Fawley Challenge Cup- Westminster

2013 Titles- J18 Quads- Wallingford Regatta

Coach: Bill Mason

Munich Representatives- 0


I think the most significant thing about this preview is the fact that Westminster, commonly lauded as one of the top sculling schools in the country, have no notable GB trialists. True, they have 16 year old Sam Meijer in the 3 seat, an ergo monster [6 teens I believe] and highly capable single sculler along with Nick Scott in the bows, an experienced Henley oarsmen and arguably the most prolific bowman in the country but do those names play the tune that Thrust and his cronies want to hear? Evidently not but Westminster are an extremely tidy unit who are challenging for the top every year.

Bill Mason is the key factor in all this. Year on year, regardless of the superficial outlook of the Westminster talent pool, Bill turns out crews of outstanding quality, from the 2009 Fawley winning boat right up to this years crop, National silver medalists. They are extremely enjoyable to watch and their technique, the fast catch supported by the concentrated leg drive through the center of the stroke, is not too dissimilar to that of some top end mens crews. Bill also has plenty of potential to work with in the lower age groups, with his J15’s making it a clean sweep of J15 eights and coxed quads at NSR. A little story about Westminsters silver medal at the National Sculling Head always makes me chuckle. Having trained in the eight leading up to SHORR and the NSH to broaden their skills base, the first time the Westminster top four jumped in the quad for a proper outing was the 4k paddle to the start of the National Sculling Head. This makes their second place, only 0.3 seconds off Marlow over 6k, all the more remarkable.

I would love to be able to say that I think Westminster have the potential to go past Marlow. Westminster are one of my favorite junior quads, an absolute joy to watch and perhaps another year may be more profitable for them. But Marlow, for me, are just too strong and will be riding high off the back of their fantastic year. Additionally, Westminsters surprise defeat at the hands of Windsor at Notts City shows their tactic of attempting to kill the race by 1000m is susceptible to failure. I think Westminster will make the Friday at the least and I’m willing them into the Saturday and beyond but, should they come up against Marlow or a particularly strong foreign crew, I fear an early exit for the lads. Once again, I will be able to add to this post Marlow.

The photo is taken from WSBC easter training camp in Switzerland. The video link can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eQaZ56W9DU