National Schools Regatta 2014- J17 Singles Preview

Another huge entry, with over 50 scullers competing in what is actually a class field with several scullers who raced at April Trials. The preview…

Rowan Law [Nottingham RC]

A towering figure and an excellent sculler to complement that; Rowan is a very capable athlete who is my personal favourite to take the win on Saturday. He recently won April Trails in tidal conditions at the NWSC and he’ll be looking to consolidate that with a win. He raced for GB in the A quad at Munich, winning a well deserved gold medal. If the conditions are near forecast, he’ll be in the best position to capitalise on this as he rows on the lake every week. His win will mean it is his third successive win in single events at National Schools [J151x, J161x, J171x] which is a very impressive feat. My favourite for the win.

Rufus Biggs [Sir William Borlase]

A member of the excellent SWB quad and a real powerhouse in the middle of that crew. He burst onto the scene last year as Chris Lawrie’s partner in crime and his development has been remarkable; he raced to the A/B semi finals at April Trials, building upon a second place in February in the double with Sam Meijer. I think Rufus, with his 6:17 ergo, will make the final and his charismatic approach will be a welcome addition. Can he challenge the likes of Law? I don’t think he is quite in the same league in terms of single sculling ability but I think he can challenge for the bronze medal.

William White [Star Club]

Another sculler who has been around the block, Will first caught my eye when he won a bronze in J151x at the British Championships in 2012. He’s a talented sculler and has picked up some strong results through the season, including 14th in Nov GB Trials. He rows in the Star A Quad and is their only figure of note. His ergo isn’t that fast for a guy of his speed on the water but he’s a good competitor who stands a decent chance of making the final on Saturday. 

Fraser Russell [Sir William Borlase]

It is always a worrying sign when three of the top competitors for two single sculling events are all from the same club. Fraser, who moved across from Marlow at the beginning of the season, has stepped on under the supervision of Robin Dowell and he finished 2nd in the April trials TT. His bow skills in the quad came under scrutiny when SWB crashed at SHORR but he’s obviously a very talented sculler with a lot to offer- his technique is really efficient and he’s adapted his style to the Borlase way. I think he’ll take the silver medal on Saturday but don’t be at all surprised to see him challenge Rowan Law as the two are fairly well matched.

Ollie Jonas [Tideway Scullers School]

A sculler whom we haven’t seen much of recently as he’s been training with the TSS men’s squad [he was in their IM2 VIII at the Head of the River] but he’s back to lend his invaluable services to the TSS junior quad. In the aforementioned J151x race at the British Championships two years ago, Ollie won gold in that and the J152x event and looked strong going forward. He had a relatively quiet year last year, winning a silver medal in J162x. This year, he’s come back strong and he’ll be a good competitor on Saturday. I think he can make the final and he’ll be looking to announce his presence on the sculling scene.

Harry Uglow [Leander Club]

Harry has oddly been left out of the Leander J184x despite his strong season last year and promising results this year. He finished 7th in a double with William New from Hinksey at Feb Trials and was involved in the C/D finals at trials. I’m not sure that he’ll be any match for the top scullers in the field i.e. Law, Russell but he has an outside chance of making the final.

Leon Langmead [Northwich RC]

Formerly of Queens Park High School BC, Leon moved across to Northwich this season to tap into the rapidly growing junior squad and it has worked wonders for him. His involvement in the GB Trials system has been impressive, finishing 9th in a club double at Feb GB Trials. He’s moved into the top Northwich quad and he’ll be looking to warm up for that with a good performance on Saturday. I’m not sure if he’ll make the final but he certainly won’t be far off as, like his club mates, he’s a very strong, athletic oarsman.

My predictions for the final- Rowan Law, Fraser Russell, Rufus BIggs, William White, Ollie Jonas, Harry Uglow

My prediction for the win- Rowan Law

Notable mentions go to Ben Gray, who notched up some decent results in small boats earlier in the season, Jack Smith, who is a talented sculler and has been training with Rowan and Connor Gamble, Harry Blake, who was the bow-man of the Northwich J18 quad last year, Harry Smith, who came fifth in J181x at Wallingford Regatta and William New who has raced at GB Trials this year.

Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from-