Star Head Preview

The following specialised preview was written by a guest contributor, an idea that we hope will become more prevalent over the next few months. If anyone else wishes to write similar previews of smaller events that we cannot cover, please don’t hesitate to contact us at to discuss.

Star Head is an often overlooked race in comparison to the same course run by Bedford in October due to the majority of trialists heading over to Hampton to prepare for the gruelling 5k they will soon have to endure. But. with the absence of many top rowers, this leaves the door open for different people to take the lime light for a change.

J181X – Quite an impressive turn out compared to other junior categories. With Star taking up half the entries I would be surprised not too see a strong selection in the top 6. The stand out sculler for me here would have to be Morgan (Star) who came second a few weeks back at St Neots Head. But he rowed in their Henley Quad and raced a CH2x at NSR, placing 5th in the semis. More relevantly, he won J181x at Bedford Small Boats Head in April which is almost an identical event. My prediction is he will be one of the quickest singles of the day. Star also entering a handful of strong challengers who will no doubt be fighting for second place. Milton Keynes’s rowers haven’t seemed to race at any large scale events yet but Baines posed a respectable time while racing up a year at Peterborough this summer. Both Oundle and Bedford will struggle to keep up with some of the quicker racers such as race favourite Morgan of Star

J182X – Again, not a particularly large entry, which lacks some of the ferocity you’d expect from the J182x. Interesting to see a category where all racers are competing in the same division. Should make for interesting spectating! Of the four crews; the Star double (composed of NSR J164x members) seems to look strongest out of them. These are perhaps followed by Oundle who’s double have had previously shown strong performances at the Champion of the Thames in the double. Bedford will be close behind with their home turf advantage and knowledge of the course which will be invaluable. Finally Milton Keynes, who I will hope to surprise me, but alas I predict to bring up the rear. This aside I will look forward to seeing the results from this event. Star to win.

J184X – A rather disappointing and saddening sight; seeing only two entries for this event. Both crews have come up racing each other repeatedly. An example of this is the Jack Smart/J Goode double being one of the fastest non-qualifiers at NSR but still beating the double of Joe Furniss/Oli Aston (who I am lead to believe are in the quad next weekend) by a few seconds. However they then raced again in the quad at NSR, losing to Norwich. Both Tom Scales & Matt Wileman who raced NSR are also competing. Since this, the quad, consistently bowed by Scales, has come 4th at Brit Champs, but also gained the valuable knowledge of England Talent Pathway Coach Katy Knowles who will no doubt have helped them step up their game even more. This, along with their recent victory at St Neots, allows me to say with confidence Norwich will not only be the quickest quad of the day but maybe even the challenging the 8+ for quickest time. Plus, at these speeds, both crews will need impeccable steering to negotiate the bridges and other crews, again a benefit for Norwich as Scales has raced and won this course in quads before.

WJ184X – With there being 12 star rowers here, it becomes very difficult to work out which rowers are in each crew. But a W.J184x- under the name ‘Sadd’ came first at Bedford SBH. If this is the same crew they will no doubt race with confidence after this victory and hopefully be pushing up and beating some of the top male J18 singles. But saying this, Potterill (Cambridge) did win Champions of the Thames and by a considerable margin this year, I also believe this crew is racing up to J18. Star’s first quad to win if 3 ranked crews have been entered

J171X – Small entry yet all three will have the benefit of knowing who has won the medal leaving them in a strong positive mind set for following events. Both Cambridge racers were opposition in the CRA Winter League with Smart coming out 3rd behind some very impressive scullers who beat all J18 1x while J16, so, in his own right, a well-established single. Matt Wileman seems to have won Leicester Regatta in an all Norwich Semi-final and final yet, a few months on, lost at St Neots to several of his fellow rowers who he had previously beaten. The question remains as to whether he simply had a poor race or has been overtaken in speed. He still has NSR credentials which makes the prediction between the two very difficult. Wileman (Norwich) to win followed closely by Smart (Cambridge) but only by a few seconds.

J161X – Finally the J161x. Many of the clubs who have entered this category have their top single single scullers in crew boats or other statuses. The home teams entry have both raced each other before with Tugulu of Star winning by a considerable Margin, he also won the J162x at St Neots head. Almost half the racers here raced against each other in the same category a few weeks prior with two scullers standing out, these two are the aforementioned Tugulu of Star and Di Nero of Bedford Modern. The outcome was a Di Nero win by 5 seconds. Bedford Modern has large numbers of rowers who compete together and Di Nero was in the J158+ who placed 6th at the NSR, but this was the 2nd eight, still an impressive achievement. 1st place will be fought out between these two but my heart is telling me Tugulu will be fighting for this and may just take it, followed by Bedford Modern.

Written by Dora [Guest Writer]

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