Bewdley joined forces with Oxford Brookes University to compete in the highly accredited West of England Challenge Vase at Worcester Autumn Regatta. The West of England Challenge Vase is regarded as the premier trophy for Open Coxed Fours in provincial rowing. It was being contested for the 122nd time by 7 crews from Bewdley/Brookes, Stratford, Monmouth, City of Bristol, Warwick and two from the host club Worcester.
Racing for the “West of England” has taken place annually and has been competed for every year since 1877 with the exception of 1904, 1906, the two World Wars, 1968 and 1972. The Vase is now one of only a few remaining Challenge Trophies on the regatta circuit to inscribe onto the trophy the names of each winning club and crew, with a complete list of the 595 names of the winning crews since 1877 engraved on the plinths.
The Bewdley/Brookes composite crew (pictured) of James Martyn Smith, Ed Grisedale, Tim Grant and James Crumpton coxed by Kat Carlyle raced three rounds to win the trophy; seeing off Stratford and Monmouth before securing victory against Bristol in the final.
Both James’s also raced in a mixed senior coxed four with Martyn Smith’s Mother Kim and Jean Main coxed by Kat Carlyle; they beat Stratford by a considerable distance. Kim Martyn Smith and Jean Main together with Kat Carlyle and Jess Oakley coxed by Sam Clifford also raced a womens masters B coxed four from Ironbridge of which they won.
Other victories for Bewdley on the day were;
IM3 coxless quad of Oli Tustain, Gareth Brown, Jimmy Watson and Callum Clifford saw off crews from Worcester and Kings School Worcester to win their event.
Masters C coxed four of Dave Merchant, John Hinton, Mike Parker and Nick Hinton coxed by Jenny Merchant beat locals Stourport in a head to head final.
J14 single sculler Jake Main won his category convincingly seeing off competition from Worcester, Burton and Stourport.
There were noticeable close races throughout the day too; one of which was Mel Gunn racing for the first time in a single scull, she battled hard to just loose out to a girl very much her junior! The most notable race of the day had to be the contest between Bewdley’s and Stourport’s masters D mens eight, with Bewdley coming from behind and putting in a good fight, they were coming back into the last 200m and ran out of river narrowly missing out on victory by 4ft.