Hampton Small Boats Head 2013 Preview

An extremely popular event within the junior calendar, Hampton SBH always attracts hundreds of athletes from all over the country. It is also usually one of the first reliable indicators of speed from the top clubs. The timing of this years race is perculiar as, usually, the event is held on the  1st/2nd weekend in December. Evidently, last years cancellation has galvanised the organisers into moving the event to a slightly less weather dependant part of the year. Should make for some cracking racing…

J182x

Looks like a race between the White twins from Windsor Boys and the Walton double of Matt Georgiou and Lee Mount. The Walton double came 3rd at the Pairs Head of the river while the WBS crew won at Reading SBH by a convincing margin. I think that the WBS double will have the slight edge coming into this race as they have, arguably, a better racing record and experience. Both of these doubles raced at Henley last year, in quads, while James White won J171x at NSR. These guys have a long-lasting rivalry going back to J164x, where the dominance of Windsor Boys in 2012 was incredible. Don’t overlook the Newark boats, who have a pretty strong squad at the moment. However, I expect the fight to be between Walton and Windsor Boys, with WBS taking the win.

J172x

A pretty classy field, with three/four stand out boats. The St Neots double, whom I’ve mentioned before, are often worth far more together than the sum of their parts. Without any disrespect, neither are extraordinarily fast single scullers but, when placed together, they are lethal. The current age group national champions and a definite chance for this one. The Maidenhead double have been causing waves, racing up a year at Pairs Head and coming in a strong 4th. They, like St Neots, are a form crew and the battle between these two should be as engaging as it is fast. The Claire’s Court double, fresh from their 2nd place in J184x at Henley LDS, will also look to be challenging and hoping to regain some of the form they showed last year. My last call for speed goes to the Newark boat, under the name of Mitchell. George Mitchell has constantly been racing up a year for as long as I can remember, being a permanent fixture in the Newark J18 quad. It will be good to see what he can do at his own age group. I think Maidenhead will take this followed by St Neots.

WJ182x

Some good crews in here too. The Marlow Boat will be quick, and I can say that without looking at any previous results. However, for the sake of professionalism… A Marlow boat with M. Harding absolutely dominated WJ162x at NSR last year, winning by 11 seconds. The same name is on this double so I can see these guys being fast. The Eton Excelsior boat will also be fast, having come third at Pairs Head. Just behind them were the Walton combination of Jeffries and Thean. Walton have a reputation of producing outstanding small boats and these guys appear to be pressing this trend forwards. However, expect these three to fight it out, with Eton Excelsior taking the win.

J181x

A huge entry and another classy field. Some real battles should take place here. I made Lawrie the favourite at Henley LDS but he finished a disappointing third place, some 27 seconds off the pace. It will be good to see whether or not he has regained his form. Ollie Knight also has to have a mention, mainly due to the fact that he is one of the fastest scullers on the junior circuit. Having left his sculling days behind him since moving to Teddies, I hope he can have a good shot at Lawrie, as I’m sure he will. James White starts two boats behind Lawrie and he will be in contention undoubtedly, taking into account his record in a single. Additionally, Parsonage from Norwich has been causing waves this year, with some quite sensational performances in a single. He recently became Norfolk Scull champion and won J181x at St Neots Head by 26 seconds. I advise anyone to keep an eye on him as his speed against the high profile scullers will be very interesting to watch. The Walton boys from the double will be quick too along with Redman from Marlow. I don’t know if this is Leon Redman, previously of Henley. If so, he is usually pretty good in a single. Lawrie, White and Knight to fight it out, with Ollie Knight coming out on top.

WJ181x

Bruce from BGS looks like a good bet for me, following her 2nd place at Henley LDS. However, expect Hatfield from Eton Excelsior to be quick, having been in the HRR crew last year. Additionally, Sophie Thean from Walton has been showing good speed this year, placing 2nd at Weybridge Silver Sculls. I think Hatfield will take this.

J171x

Its getting late now so I’m going to whiz through. Names to look out for are Gray from Maidenhead [2nd at Wallingford LDS in J18], Gordon from Claire’s Court [10th at Henley LDS in J181x], Biggs from SWB [Member of the Fawley finalist quad last year], Matthews from Norwich [Winner of J171x at St Neots SBH], Haynes from Marlow [Joint 3rd at Weybridge Silver Sculls in J181x]. Gray for the win based on this seasons results.

This photo was taken from: http://www.hamptonschool.org.uk/The-School/Sport/Sports-(1)/Rowing.aspx

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