Fullers Fours Head of the River 2013- Junior Boys Quads Preview

So, with less than a week until one of the biggest head races of the year, its time to take a look at those entries and start making those predictions! With the new one boat per club rule being imposed upon Junior Quads, many clubs have decided to enter boats into the IM14x category too. However, the majority of the top junior scullers are all in the Junior category so we should be in for some cracking races! I’ll preview Junior Boys Quads tonight, Junior Girls Quads tommorow with the Junior Fours to follow at the weekend. I’m staggering my previews so that I can go into depth on the top crews in each event. To Junior Quads then…

Sir William Borlase

Arguably the favourites for this event. They’ll be second out of the division, chasing down Marlow. Obviously, we’ve all heard me wax lyrical about the SWB potential this year due to the fact that they have, arguably, some of the best scullers in the country. Having said that, I feel that, relative to their boat moving ability, they have slightly underperformed this year. They were beaten by a tidy unit from Northwich at the British Championships and failed to win J182x or J181x at Henley Sculls. Despite posting some fast times at Hampton SBH last weekend, I would like to see them assert some dominance on proceedings at HOR4s. Its a star-studded line up, with three of last years HRR finalist quad joined by ex Marlow man Fraser Russell. They’ve had a lot of success over the last few years in Junior Quads and I’m expecting these guys to replicate this with an early season victory.

Marlow

This, I believe, is 50% of the quad that travelled to Bedford to race at Bedford SBH, placing a disappointing 4th. Naturally, its a tough year immediately after a Henley win, especially when all 4 athletes from the victorious quad have moved on, but SWB managed to turn it into a successful season last year. I’ll be fascinated to see whether or not Marlow can do the same. They certainly still have some classy athletes, including Alex Haynes who finished 2nd in J171x at Hampton SBH. James Moran is an accomplished single sculler but I can’t see these guys, based on results thus far, producing anything too spectacular next weekend.

Leander

Having lost the substantial talents of both Seb Devereux and Sam Mottram to the senior world [Sam came an impressive 3rd in LWT Men GB Senior Trials at the weekend while Seb came 15th in HWT men], Leander have a sizeable hole to fill. However, their boys are recruited with the express intention of building a ‘super’ boat, capable of challenging for the Fawley Cup. Harry Leask, 2 man in the ill-fated 2013 HRR campaign, won J181x at Henley LDS by an impressive 9 seconds over a quality field so they still have good pedigree. I will be very interested to see what they can produce but I expect a strong showing, with the resources and athletes available to them. They still have some returners from the Star and Arrow boat that just missed out on qualification for HRR last year and I think they’ll feature somewhere up there.

Pangbourne

With the winning J182x from Henley LDS, this boat is sure to go fast. Ben Maxwell is one of the fastest scullers on the junior circuit and Pangbourne usually produce something pretty decent in the smaller boats. I’m really excited to see how this quad goes as, judging by the crew list, it has the potential to go audaciously fast. Starting fourth, and hunting down Leander, I think it’ll be a real dogfight between these two crews. With two returners from their Visitors Four, I think these boys’ll be in the running.

Northwich

All hail the current British U19 Champions! These boys have been going well this season, taking the scalps of Sir William Borlase, Evesham and The Grange School to name but a few. They are a well-established unit, having raced together last year. The only change from the 2012/2013 season appears to be A. Bain, silver medalist at NSR in J171x, coming into the bow seat instead of Harry Blake. Nonetheless, these guys raced to the Thursday at HRR and picked up a well deserved silver medal at the British Championships in July. They’ve always been fairly consistent in terms of speed and this year is their big chance to make an impact. With Finnian Lawton, A Final Trials sculler last year at Springs, stroking the boat, I’m expecting a top 10 finish, especially now they have been strengthened by the introduction of Alex Bain.

Evesham

These boys also have some serious talent in their crew, from the likes of Liam Tustin and James Mackins. Tustin rowed at the Coupe De La Jeunesse in the GB eight this summer while Mackins won a silver medal in J161x at the British Championships. This crew won J184x at Henley LDS and have, in the last few years, produced some pretty decent Junior Quads particularly the 2012 boat, which finaled at NSR. They had some decent J16’s last year, including the likes of James Mackins and Alex Staite, and I think this’ll be a fast boat albeit not one that I think’ll win it.

Star

We haven’t heard much from these boys as they’ve been keeping their heads firm;y below the parapet thus far. The only real indication of speed I have is their performance at Bedford SBH where all 3 of their quads beat a Marlow crew. They rowed in the Fawley last year, reaching the Thursday and the entirety of that crew has returned albeit not in this quad. C. Sonsino is the one to lose out, being replaced by T. Stace who raced in their ‘B’ entry at HRR. I fancy these boys to be up there as their lack of racing suggests an intensive training regime, under the guidance of Mark Bavington. Will White, their most promising sculler and current GB trialist, sits at stroke and these boys will be looking for a top 10 finish.

Walton

Two of these guys, Matt Georgiou and Lee Mount, raced at HRR last year in the seeded Walton quad and have ample racing experience. Indeed, these boys, along with Harry Christie, have raced in a quad dating back to J16. The Walton J182x won its category at Hampton SBH and, following the example set by previous Walton Junior quads, these guys will undoubtedly be fast. With the advantage of home river and course knowledge, I think this crew will finish in the top 10.

So that’s my round up of the top boats. Other crews to watch out for are Windsor Boys, with the formidable White twins joined by two younger scullers, Norwich, with the outrageously fast Stephen Parsonage who, in his TO race, recorded the fastest single time of the day at Hampton SBH [beating Ollie Knight and Chris Lawrie], Maidenhead, with their strong J16/J17 contingent, Henley, who have had a reshuffle of the combination that they have used since J16 level, Westminster, whose top scullers [Sam Meijer and Cam Kerr] are racing in a composite with Imperial in IM1, Tideway Scullers, who have Ollie Jonas, a reputable sculler, in the boat and Canford School, who take my bet for surprise speed, having racked up some strong results in singles and doubles this season.

[Apologies for the extraordinary length of that sentence, I felt it was more a stream of consciousness as opposed to regulated rhetoric.]

Read http://danielwspring.wordpress.com/ for a comprehensive preview of the Elite events at the Fours Head!

My preview for Junior Womens Quads will be out tommorow. Enjoy!

This photo was taken from: http://www.hor4s.org.uk/2012winners.htm and http://www.jetphotographic.com/

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JuniorRowingBlogger
  • Adam

    is the northwhich bow man alex bain? previously rowed at national scools and won a silver medal in j17 singles? could that strengthen the boat?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your feedback.

      That is indeed the same lad and I would imagine that this will considerably strengthen an already pretty fast boat.

      JuniorRowing