Fullers Fours Head of the River 2013- Review

Its an odd feeling, sticking the Christmas tunes on the day after HOR4 but, such were the tidal constraints this year, it so happens that today is the 1st December! Fours Head proved to be another fantastic and competitive day of racing with some really promising results for some crews!

I got three of the four winners right and some good shouts on the top 5 for each event. So, here is a brief review of each event..

Junior Quads

A superb performance from the accomplished unit from SWB, who provided a devastating response to the questions I asked of them in the preview. Their 30 second win over Pangbourne College puts them firmly in the driving seat for this season and now they can get their heads down over the Christmas period and push on. Pangbourne had a good row yesterday too and it will be interesting to see whether or not they take this quad forward. Westminster and Marlow both performed very well, exceeding my expectations of them. I must also congratulate the Westminster/Imperial composite with Sam Meijer and Cam Kerr onboard, who won IM14x and finished in an astounding 3rd place overall. These boys are having a sensational season and I look forward to seeing them join the Westminster ranks to form a quad. Despite a late change, Leander managed a respectable 7th place while Claire’s Court, whom I left out of my preview entirely, finished 8th [Apologies to CCSBC, thank you for proving me wrong!]. Walton and Windsor Boys both had poor rows yesterday, with Walton losing Harry Christie before the race. I’m certain that made a difference but these guys’ll have to have a rethink over the next few months if they’re to compete at the highest level this season.

Junior Women’s Quads

Eton Excelsior won this by just over 2 seconds and it looks like this year is going to be absolutely fascinating in Junior Women’s Quads. I thought these girls would take it as they are a class act, with Gabi Hatfield and Emma Moores onboard. They looked strong coming down the course but Marlow, who had two girls in the top 3 at GB Trials, will feel this is a decent result as they are only J17. They, for me, are the crew to watch this year as I can see them really challenging for that top spot. Henley, a J16 crew, are a real talent for the future and I’ll flag them up now as the names to remember over the next few years. They were 0.2 seconds off Marlow yesterday and this battle, between local rivals, will be a great sub-plot for this season. Latymer were slightly off the pace yesterday but I think they’ll be fast in the summer. However, we have yet to see a quad from Gloucester Hartpury, who had 4 girls in the top 20 at GB Trials. Introduce them to the fray and we have a real battle. 

Junior Men’s Fours

A solid victory for St Pauls and it has to be said that they look strong at the moment. Two trialists in the top 20 at GB, the Pairs and Fours Head titles for the corresponding events and I look forward to a really strong eight from these guys. Could this be their year? Hmm…. Radley took second place and I think that’s a pretty good result for these boys as I didn’t expect them to really challenge St Pauls. Radley are renowned for gaining speed as the season progresses and so I think there’ll be up there come May/June/HRR. However, Abingdon looked distinctly off the pace, finishing 10th in Junior Fours and 12th in IM1 4+. Admittedly, they don’t always do fantastically at HOR4 but these results aren’t very promising. Kings College School looked pretty good yesterday with 5th places in Junior Quads and Fours.

Junior Women’s Fours

A very strong performance from Henley, particularly in light of their 3rd place in Junior Women’s Quads. Their strength in depth is very good this year, with at least 8 athletes firing in the top range. I’ll be interested to see whether any of the girls from the four move into the quad to strengthen it. My prediction about Sir William Borlase putting some of their better athletes in the Four proved correct as they came home in 2nd place, 7 seconds behind the winners. Headington came 3rd and that, for them, will be a good benchmark to push on from. BGS finished 4th but, for me, their true calling lies in the quad and it was a confusing decision to say the least. They have a number of talented scullers in their ranks and I’ll be interested to see whether or not they pursue the four or put Lottie Bruce and Courtney Osbourne Walker in a double or a quad. 

So, a good early indication of speeds from the top clubs and some early favourites are emerging from the blur. The dynamic of Junior Rowing for 2013/2014 is gradually taking shape and the battles between the various clubs are already providing a fascinating insight.

Feel free to get in contact by email at juniorrowingwordpress@gmail.com to request a preview, ask any questions or write one yourself! Alternatively, get in contact via my Twitter page @JuniorRowing. 

My next preview will be Wallingford Head [Sunday 8th December] and the preview should be live midweek.

Thanks!

This photo was taken from: http://www.hor4s.org.uk/2013winners.htm and http://www.jetphotographic.com/showphoto.php?id=271651

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