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Stratford's junior rowers excel at British Indoor Championships

Millie Hodgson claimed silver in the year seven 500m event.
Millie Hodgson claimed silver in the year seven 500m event.

STRATFORD Boat Club’s juniors produced a string of superb performances at the 2017 British Rowing Indoor Championships in Stratford, London.

There were a record number of entries from both home and abroad this year, with all spectator tickets sold out before the event.

Sophie Elstone, Harriet Hodgson and Will Clarke from the J14 squad and Nixie Brunt from the J15 squad competed in

front of a crowd of well over a thousand cheering spectators, performing magnificently against such high calibre competition.

In the year nine 500m events, Sophie Elstone was third in her heat to be placed finally in tenth position with a time of 1.50.4, with Harriet Hodgson in 21st place with 1.54.8 out of a field of 68 competitors.

In the boys’ 500m heat, Will Clarke fought hard for a well deserved 12th place in a field of 24 with a time of 1.42.1.

Nixie Brunt won a very well deserved bronze medal in her year ten 500m event alongside 52 fellow competitors.

With an amazing time of 1.40.9, Brunt narrowly missed silver by less than half a second and was only 2.5 seconds behind the gold medal position.

The afternoon saw the age group timed events, with the J14s competing over four minutes and the J15s five minutes.

In the year nine four-minute races, Elstone finished 13th with a distance of 1,008m with Hodgson 37th with 962m in a huge field of 92 competitors. Will Clarke finished well, in 19th place rowing 1,065m against 52 competitors.

Brunt in the year ten five-minute race finished in tenth position with a field of 71, with an outstanding distance of 1,305 metres.

The club’s junior squad coach Trevor Tiller competed in the men’s open 2,000m event.

This was against members of the Great Britain rowing squad along with a newcomer to the sport, Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Clearly pleased with gaining a new personal best of 7.32.1, Tiller was also surprised to discover he was only 70 seconds behind the five-times Olympic ­cycling champion.

Further local entries included recent Stratford Boat Club learner Millie Hodgson winning the silver medal in the year seven 500m event with a time of 2.01.8 and just missing out on a bronze in the year seven two-minute time event by a mere three metres.

Harriet and Millie's father Ed Hodgson also raced in the masters 40-49 age group, pushing fantastic times in both his 2,000m and 500m events with times of 6.50.3 and 1.28.6 respectively.

Stratford coach Tiller said: “The day’s events and results have shown what great progress our own members are making and how in parallel with the water-based side of the sport, indoor rowing has developed to be so inclusive with junior, senior, masters and adaptive events and competitors ranging in age from 11 to those well into their nineties.

“It was a successful, promising and enjoyable day for competitors, spectators and families alike, with training plans already in place for next year.”

Meanwhile, Stratford’s masters braved the weather and competed in the Walton Small Boats Head on Saturday.

This is one of the calendar’s last competitive events in 2017 over 3km.

Unfortunately, the club’s attempts to compete at Sunday’s Monmouth Christmas Head were thwarted by the weather as the event was cancelled.

Those members who stayed Stratford-based over the weekend were involved in the club’s clean-up weekend.

Laurie Flintoft, committee member responsible for land and buildings said: “A lot was achieved over the weekend with all squads working together to tidy and clean the premises.”

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