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Stratford's J14s and J15s shine at annual rowing competition

STRATFORD Boat Club put on some fine displays when they were invited for the first time to join Royal Grammar School Worcester and Worcester Rowing Club as guests at their annual indoor rowing competition.

First up was the WJ14 individual four-minute event, with Freya Watts, Lucy Browne, Fleur Griffiths and Anne Mynors all competing in this category.

Griffiths set out hard and led for over two minutes before a very strong girl from Kings pushed on past.

In the last minute, Watts managed to finish in the silver medal position, having made it to 988m.

Browne took the bronze from Griffiths in the very last stroke of the race with a distance of 968m.

Griffiths finished up fourth having completed 965m and Mynors finished in a very respectable eighth place out of 15 competitors with 910m.

The individual timed events continued with the WJ15 five-minute race where Emma Harrison, Martha Usselmann and Sophie Elstone were racing side by side.

The bank of claret tops saw a determined start by Elstone which put her in a commanding position, with Usselmann and Harrison following her lead.

Elstone settled nicely during the middle of the race, with Usselmann constantly jostling between third and fourth place as Harrison was closing.

The final minute of determined pushing to the finish saw Elstone finish in first to take gold, a clear 80m ahead of her closest rival, with Usselmann and Harrison both gaining fresh personal bests in a close fourth and seventh positions respectively from a field of 13 competitors.

Representing the Stratford Boat Club participation group was Charlotte Johnson competing in the WJ16 individual six-minute event.

Johnson was up against a field including five rowers from the hosts.

Despite limited preparation leading up to the event, she finished in fifth position with a personal best of 1,400m – missing out on a podium finish by a mere 38m.

Then was the turn of Bella Chappelhow and Honour Keil in the WJ14 individual 500m event.

This was strongly contested between the two Stratford girls, with the three Kings girls making up the other three places.

Both girls had an extremely good row, with Chappelhow taking the gold medal in a time of 1:48.9, with Keil just 0.8s behind in second.

Harriet Hodgson took the flag for the J15s in the Y10 500m event.

A fast and furious race from the off with tough competition from the hosts saw Hodgson at her finest.

Maintaining a strong position throughout, the final pushes saw her finishing in a time of 1:48 to ensure a place on the podium in the silver medal position.

First up in the relays races were the WJ14s who raced over 2,000m.

Chappelhow, Keil and Griffiths teamed up to form one relay team with Mynors, Watts and Browne teaming up to make the other.

Both teams raced hard with some fantastic quick changeovers.

It was Chappelhow, Keil and Griffiths that managed to pick up the gold medals on this occasion in a time of 7:30.1 with Mynors, Watts and Browne fighting it out with another strong team from Kings, beating them by just 0.3s to take silver in a time of 7:44.2.

The WJ15 2km relay brought together Elstone, Harrison, Hodgson and Usselmann for their final race of the day.

Establishing a 30m lead after the first few changeovers proved that their practicing had paid off as they seamlessly held their position over the opposition.

Maintaining their lead, the girls finished in first position in a time of 7:12.6.

J14 coach Abi Terry said: "A brilliant day’s racing was had by all and this was shown by all of the WJ14's and WJ15's that competed and came away with at least one medal each.”

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