It was a damp start on Saturday and all eyes were on the river as the rain started to come down, hoping we weren’t going to get a repeat of last weeks flooding. The course was designed by Harry Kirby and went up quickly, many hands making light work. Due to the cancellation of the Div3/4 the weekend before, it had been decided to run a Div4 race. We had hoped to get a few entrants, but on the day due to the late announcement of the race we only had the one none club paddler enter and she was doing a judging run. Turns out our Div4 race was vital for her, as it was for her GCSE and without getting video footage of her racing she would have failed her GCSE. So we are pleased to have been able to help her out and good luck with your results.
Racing got underway and as ever it was good to see members from all sections of the club. The Thursday night juniors were out in force with several competing in their first Div4 race too. It was good for them to be on the water with the older more experienced paddlers. There were some very impressed youngsters watching on as GB Team paddlers Sam Maingay and Alfie Boote, as well as Rob Holdway and our other top paddler sped down the course showing them how its done and powering around most of the gates. In a lapse of concentration Rob came out of gate 7 put his head down and sped directly to gate 9! So despite their times being a little slower than Rob at least most of the juniors were able to say that they managed all the gates! This uncharacteristic mistake didn’t faze Rob as he got back on and laid down a cracking run, gaining him the top spot and Club K1 champion for the second year. The racing was tight, with some very close results in both class and age group. In the Div4 race congratulations to Ayden Coe who came 1st and secured promotion to Div3. The boys did back to back runs in the morning with the girls judging, changing over at lunch time. Kay Royle, Sally Neave and Nicky Evans did a stunning job providing a warm and tasty lunch for everyone.
After the racing finished attention turned to the evenings Award Ceremony. Once again it was held at St Domonic’s in Stone. We were pleased to be joined by Alan Baxter from the Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation, who have kindly supported the club for many years. It was good for us to be able to show our appreciation and share our success with them. He wrote to us on Sunday morning to say:
“My wife and I had a lovely time at the Stafford and Stone Canoe club awards evening. At the Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation we are proud of our relationship with your club, which has evolved into possibly the best of its kind nationally.
Supported by volunteers, unique quality coaching opportunities are created for many youngsters, whilst encouraging Sir Stan’s sporting values.
We were honoured to be invited and blown away by all the incredible achievements of club members. Best of luck to your representatives at the Olympics, and good luck to you all in the future!“
The results from the racing earlier in the day had been checked and finalised and the stunning new trophies for the Club Championships, made by the talented Jazz Royle were handed out to:
K1M Robert Holdway – K1W Kate Lyndon – C1M Alfie Boote – C1W Shannon Judge – C2 Sam Maingay / Alfie Boote
With prizes going to:
1st J12 Harry Kirby & 2nd J12 Harry Evans
1st J14 Harry Kirby & 2nd J14 Harry Evans
1st J16 Luc Royle
1st U23 Luc Royle
1st Senior Robert Holdway
1st J12 Alana Middleton & 2nd J12 Jess Croome
1st J14 Kate Lyndon & 2nd J14 Izzy Mockett
1st J16 Kate Lyndon, 1st J18 Kate Lyndon, 1st Senior Kate Lyndon
1st J16 Luc Royle
1st J18 Alfie Boote
1st U23 Alfie Boote
1st J14 Katie Greaves
1st U23 Shannon Judge
1st Sam Maingay / Alfie Boote
1st Robert Holdway & 2nd Dave Royle
As is common with these ceremonies not everyone can make it to collect their award. We were pleased to be joined by Chris Bowers who was back from training with GB Team in London who collected the Laura Blakeman award for top Under 23. Unfortunately Adam Burgess was still in Japan and unable to collect the Joe Clarke Trophy for top Senior. But we were pleased to be able to join him via video call and celebrate his amazing achievement of gaining his place on the Olympic team. Dave Royle had a chat with Adam and questions were asked from the floor. Chris Bowers was worried about the state of Adams pot plants and wanted some advice on the brown leaves (for those who don’t know Adam and Chris share a flat and Adam has a large collection of house plants he’s rather obsessive about). It was really nice for everyone to show our appreciation for what he has achieved and what he continues to do for the club.
Other winners of annual awards from the evening were Kate Lyndon who picked up the Lizzie Neave award for the highest achieving J14 paddler. Luc Royle was awarded the the Star Trophy for highest J16 paddler. Alfie Boote collected the Richard Fox award for achievement at as J18 paddler.
This years Clear run winner was Harry Evans, with an impressive 17 clear runs.
Report by Adrian Croome. – Video by Izzy Mocket