ROWING – Stratford’s juniors conquer the Severn

ROWING – Stratford’s juniors conquer the Severn

The STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club junior teams took to the River Severn when a host of their young rowers won gold at the Stourport Winter Head.

And the club’s J17/18 side started the day with gold in singles as Will Beattie won the J18 event, followed by Toby Sartain for a double at Stratford while Charles Happel finished second in the J17 category.

There was more success for Stratford as WY18 pairing Amalia Richardson and Kate Richardson crossed the finish line in first place despite being relatively new to pairs competition.

And Stratford enjoyed another doubles win in the J18 doubles as Beattie and Tomi Wilcock passed two Stratford doubles Happel and Sartain to victory on the 4km course.

The medals continued as Stratford’s J16 helmsman’s quad with Aimee Appleton, Scarlett Richardson, Molly Vondrack and Megan Rowan, the latter in the batting seat, beat the home Stourport boat by 12.5 seconds to win the race.

A trio of Stratford look-alikes hit the water next, finishing within seven seconds as Ez Elfwood and Harriet Froom finished third, a second off second, with Lucy Sartain and Jess Long just behind, and Eloise Cooper and Nancy Davis a little further back.

The last member of the J16 squad in action was Jamie Wilcock in the individual event when he finished second overall after a midway collision, losing him the lead and crucial seconds.

In Division One, Stratford’s J14s deployed two WJ14 double scull combinations as the crew of Josephine Cooper and Sophie Franklin cruised down the 4000m course in style to over a minute ahead of their closest challengers with race wins from Maeve Dunn and Bryony Francis to finish with a gap of only three seconds.

The J15 crew fielded a coxswain four and had no opponent in their age group meaning they were up against older teams as Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, Xavier Sissins-Roffey, Oliver Rowlands and James Albrighton (coxswain) took the course thundered down to emphatically win victory.

In Division Two, the WJ14 sculls of Sophie Warren, Isla Dunn, Becca Smith, Martha Cooke and Josephine Cooper (helmsman) delivered a near-perfect series to earn victory over top-flight opponents Trentham Boat Club and Hereford Cathedral School .

The singles sculls followed as J14 girls Martha Baines, Tessa Parkin and Millie Smith all took on what is considered the toughest event of the day as the trio finished in respectable eighth, fifth and sixth places.

J14 coach and junior coordinator Steve Wellstead said: “Not an easy task at the 4000m so early in her rowing career. No doubt these athletes will be returning to the Severn for years to come.”

Representing Stratford’s J15 squad in the women’s doubles sculls, powerhouse duo Alexandra Francis and Poppy Baines produced a textbook series to win by a comfortable margin.

In the J15 Coxsquad Sculls, the crew of Sophie Evans, Meg Nuttall, Alice Jones, Lily Warren and Lucy Yang (Coxswain) finished fourth.

King Edward The Sixth School Boat Club, joining their Stratford counterparts, also made their way to Stourport Head as the J18 4+ crew of T Wilcock, R Macdonald, T Wheeler, T Beard and I. Hill (helmsman) in the outdoor racing men’s category and took the race win with a great performance.

There was also a successful debut for the J16 4x crew of W Dalrymple-Baker, H Hoare, A Mathers and M Cullimore who only started rowing last September.

KES Coach Hannah Crone said: “This was her first race and the goal was to row well and enjoy it. The lads put in a fantastic performance to achieve victory over Evesham Rowing Club.”

Finally, the WJ18 4+ crew of A. Richardson, T. Dunn, M. Hall, K. Richardson and I. Hill (Cox) again rode in the senior category and came out at the front despite a last-minute substitution through injury Evesham Rowing Club and Trentham Rowing Club.

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