Henley Long Distance Sculls 2013 Preview

A massive entry this year to a really enjoyable event. Raced on the picturesque stretch of Henley on Thames, this event always attracts strong competition from the Upper Thames region and this year is no exception. Marlow, Sir William Borlase, Leander, Maidenhead and Evesham, to name but a few, have all chipped in to race the junior events. Lets get down to previews….


Leading the division out is a J18 quad from SWB, under the name of Uden. I’ve checked through the entries and I don’t think this will be the SWB top boat as Rufus Biggs, Chris Lawrie and Fraser Russell are all racing in doubles further down so far as I can tell. Therefore, this prize could go to a number of boats. The first is the entry from Claire’s Court, under the name of Gordon. This is probably Dan Gordon, who rowed in the J164x from CC last year which recorded a series of impressive results. Their knowledge of the Henley stretch along with HRR expertise [They raced on the Wednesday last year, losing out to Star] should prove a formidable combination. A new look Maidenhead combination, including Ben Gray, should also look to be among the top 3. The Marlow boat will likely be similiar to the one that came 4th in J184x at Bedford SBH and, if so, I wouldn’t expect them to be too near the top. Also, watch out for the Evesham boat. These guys, despite underperforming at the British Championships, will be looking to make amends with the strong combination of Mackins, Staite and Tustin in the boat. I think Evesham will win it followed by Maidenhead then Claire’s Court.


The ‘Biggs’ SWB boat is, without a doubt, the stand out favourite for this hotly contested event. If it contains Rufus Biggs and Chris Lawrie, the latter a Junior World oarsmen, then they shouldn’t have any real problems taking the win. However the Russell double, also from SWB, will undoubtedly be fast too. Depending on which boat Chris Lawrie sits in, I would anticipate that one taking the win. The prospect of an SWB quad at the end of all this, with three returners from the finalist boat last year…. Frightening. Their strength will, I think, began to tell as the year progresses. The Pangbourne double, wih Ben Maxwell who came 2nd in Early ID trials last year, has a reputation of going exceedingly fast so expect them to push SWB. My last call for speed goes to the St Neots double of Fergus Mitchell and Josh Davies, who came 2nd in a very fast J182x event at St Neots SBH. These guys also raced at Pairs Head in IM2 2x and would have placed 6th in J182x. I’m expecting big things of these boys, who should be looking to build a quad for this year. SWB for the win.


 I appreciate that it all sounds like a bit of an SWB monoploy here but I have a feeling that this could be a recurrent theme throughout the 2013/2014 season. A GIGANTIC field with 57 scullers racing for this prize. Chris Lawrie gets the favourite tag once again and I expect Biggs, Coussens and Russell to all be fast from SWB too. These guys attended the GB sculling camp last week and Lawrie won the 1x time trials at the end of the week, hence why he takes my tag of ‘favourite’. Marlow get their first shout of the day, which goes to Alex Haynes who came 3rd in J16 GB trials in February. Charlie Elwes, another world oarsmen, from Radley is a bit of a monster, both on the ergo and the water, and I expect him to be pushing the ‘top scullers’. Robbie Wendin, the other international of note from Radley, is also racing the single. The guys from Evesham, particularly Mackins, will be up there. Mackins was one of the participants on the GB Sculling camp last week and I’ve heard he did fairly well. Maxwell is racing the single and I’ve always wanted a showdown between him and Elwes to see who’d come out on top. Maxwell toppled the exceptionally fast Ollie Knight, sculler turned rower at St Edwards, by two seconds at Reading SBH and I expect him to be pushing onto Lawrie. Aldridge from Christchurch is always worth a mention but I can’t see him troubling the top guys. As you can see, there really are too many scullers of note to name them all so I’ve tried to limit it to the top few. This genuinely is a world class field and it will be a very good indication of speeds leading up to the Early ID trials in November.


I predict Maidenhead to take this. A Maidenhead crew won silver at NSR in the J154x+ event and, if this cew bears any resemblance to them, I expect these guys to take the win. A Maidenhead double also won J162x at Pairs Head. SWB are usually quite strong in this department and I think one of their two boats will likely be fairly quick. Maidenhead for the win though.


Another huge field and I have to admit I’m not massively familiar with the J16’s yet. However, from what I can gauge, Hoxley from Maidenhead stands a pretty good chance based on this years early results. He came 2nd at Wallingford LDS and was in the J162x winning double at Pairs Head. Beagles, from RGS High Wycombe, will also be fast as he came 5th at Brit Champs in J151x. Hoxley for the win.


The first boat out is from Bedford Girls School and will likely contain Courtney Osbourne Walker and Lottie Bruce, two very able oarswomen. BGS always produce something fast in at least one age category and, this year, I think it could be the year they produce a very fast WJ18 quad. Latymer, holders of the Junior Womens Quadruple Scull at HRR, will also be quick as they always are under Hugo Gulliver but I am unsure as to how many returners they have. This one is wide open, as Gloucester Hartpury, SIr William Borlase and Eton Excelsior have decided not to enter. I think BGS might nick it.

There is my preview of Henley Long Distance Sculls for 2013. A huge entry, which will go some way to rectifying the inevitable losses incurred due to last years cancellation.  Some cracking match-ups are guaranteed and I look forward to reading the results and readying my predictions for Scullers and Fours Head. Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from: https://sites.google.com/site/henleyopenevents/