St Neots Review and Pairs Head Preview

Some interesting results coming out of St Neots this weekend, with Norwich the stand-out club for Junior Rowing. They took the J184x prize in a time of 9:01 although I am led to believe that this was their J16 boat. Whatever the case, they beat Bedford School by 13 seconds. They also took J182x with the formidable combination of Parsonage [Winner of J181x by some 26 seconds]  and Matthews [2nd place in J171x]. They clocked the fastest time of the day in a staggeringly fast 8:58, the only boat to go under 9 minutes. Parsonage won the J181x prize over Morgan from Star Club, who had a good row to come second in 10:03.

The J171x was a different story as my favourite, White from Star Club, came in a disappointing 4th place. His time was 10:30, a whole 21 seconds slower than Davies from St Neots who took the J171x prize. I am told, however, that he suffered steering issues down the course albeit I’m unsure as to the nature of these i.e. rudder indicative or a crash. The results were interesting and Parsonage’s single time was unbelievably fast, which justified my selection of him as favourite. Morgan and Colbert had good rows in their singles and St Neots were well represented, especially the  combination of Davies and Mitchell in J182x.

Osborne Walker took the WJ182x title and I am told that her partner was Lottie Bruce so this isn’t a surprise to me. A good solid row to build upon.

Now, to the Pairs Head…

A classic event in the British rowing calendar, this attracts clubs from all over the UK to race the 4000m course from Chiswick to Hammersmith bridge. Commonly referred to as Fours Head’s younger sibling, the junior events are often useful to get an early indication of the speeds of the top clubs. Here, I will preview the 5 events that caught my eye….


This is a huge field with, in my opinion, a number of boats that could take the win. Arguably the favourites are Cam Kerr and Sam Meijer from Westminster School, two returners from last years Fawley cup quad. Meijer competed at the Coupe De La Jeunesse in a quad this summer and has notched up some pretty impressive results in small boats previously including a second place in J18 at Scullers Head. Their knowledge of the course and the fact that they have rowed together for a while makes them, for me, slight favourites. Nottingham will also be strong, with the pairing of Rowan Law and Connor Gamble current national champions in OJ2x. Law rowed at Coupe this year too and these guys will be strong, as is always the case with Nottingham. Toby Rudkin and James Bridgman from Kings School Ely are back in the double after their winning race at Wallingford Long Distance Sculls and it will be interesting to see if they can reproduce this form again. Hot on their heels were Maidenhead, who lost out by 2 seconds. Maidenhead produced an exceptionally strong quad last year but, as far as I am aware, none of those guys have returned. The sculler driving this double is Gray, who won a bronze medal in J161x last year. It will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.


A much smaller field for this event, with only 12 entrants racing. I think that the Lawaczeck/Hopkins-Powell pair will be the fastest. Both of these guys rowed on the St. Pauls 1st VIII last year and Hopkins Powell was also in the Ch4+ that came 5th in a very strong field at NSR. Additionally the  De Graaf/Doyle combination from St Pauls school should be quick in this event. Stijn De Graaf also raced in the St Pauls 1st VIII last year in the 2 seat, reaching the Thursday of Henley. Doyle is a strong single sculler, winning a silver two seasons ago at the British Championships in J151x and this boat should be fast. St Pauls for the win I think.


I make the American School double slight favourites for this. They came 3rd at WDLS but neither of the top 2 are racing so expect these boys to go well. As well as them, Trentham are always fast and usually produce outstanding J15/J16’s and I expect this boat to be fast too.


This is a tie between the girls from Gloucester Hartpury and Eton Excelsior. Both of these clubs had exceptionally fast junior quads last year, both of whom made it to the Saturday of Henley. I make Eton Excelsior he slight favourites as these girls are probably the slightly faster boat of the two, going off last years results and crew names. The Newson boat will likely be the fastest of the two Gloucester Hartpury boats while the Hatfield crew from Eton Excelsior has two of the girls who were in the quad last year and picked up a bronze medal at NSR. The comparison between these two will give us a good early indication as to the relative speeds of these girls. The battle between Gloucester Hartpury and Latymer Upper last year was a fantastic duel, with GH defeating Latymer in the NSR final only for Latymer to see them off in the semi finals of HRR. Hopefully a similarly dramatic battle will insue this year!


Only 4 entries. I think Marlow will take it, I’m just not sure which crew.


That’s my preview of Pairs Head done. Sorry, its a tad late but I’ve been busy  dealing with everyday life and all its tribulations!  Hopefully this is comprehensive enough to give you a grounding, I will be waiting with baited breath for the results to see if my accuracy rate has improved from last week! Good luck to all competitors!


This photo was taken from