson battled on to finish in fifth place, but only two seconds off a medal place.

Maddie Hall and Emily Stobart finished in fifth place in their double in very difficult conditions.

The day concluded with the delayed singles races, with Imogen Hill and Ruby Brooker-Collins struggling through the wind to complete their races.

J13 coach Steve Marsden said: “Even after the really poor weather conditions, all the athletes had at least one medal and some had two medals, creating very smiley faces and a great amount of parental pride having faced up to some of the most successful rowing clubs in England.”

Also out in the foul weather was Heather Hayton who was taking part in her first singles race at the Bridgnorth Regatta.

Coping well with a strong stream, Hayton put in two good races against opponents from Birmingham University and Bewdley in a round-robin event.

Women’s vice-captain Helen Smith said: “It was good start to Heather’s single racing career.”

Last weekend, Mark Sanders, from Stratford BC’s adaptive squad, took part in racing at Hereford Rowing Club regatta.

The squad’s aim was to support Hereford’s first steps into adaptive racing and compete in supported doubles against a student from the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.

The squad undertook two 500m sprint races, the second using the club level adaptive time handicap system.

Both competitors won a race each and were presented their pots by the Mayor of Hereford Cllr Kath Hey.

Also at Hereford last weekend were Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty racing in Mixed Masters’ Double Sculls category where they attempted to emulate the very good junior performances on Saturday.

Racing an older, but very competent Upton crew, Hayton and Doherty had to contend with chasing down a 16-second head start over the 1,000m course.

A good start saw them make steady progress, drawing to within three lengths of Upton by the 500m mark.

A big push saw them close on Upton with 250 metres to go, with a final charge giving them the win by two lengths.

Masters’ vice-captain Doherty said: “This was Heather’s first regatta win since taking up rowing 18 months ago and she was given the traditional ‘first win’ river dunking by the junior crews.”

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