HRR Draw 2013- Reaction and Predictions

So, the Fawley and PE draws are out and we’ve got some interesting selection choices as well as good first round draws!

The selection of Eton in the PE will raise a few eyebrows as they didn’t final in CH8 but have been selected over a few crews that did. All the other selection choices are as expected and I don’t see any hiccups on the first day for any of those crews. Scotch have probably got the hardest Wednesday race, drawing St Georges College, winners of the Child Beale Cup at NSR. Additionally, the race between KCS and Shrewsbury right at the bottom of the draw should be a great match-up as Shrewsbury appear to have gained in speed over the last few weeks. My bet still lies with KCS for that one though. I won’t preview all 32 races but I don’t see problems for the major crews i.e. CH8 finalists, selected etc.

The Fawley is a different story, with 8 crews seeded through to the Thursday. The 6 NSR finalists have all been seeded along with Leander, who won J184x at Met and Marlow regatta, and Tigre Boat Club from Argentina. Interestingly enough however, the stewards have not chosen to seed the Dutch crew, who are reputed to be the national champions. It will be interesting to see if HRV Cornelis Tromp can repeat the feats of Prince Alfred last year and beat their seeded crew, namely Walton. Here are my predictions for the 8 Wednesday races.

Lea RC A vs Newark

I can see this being extremely tight with the speeds of these two being very similar throughout the year. Both had to go through qualifiers but looked strong through these and this match-up should be a great Fawley opener. Newark made the final at Marlow whereas Lea did not and therefore I can see Newark just nicking this.

Verdict- 1/2 length to Newark

Radley College vs Westminster ‘B’

This one is slightly easier to call. Westminster B were one of my favorites to qualify and, although Radley proved me wrong in them even being in the draw, I can’t see them getting past the quality of Westminster who, according to reputable sources, finished 2nd in qualifying yesterday.

Verdict: 3 Lengths to Westminster

Claire’s Court Vs Star Club

This should be a cracker, with two very evenly matched crews fighting it out for a place against Maidenhead on the Thursday. These two met in the heats at Marlow, with Star prevailing by a canvas. Claire’s Court are well known for having a blistering second half of the race so Star will have to be wary of this tactic. However one on one racing is completely different to multi-lane and the speed out of the start is key. Its very hard to call but I’m going to give Star the benefit of the doubt.

Verdict: 1/2 length to Star

York City Vs Doncaster Rowing Club

Two crews that I wasn’t convinced would qualify. York, to me, are the stronger of the two, having semi-finaled at NSR but Doncaster are a relatively unknown quantity, having had no real racing experience prior to yesterday. With the results of qualifying unknown to everyone but the stewards and any coaches savvy enough to set up a timing team [Thankfully I was privy to one of these], these two crews are very close to each other. However, I’m going to say Doncaster to win this one.

Verdict: 1 length to Doncaster

Dart Totnes Vs Marlow ‘B’

Marlow B were my outright favorites to qualify and so it proved as they recorded the fastest time for qualifiers by some 3 seconds. Dart Totnes are another unknown crew but i know that they do have a fairly fast double within the crew, who came third in the semi’s of CH2x at NSR. Marlow B are made up of mainly J16’s and are an extremely strong crew, having won silver in J164x and gold in J162x at NSR. I think they’ll win this fairly comfortably.

Verdict: 3 lengths to Marlow ‘B’

Weybridge Rowing Club Vs Northwich Rowing Club

Northwich were pre-qualified this year, following impressive performances at NSR and Marlow. They seem to have increased their start speed recently too and beat Walton, a seeded crew, at Marlow. Weybridge are once again unknown but I presume they have Stewart, the lad who finished 4th in CH1x time trials at NSR, in the boat. I was surprised they qualified and they should prove a stern test for the accomplished unit of Northwich. But I think Northwich will see them off.

Verdict: 1 and a 1/2 lengths to Northwich

Evesham Vs The Tideway Scullers School

As far as I know, this is the battle of the J16’s. Following Star and Windsor’s appearance in the Fawley as J16’s last year, it seems to be a rising trend, with 4 in 2013 as far as I can tell. Evesham, I have to admit, were a surprise pre-qualifier as they only raced at Met, recording a 3rd place. TSS, I think, are the J16 boat who came 6th in the fastest J164x final ever and Evesham came 5th in the same final. This should be a fantastic race but my bet goes with Evesham for this one, who did not have to endure the inconvenience of qualifiers.

Footnote- I was kindly informed that TSS today won the GB France trials in the quad and will therefore be representing GB in the quad. Congrats to them and, as a result, I will amend my prediction.

Verdict: 1/2 length to TSS

HRV Cornelis Tromp Vs RGS High Wycombe

I am shocked that the stewards didn’t see fit to seed the Dutch crew, who are their countries national junior champions in both the quad and the double. It is a very odd decision and has now turned into an unfortunate one for High Wycombe, who I fear will take quite a bad bruising from this. I had High Wycombe down as one of my ‘wildcard’ qualifiers and was pleased to see them get through but they have, in my opinion, drawn the hardest crew that wasn’t seeded.

Verdict: Easily to HRV Cornelis Tromp

So, there you have it. My predictions for the first 8 races in the Fawley. Its highly unlikely that I’ll be blogging too much during Henley itself as I’m racing but I’ll try and post brief updates of races that I manage to catch. Good luck to all the competitors and I look forward to some brilliant racing!

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