Henley Women’s Regatta 2014- Junior Quads

A particularly strong field with 5 of the top 6 from National Schools racing. The draw hasn’t really worked out as the most competitive as several of the top crews have drawn each other in the first round i.e. Marlow and Sir William Borlase, Latymer and Gloucester Hartpury. Nonetheless, we should be in for some cracking racing along with the prospect of some excellent semi-finals.

Marlow RC vs Sir William Borlase

As predicted, Marlow stormed to the win at National Schools, rowing through Gloucester Hartpury in the middle section of the race. Can they repeat these feats to win HWR? The going will be tougher as Gloucester Hartpury should be back to full strength following the absence of Flo Pickles through international commitments. However, Marlow looked so confident at National Schools and will doubtless have stepped on since then; the two Henley events often represent the pinnacle of the season and Bret King emphasised that there was still more to come from these girls.

I automatically feel sorry for any club that draws Marlow in the first round, particularly when they are as classy as Sir William Borlase. I presume this is the four top girls from the eight and I would think these girls will go on to try and qualify for HRR. SWB have had a pretty strong junior women’s squad this year, winning a bronze medal in CHG8+ at National Schools and racking up some decent results in smaller boats earlier in the season. These girls beat Marlow in WCH8+ at the Schools Head of the River but sculling is a different discipline and it is one which Marlow have refined over the past year. If anyone can stop Marlow, it is a crew like Borlase.

We get a round one at Reading Amateur on Saturday- these two crews are racing each other in a heat of WJ184x. Look out for the result of that one but, at HWR, I still feel Marlow will be too strong for Sir William Borlase- Marlow to go through although I expect it to be tight.

Reading RC vs Swansea City RC

Reading had a very accomplished junior women’s quad last year, who qualified for Henley Royal and were knocked out by eventual winners, Latymer. They haven’t really shown their true colours too much this season apart from a decent run out at the Schools Head of the River where they finished fourth in WJ4x. However they were over a minute behind winners Gloucester Hartpury and will have had to close the gap to stand any chance of being competitive this year. It is a shame they didn’t race at National Schools as that would have been good- they’re racing at Reading Amateur in WJ184x on Saturday against stiff opposition so look out for that result.

I’ve scoured my various resources for any trace of a result from this crew but I’ve come up empty-handed. No idea how fast these girls are, there really isn’t very much to go off. From past history, I wouldn’t expect them to be particularly fast as Swansea don’t really have a history of producing top-end junior crews albeit they did have a decent sculler in CH1x at National Schools.

Reading for the win.

Cork Boat Club, Ireland vs Shiplake College

Cork have a pretty good pedigree in Irish Rowing and are one of the top clubs in the country. They’ve had five junior girls selected for international representation, four of which are heading to the Coupe De La Jeunesse [Oisin Forde and Dervla Forde in the WJ2- while Aoife O’Keeffe and Claire Beechinor are racing in the WJ4x]. Megan McLaughlin is in the junior women’s sculling team for the Home International Regatta and so I expect their quad to be pretty quick. They’ve got some strong athletes and they’ve had some good showings in quads at Dublin Metropolitan Regatta. It looks as though the floods have wreaked havoc with their racing season too.

Shiplake had a really good day at National Schools a few weeks ago, qualifying 10th fastest out of the time trial before finishing fourth in a very strong semi-final. They’ve been pretty consistent all year round, with a 5th place in WJ4x at the Schools Head of the River. I believe this is their top girls boat and I think they’ll be strong competitors at HWR.

This is a difficult one as Cork haven’t got much evidence of strong quads. Nonetheless, if Cork put out their strongest line-up I think they’ll be too good for Shiplake- Cork for the win.

Tyrian Club vs Weybridge Rowing Club

Tyrian confuse me a little as I believed the club was a UL alumni club and not open to juniors. However, my understanding is that these girls are under the London Youth Rowing project and are relatively new to the junior scene. This is a big step up for them and to race at HWR is an experience that they will certainly enjoy. These girls missed out on qualification for CHG4x at National Schools and so will have had to gain a lot of speed in a short space of time to be competitive.

Weybridge have really come out of the woodwork this year. I believe they are a WJ17 crew which demonstrates the quality of the J17 squad at Weybridge- their boys quad is also very competitive. They had some strong results through the head season, including a third place in WJ174x at the Schools Head of the River. They really attacked the regatta season and brilliantly made the final at National Schools, seeing off the challenge of Durham ARC in their semi final. Looking at their side of the draw, they could go quite a way in this competition.

Weybridge for the win.

Eton Excelsior vs Monkton Combe School

I’m not sure why Eton took all that time off from racing earlier in the season but I think it has cost them. It is important to stay in contact with the system to ensure you remain competitive while racing the top competitors gives you an indication of what is needed to beat them. The extended absence from the circuit has cost Eton a lot of speed- they performed well in the smaller boats on the Saturday of National Schools but were 18 seconds behind Marlow in the final of CHG4x. They still have four very capable athletes and I think they have the potential to be racing at the top end again- they’ll have had to put in a shift between National Schools and now though!

Monkton finished last in the time trial for CHG4x at National Schools and I don’t think they’ll be much of a match for Eton Excelsior.

Eton for the win comfortably.

Tideway Scullers School vs Kings School Worcester

Tideway Scullers speed will depend very much on whether they’ve attempted to put out their fastest combination in the quad or the J4+ they’ve also boated. The return of Saskia Budgett from international duty will strengthen their squad although it is important to note that several TSS athletes are doubling up. Nonetheless Tideway Scullers looked good at National Schools, finishing fifth in the final of CHG4x and also winning a bronze medal in CHG2x on the Saturday. Saskia’s preferred discipline is sweep and so I expect to see her in the four- it’ll be interesting to see how TSS go forward with the strong depth of squad they have.

My understanding is that Kings School Worcester are also a WJ17 crew, judging by their 4th place in WJ174x at the Schools Head of the River. Another crew for the future, they raced well at National Schools and will prove difficult for TSS if they race to their potential. They’ve got some good athletes in the ranks, including the impressive duo of Ella Armstrong and Alex Styles. I think these girls will be very good next year, presuming they are a J17 crew, and I look forward to seeing their progress.

I think TSS will be too strong for Kings School Worcester.

Latymer Upper School vs Gloucester Hartpury

A real heavyweight clash in the opening rounds. Latymer aren’t the force they were last year and their only returner from last year’s HRR winning quad, Hester Odgers, doesn’t seem to be competing this year. They finished thjird in their semi-final at National Schools which will have been a huge disappointment to not make the final. However Latymer often peak at Henley and, with that in mind, I feel they’ll be faster at HWR. They’re racing at Reading Amateur against top-end crews in WJ184x so keep an eye out for that result.

Gloucester Hartpury are, for me, the crew to beat. Although they lost out to Marlow at National Schools, they were missing their best athlete and so I expect them to re-announce themselves with a bang. They’ve got a tough first round against very good opposition but I just feel they’ll be too strong. Tom Pattichis is in an enviable position- he has the ability to boat two decent junior quads from his junior women’s squad and the top crew will have their sights set firmly on HRR. Gloucester beat Latymer at the Schools Head of the River and Wallingford Regatta, both of which they won.

Gloucester will see off Latymer- watch the verdict to gauge how fast Gloucester are going now.


Having been drawn into opposite sides of the draw, I think we’re going to see a Marlow-Gloucester Hartpury final. Gloucester arguably have the harder run to the final, with Eton Excelsior and Tideway Scullers standing in their way. In the absence of a Headington crew, this event promises to be a cracking affair and I’ll be watching in anticipation at 4pm on Sunday- I think Gloucester are going to take this but it’ll be incredibly tight.

Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from http://www.britishrowing.org/news/2010/may/4/henley-womens-regatta-update

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