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Stratford's young crews hold their own at Wycliffe Big Head

Stratford’s WJ15 coxed quad in action at the Wycliffe Big Head.
Stratford’s WJ15 coxed quad in action at the Wycliffe Big Head.

THE head racing season for Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club continued with the young athletes of the Junior 15 squad competing in the Wycliffe Big Head.

This event, held over 4,500m on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, always proves a tough challenge with quality opposition from clubs and schools across the region and beyond.

This year was no exception, with crews including Radley College, Kings School Chester and Ross Rowing Club.

A damp and grey scene greeted the Stratford crews on arrival, however the two boats took to the water with eager anticipation of the race ahead.

As the event got underway, the gathered spectators’ cheers lifted the performance of the athletes and both crews delivered a superb sculling display.

First across the course was the mixed coxed quadruple scull of Dan Cox, Mili Wilcock, Max Griffiths, Fred Tyler and coxswain Jasmine Mountney.

Rowing their own race and well in control, they finished a creditable fourth in their event.

Next up was the women’s coxed quadruple scull of Maiya James, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny, Alice Baines and coxswain Naomi Sergeant.

Their bows scythed through the water in pursuit of the crew ahead with a final push granting them fourth place in their event also.

In warmer conditions, but nonetheless just as energetic, were Stratford’s J13 and J14 squads competing in the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships, arranged and run by Hinksey Sculling School in Abingdon.

J13 coach, Abi Terry, said: “All of Stratford’s J13’s achieved personal bests and said they would like to compete there again next year, having all had a great day.”

In total, Stratford claimed two golds, two silvers and a bronze.

Gold: Honour Keil - WJ13B 3 minute 754m, Charlotte Syson - WJ13A 3 minute 717m

Silver: Harriet Hodgson - WJ14A 4 minute 998m, Sophie Elstone - WJ14B 4 minute 1001m

Bronze: Amelie Sartain - WJ14A 4 minute 991m, Millie Hodgson (Stratford Girls’ School) WJ12 2 minute 489m

J14 coach, Trevor Tiller, added: “We achieved some great four-minute improvements from the J14 squad, everyone gaining a new personal best.

“We now need that inner confidence to gently coax out some more success! We’re looking forward to a good season.”

Meanwhile, back in cold and damp Stratford, the senior squad continued their Henley Royal Regatta training and WJ15 squad had trials to select the best crew combination for the upcoming Junior Sculling Regatta.

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