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Success for Stratford youngsters at local regattas

Stratford Boat Club's adaptive squad at the Oxford City Royal Regatta.
Stratford Boat Club's adaptive squad at the Oxford City Royal Regatta.


STRATFORD Boat Club's juniors enjoyed success at the Warwick and Oxford City regattas, writes Rory Chester.

For the Warwick Regatta, the club took athletes from their J13 squad to compete in their first singles events, with both the open and the girls' events running as round robin events which culminated in a final.

Grace Beason and Amalia Richardson both raced against a girl from Derwent, with the Derwent sculler victorious on both occasions.

Stratford’s WJ winners at Warwick.
Stratford’s WJ winners at Warwick.

On the other half of the draw, Uche Nwachkwu and Emily Stobart raced against a sculler from Upton who was victorious in both races.

The Derwent and Upton scullers then went head to head in a close final.

In the boys’ event, Charles Happell and Louie Beason both competed for Stratford and it was Happell who took the win on this occasion.

Happell then faced a sculler from Upton in the final. They were neck and neck down the course, but the Upton sculler just pipped Happell to the line.

It was a sculler from Warwick who won the J14 boys singles race on home water so the junior squads now look forward to the Ross Regatta next weekend.

Reflecting on the achievements of the youngsters, junior squad coach Abi Terry said: "All of the J13s showed great determination for their first singles events with some very good results.”

The WJ15 girls double of Amelie Sartain and Sophie Elstone faced a strong crew from Worcester and after a mid-race push from Worcester made for an exciting finish, it was Sartain and Elstone who narrowly took the bell.

Martha Usselmann lined up against her competition from Worcester in the WJ15 single sculls event, and went on to win her first singles race.

More success for Stratford’s juniors at Warwick.
More success for Stratford’s juniors at Warwick.

In the penultimate race of the day, in the J16 singles final, it was Will Clarke who faced up against a formidable looking opponent from Upton.

Clarke started the slower, but kept position towards the halfway point before finishing strongly to take a deserved win.

Over at the annual Oxford City Royal Regatta, which takes place on the town stretch of the Thames, the Stratford Boat Club junior squad was in action on the 1,000m course on Saturday, while the club’s adaptive squad tested their skills on the 500m sprint course on Sunday.

J16 sculler Fred Tyler took on a Nottinghamshire County Rowing Association rower in the senior single sculls event, in which he took a narrow defeat by just two lengths, before taking a break and coming back fighting in the afternoon to win the J18 single scull semi-final and then the final where he left Ardingly in his wake.

J16 doubles scullers Alice Baines and Jasmine Mountney just lost out to a quality outfit from Wallingford Rowing Club.

On the other side of this event, Maiya James and Mili Wilcock also faced up against Wallingford in the final, who again proved too strong for the J16 girls.

The J16s regrouped for the afternoon coxless quadruple scull senior event and they put on a dominant display in the semi-final against Oxford Academicals to reach the final.

Stratford’s J16 coxless quad ‘boiling the water’ at the Oxford City Royal Regatta.
Stratford’s J16 coxless quad ‘boiling the water’ at the Oxford City Royal Regatta.

Success eluded the J16s, though. as they finished just two lengths behind Guildford RC.

The J17 squad members and two-time winners in previous years Katie Wellstead and Emily Browne met their match in the first round of the J18 double sculls event against the England gold medal-winning partnership from Cheltenham Ladies College and Ardingly Rowing Club.

The second J17 pairing of Stratford’s Khloe Curnock and Evesham’s Becca Parkin raced in the senior double skull event against an Amazonian crew from Oxford, who on home water dominated the event to take the win.

Sunday was a successful day for Stratford’s adaptive squad, as none of their crews were beaten by more than half length by crews from other clubs.

Of the five adaptive events, Stratford won three, with the final of the supported affairs being an all Stratford event while Ian Ward impressed all with a clear win in the development singles.

Dan Godefroy and Paul Beeson were victorious against their opponents Jake Blatcher and Mark Brookes.

This was Brookes' first event and Godefroy's first win.

In the supported doubles, the mother and son combination of Ian and Paola Ward saw off Marlow in their semi-final to reach the final where they faced Stratford's Hattie Throssell and Sofia Ward.

Paola and Ian came out in top, winning a great race by six feet.

Blatcher and Mark Sanders made the semi-final in another doubles event, but narrowly missed out on the final, being beaten by just half a length by a strong Marlow crew.

Sanders then faced his arch rival and friend Ben Marsden of Marlow in the adaptive singles, with Marsden just getting over the line first in this one.

The adaptive squad now move on to Worcester Regatta in a couple of weeks.

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