National Schools Regatta 2014- Championship Doubles Preview

A fantastic standard of entry in what is often an overlooked event. We have all the regulars along with some frightening combinations made up of some of the best scullers in the country. To the preview…

Gavin Horsburgh and Josh Armstrong [Glasgow Schools RA]

Some may be wondering why I’ve included these boys as potential competitors but their results, particularly that of J16 Josh, have been impressive through the season. Josh won Feb GB Trials in the J16 category by a stonking 38 seconds; his domination really reminded me of Scott Ozsanlav Harris last year. Josh also finished 5th in the B final at J18 April Trials which is undoubtedly a superb achievement for this young lad. A name for the future to be sure and I can see this combination doing well at the weekend. Horsburgh is no slouch though, finishing second overall at the Clydesdale Scullers Head. They raced together in a double at the same event, winning by 20 seconds. Look out for these boys as they could upset a few.

Fergus Mitchell Dwelly and Josh Davies [St Neots RC]

One of the fastest combinations on the circuit and their addition to the Jun 4x this year has had a superb impact; they’ve risen up the ranks to enter the top 10 quads in the country. This double will be one of the favourites to final and I expect to see them there. They recorded some stunning results through the winter, including a second place at Henley LDS. Their best result, in my opinion, came at Hampton where they recorded the second fastest time of the day ahead of several very strong crews. Can they win? I doubt it but I expect to see them in the final. The final will be some affair and is a lot more competitive this year, with some real talent. These boys are no exception although their speed depends a lot on which boat they have prioritised. 

James White and Hugh White [The Windsor Boys Boat Club]

An excellent, and genetically supreme, combination who have been dominating events since their J16 days [Allow me to take you back to that wonderful Windsor Boys J164x]. They dominated the field at Nottingham City to win ELI 2x although they raced in J182x and were beaten by another brotherly combination. Its been an odd season for the White twins; they’ve recorded a mix of results in all manner of boat class. Their quad has been unpredictable and their respective single form has chopped and changed. Nonetheless, they both have strong 2k scores [6:17 and 6:20] so they’ll be up there fighting for a spot in the final- and I think they’ll get it. 

Matt Georgiou and Lee Mount [Walton RC]

Another classy combination who have struggled for form in larger boats this season. Their quad has been less than convincing although it is fair to say that this drop in form is unlikely to be down to these guys. Matt Georgiou is a real double specialist; he won a silver medal in J152x with Harry Christie for Kingston RC at NSR, a bronze medal for Walton in J162x along with a spot in the GB France team and this all culminated in a well deserved spot on the England team for the Home International Regatta last year after a bronze medal in J2x at the British Championships. Lee moved across from the USA a few years ago and has really made an impact, forming a solid combination with Matt. These boys are both natural lightweights and will be praying for that rarest of beasts; a Pierrepoint tailwind. Can they win? I don’t think so but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final.

Scott Ozsanlav-Harris and Luke Ozsanlav-Harris [Grange School BC]

The return of the Ozsanlav-Harris brothers to the scene of junior rowing has been greeted, by myself at least, with rapturous excitement; they’re a real talent and, with this being Luke’s last year in the junior system, they’ll be looking to challenge the likes of Westminster. Scott has had another excellent season, notching up a series of impressive results in the single to earn a place in the Nautilus B crew at Wallingford which finished second in ELI 4x [although he didn’t race at Munich]. They won J182x at Nottingham City Regatta last weekend and will be looking to build on that result in preparation for the quad the following day. I think they’ll be in contention for a medal spot as they’re a classy crew with real pedigree at NSR- they won J152x three years ago. Can history repeat itself? We shall see.

Cam Kerr and Sam Meijer [Westminster School BC]

What can I say about these two? I’ve run out of superlatives to describe them; they are probably the fastest two man, one club junior combination in the UK at the moment, with the possible exception of a Borlase partnership. They make up a partnership that ran riot through the major head events; they finished fourth at Pairs Head, winning the J182x, fifth and fourteenth at the Scullers Head and third overall in a composite with Imperial BC at HOR4. They made up a 1-2 at Wallingford in J181x and their quad took the junior quad honours at the SHORR. They are my favourites to win this event as Westminster often find top speed at National Schools and it’ll take some crew to stop this indomitable combination. Meijer raced for Great Britain at Munich in the A quad, which was the only crew to win from GB. Congratulations to him and I expect to see him add to his silverware collection this weekend. 

Dan Gordon and Toby Jones [Claire’s Court School BC]

Two J17 scullers who have been racing together for a couple of years now. These boys had a cracking season at J16 level last year, winning a silver medal at the British Championships in J164x so their in that transitory period between J16 and top level scull. Nonetheless, they’ve adapted well and both of these lads were in the Claire’s Court quad that finaled at Wallingford a few weeks ago so I think they’ll be moving this double fast. They’ve had some decent results in smaller boats to complement the work they’ve done in the quad and Toby Jones raced at GB Trials in November, finishing 53rd. I think they’ll be a good crew albeit I’m not sure if they’ll have the speed required to make the final. A dark horse.

Cam Murray and Angus Warren [Sir William Borlase School BC]

Two spares for the all-conquering SWB top quad and it is quite unfortunate that these boys happen to row at SWB as they’d be top boat athletes in most other clubs. Both lads have a good history through sculling as they both raced in the SWB J16 quad which won a silver medal at NSR two years ago. In a double, they’ve been going well and finished four seconds behind the White twins at Wallingford Regatta in J182x. I think they’ll be looking to close this gap and they are another potential candidate for the final.

My prediction for the final- Westminster, Grange School, The Windsor Boys School, Walton, St Neots, Glasgow Schools RA

My prediction for the win- Westminster

Notable mentions go to St Leonards, who had a particularly strong J16 double two years ago which included one of the lads in this crew, The American School in London, who usually turn out a decent double, St Ives, who have a crew which have raced together for a few years now and have notched up some decent results, Marlow RC, which is a crew made up of the top J184x and Tideway Scullers School, who recently had a good race at Wallingford Regatta.

Good luck to all competitors!

CHG2x to follow shortly.

This photo was taken from-