STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s junior squad endured a busy week with multiple away heads and trials.
Stratford’s J17/18 Performance Squad competed at The Scullery event with the Junior Sculling Head held on the Olympic course at Dorney Lake.
And the boys’ coxless quad of Will Beattie, Tomi Wilcock, Charles Happel and Toby Sartain were the first to boat and rowed a strong race to finish 10th in the Open J17 category.
In the Women’s J18 event, Freya Watts, Ruby Howells, Amelie Sartain and Lucy Browne raced their coxless quad to finish a respectable 31st with the majority of the crew racing up an age group.
Also competing at Eton Dorney was Stratford’s WJ15 Squad and the national event provided a great showcase for Stratford’s WJ15 quads.
Both WJ15 coxed quads did a tremendous job over the 2x 1.8km course however Stratford missed out on qualifying for the Inter Regionals by 1.7 seconds.
Some 65 crews raced in the event, with Stratford’s WJ15’s finishing 16th and 39th respectively, beating established crews from Bedford Girls’ School, Wallingford, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar A, Thames Scullers A, Nottingham & Union, Godolphin and Latymer as well as both Kings School Worcester crews.
Stratford’s WJ14’s boated in torrential rain which did not deter the crew of Alexandra Francis, Poppy Baines, Sophie Evans, Alice Jones, coxed by Meg Nuttall.
J14 Coach Colin Bell said: “A very creditable eighth place out of 36 crews amongst some of the high achieving clubs in the country is no mean feat!”
Taking to the water in the penultimate race of the day in low visibility were the OJ14 boys’ crew of Seth Vondrak, Xavier Sissins-Rofey, Theo Richter, Oliver Rowlands coxed by Lucy Yang.
Achieving a position of 18th out of 43 teams was commendable considering Sissins-Rofey, Richter and Lang are new to the sport having started sculling in October of last year.
The J16 squad also faced a hard competition at the weekend with two competitions as Amalia Richardson, Harriet Noyes, Grace Beason and Kate Richardson and cox Imogen Hill entered the WJ16 coxed four event at Kingston Head of the River Race over 5.2k of the fast flowing river Thames starting at Hampton Court Bridge.
A strong headwind for much of the course created rough conditions testing the girls’ skill and the cox’s judgment in steering the fastest course.
The Stratford crew showed great determination and stamina to beat their main competition Surbiton High School by 51 seconds to score their third victory on the trot.
J16 Coach Sam Hill said: “As a measure their achievement, it is worth noting that they also beat six university crews and Surbiton’s Championship women’s crew!”
And the squad were in action again at the West Midlands selection event at Evesham which had been postponed from Stourport the previous weekend.
Switching boats to a coxless quadruple scull, Amalia Richardson, Harriet Noyes, Maddie Hall and Kate Richardson beat Stourport by one minute and eight seconds.
Charles Happel put in a brilliant performance in his single scull to beat King’s School Worcester by seven seconds to win a place alongside the girls’ quad in the squad to represent the West Midlands at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta in April.
On the upstream 1.4km Evesham course, from the ferry to the rowing club, two out of three Stratford J15 crews qualified to represent the West Midlands at the Inter Regionals in April: Scarlett and Molly in the WJ15 2x event, winning by 42 seconds against their nearest competition from Worcester Rowing Club as well as Will in the J15 1x event.
Stratford Boat Club President Paul Stanton said: “What a credit the Junior Squad is to Stratford!
“Adding to the Juniors’ successes, the Club is also immensely proud of two recent Stratford Boat Club and King Edward The Sixth alumna – Katie Wellstead who was stroke in the Oxford University Women’s Light Weight crew on Sunday and Esme Booth who continued her winning streak, rowing in last weekend’s Women’s Eights Head of the River Race.”
Rowing at number four in the winning Leander Club’s ‘A’ boat, the crew completed the 4.25 mile course on the River Thames in 19 minutes and 15 seconds, 34 seconds ahead of the second placed Oxford Brookes ‘A’ boat.
This follows on from Esme’s victories in the November GB Trials in Boston as part of a Leander Women’s pair (W2-) and in the Fours Head of the Tideway Race (Women’s Championship event) as part of the Leander Women’s Four (W4-).
Esme returned to Caversham this week, training as a member of the GB Women’s Squad.