Wallingford Head of the River 2013- Preview

Here is my preview of some of the Junior events at Wallingford Head of the River 2013 next Sunday….

J18A 8+

A pretty good quality of entry, with 14 crews competing for the prize. St Pauls, who are the form club at the moment, have entered an eight into IM1 8+ which I presume will be their top eight. If they have entered the same crew into J18 8+ then I expect them to take this one. Hot on their heels will be three other crews that I feel are looking strong at the moment. Radley, who came second in Jun 4+ at HOR4, have two international oarsmen onboard and have a pretty decent squad this year. I expect them to be pressing onto the front runners this year, and I’d like to see them replicate their form of 2012 form. Having written off Hampton, a proper look at their HOR4 results shows that they have two pretty quick fours, which could make a decent eight. Their IM2 4+ came 7th last weekend while their Jun 4+ came 4th and I think Neil Double will produce an eight capable of challenging for the top this year. Having lost their international oarsmen last year, I expected them to suffer as a result. I don’t think they’ll be as quick as last year [4 junior internationals are pretty hard to replace!] but I can see them finishing in the top 3 [This is on the assumption that they have entered two ranked eights]. My last call for speed goes to KCS, who also picked up some decent results last weekend. They traditionally enter a quad at HOR4 and this year was no exception. They finished 5th in Jun 4x and 5th in Jun 4+ and these were both strong results, beating some good crews. Additionally, Eton have been pretty quiet so far this year, boating mainly singles. They chose to train in a private session at Dorney with Bedford School instead of race at HOR4 and it will be good to see what Alex Henshilwood has produced thus far. With that all conquering J16 8+ from last year, I expect these boys to be fast this year.

J18A 4+

Only one winner here in a three crew field. The entry from Radley looks to be the same crew that finished 2nd in Jun 4+ at HOR4 and, if so, they should have no problems in seeing off Dulwich and LVS Ascot.


J16 8+

18 entries and this is a rematch for several NSR victors last year. Royal Shrewsbury have entered 5 eights which is quite incredible for one school! The favourite, going off previous results, is the boat entered under Cabral. However, there is a strong possibility that the personnel of each crew may have been mixed around. I think at least 1 of the RSSBC entries will be fast. Hot on their heels will be two other rowing heavyweights, St Pauls and Hampton. 4th and 5th at NSR in J15CH8+ respectively, both of these schools have entered two crews. I’m sure one of these will be looking to strike a blow early on. J16 represents the transition period between recreational, ‘optional’ rowing to intensive ‘Senior Squad’ training and the battle of the J168+ usually proves fearsome. Additionally, we have a Hundermark/Thatcher battle from early on. I’d also say to watch out for SWB, who finished 2nd in J151st8+ at NSR last year.

WJ18A 8+

I’d expect Lady E Holles to take this. Their quad came 10th in WJun4x at HOR4 and their four came 5th in WJun4+ and I think they’ll have a strong eight again this year. Headington have dominated CHG8+ for several years now and it’ll be good to see if Lady E Holles can lay down a marker after Headington’s slightly underwhelming performance at HOR4. An interesting entry is the Newark boat. I haven’t really noticed them in women’s junior rowing before and I’ll be checking the results to see how they get on.

WJ18A 4+

For many of these girls, this is Round 2 after Fours Head. 4 of the 6 entries raced at HOR4, with Lady E Holles placing the highest at 5th. However, judging by the entry names, the four from Lady E Holles is different to the one that raced at HOR4 and I believe it may be the quad or an amalgamation of the two. Either way, this boat should be looking to take the win. Pangbourne, an established crew who came 6th last weekend in WJun4+, will be looking to upset this though and I anticipate a good fight between these two. The deciding factor may well be the fact that Pangbourne appear to only be racing once as opposed to Lady E Holles who are also doing an eight. We can also welcome the WJun4x champions to this event. Eton Excelsior, in the absence of sculling events, have entered a four under Gabi Hatfield and these girls will certainly be strong. Having won HOR4 in the quad, it is always good to see top quality crews extending their skills base to the other discipline. Some cracking racing in store!

Although not strictly a junior event, both Pangbourne and St Edwards have entered junior fours in Sen 4- and IM14- respectively. Watch these two, as they will be pace setting for the J18 4+ I feel [Obviously, the absence of a cox helps]. Additionally, Abingdon have entered two crews into IM2 8+ and it will good to compare their speed to the other junior crews.

That’s all for this preview, good luck to all competitors next weekend!

This photo was taken from: http://wallingford-head.rowing.org.uk/