National Schools Preview 2014- Championship Coxed Fours

My preview….

St Edwards

This is the stern four of the Teddies eight and they will definitely be one of the favourites to take the prize. Ollie Knight was in the Teddies crew which won a silver medal in this event last year and he is joined by two guys from last years first VIII, Sam Gillingham and Albert Mitchell. These boys have been instrumental in moving the St Edwards eight on this year and they stand as good a chance as any other crew in this event. They are favourites to take the win in CH8+ and I think they could record a historic double- this is Ollie Knight’s final year in junior rowing and he will want to go out with a gold medal in a major event at National Schools.

Abingdon School

Containing two of the oarsman from that record breaking eight last year in the form of Luke Wiggins and Jonathan Lord, this four is a pretty stacked unit. Although Abingdon had a pretty shaky start to the season and were badly affected by flooding in Oxfordshire, they’ve come back strong and are very good boat movers despite circulating thoughts to the contrary. They are the current holders of this event but I feel they may just edged out by that excellent crew from Teddies. The average ergo of this four is 6:20, which is monstrously quick and their power will be a key asset.

Evesham

I actually thought these boys were going to focus on the quad this year but they’ve chosen to pursue the four and avoid the logjam that is CH4x. They won J4+ at SHORR and Matt Newman represented Great Britain at Munich International Regatta. They’ll have been training in this boat and it should be razor sharp, making them a definite contender. Several of these boys have been towards the top of their age group for a long time; James Mackins won a silver medal in J161x at the British Championships last year while Liam Tustin rowed at the Coupe De La Jenuesse. I would imagine that they’ll revert back to the quad for Henley but I think they will be in contention for a medal on Sunday.

St Pauls School A

I think these boys have to take the favourite tag despite their slip in form. They remind me a lot of the Hampton crew last year; four exceptional oarsman who were capable of winning any four event but failed to really catapult their eight to the lofty heights that their ability demanded. They absolutely stormed to victory at HOR4 in exactly the same crew, beating a Radley crew by over 20 seconds. They have the mercurial talents of Arthur Doyle and Stijn De Graaf to call upon and I think they are the favourites to take the win in this event. Although the competition is incredibly tough in this event. I think their class will see them home.

Shiplake College

An odd choice some may say but, looking at their entry list, the athletes within this crew are all very talented and are certainly Shiplake’s strongest oarsmen. Harry Vardigans is racing the four along with Max Hearnden and Harry Hogan, all of whom have been involved with the GB squad/trailing process in some way. I think this crew will be extremely strong and will certainly be a contender for a spot in the final. Their chances are arguably better in the four than the eight and I’ll be interested to see whether they can turn their strong line-up into a good result.

Radley College

Another very strong line-up, reinforcing that CH4+ is the more competitive of the two four events this year. This crew has some great potential and have been rowing together for a long time. Charles Elwes, as mentioned before, has an extraordinary ergo score of 6:04 and is still only J17- he’s made a Henley final and his potential is huge. I think these boys will certainly be able to challenge for a spot in the final and will be a cause of concern for crews from Abingdon, St Edwards and Evesham.

My prediction for the final- St Pauls, Evesham, St Edwards, Abingdon, Radley, Shiplake

My prediction for the win- St Pauls

Notable mentions go to Hampton School A, who have entered a good crew with some of their top athletes, Norwich School, who have Adam Crafer to call upon, Kings College School, who look to have entered their top four into this event too and who narrowly missed out on a spot in the CH4- final last year and Monmouth School, who are one of my favourites to take the 1st VIII prize.

Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from- http://www.abingdon.org.uk/index.php/national_schools_regatta_may10

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