Henley Women’s Regatta 2014- Junior Doubles

Here, I will briefly detail the main players for this event.

Bewl Bridge

A crew that raced well at National Schools, finishing 7th in their time trial and they were subsequently drawn into a tough semi-final, finishing a creditable third. They were pretty close behind a strong Eton Excelsior crew and I expect these girls to be strong next weekend. Their race with Mossbourne, who were 13th in the National Schools time trial, promises to be a good one and I expect Georgie Grant and Grace MacDonald to take it. Georgie Grant is only J16 and represented the Thames South East Region in WJ161x at the recent Junior Inter-Regional Regatta, winning a promising bronze medal. She also was the fastest qualifier in WJ161x at National Schools but struggled in the final, finishing 6th. She’s definitely a name for the future and I expect these girls to present the greatest challenge to the Bedford Girls School crew on this side of the draw.

Bedford Girls School

Probably my favourites to take the win in the absence of Marlow. Robyn Armstrong and Lottie Bruce have  been a formidable combination for quite a few years now, with their domination at J16 level of particular note. Their performance at National Schools was very impressive, particularly in light of the fact that Robyn only returned to competitive racing a few months ago. She won her event at Star Regatta last weekend in commanding fashion while Lottie stepped into the bow seat of the BGS quad [three of the four who contest the four] to take the WJ18 title ahead of local rivals, Star Club. This won’t be easy for them although they appear to have the easier side of the draw; Kingston GS, Wallingford and Latymer are all on the other side. Their first round competitors, Molesey, may actually be their sternest test on the way to the final, especially if the talented Susannah Lowe is racing. I think these girls will take the prize though.

Kingston Grammar School

This is a very quick combination made up of two of the girls who raced a second placed 4+ at the Schools Head of the River. Both of these girls have raced at international level before and they won a superb bronze medal in CHG2x at National Schools a few weeks ago, finishing close behind BGS. They will be the main competitors for the top prize with BGS and I fancy them to have stepped on over the last few weeks; their main focus is the double. They race Ardingly in the first round, whom they beat by 10 seconds in the National Schools time trail. I think they’ll progress although they have a tough draw going forward.

Wallingford Rowing Club

A crew containing Alice Walker, formerly of the Wallingford WJ164x that was so dominant two years ago. Her new sculling partner, Katie Metalli, is relatively new to the junior sculling scene but these girls have really flourished this year, turning out good performances at Wallingford Regatta and National Schools. They made the final at NSR and put in a storming performance in the final to finish fourth; I’m a big fan of their style of sculling and I look forward to seeing what they can do over the shorter HWR course [1500m]. Their main rivals in their half of the draw are KGS and I fancy a semi-final between these girls may be on the cards. Wallingford’s first round competition, Latymer, will be a tough test for them although this depends upon the quality of the Latymer double. I would presume it was two of the girls who didn’t make the top Latymer WJ4x and these girls won’t be slow; they had 8 strong athletes on camp in Banyoles so expect them to be a challenge. Wallingford to progress though.

Some other crews of note include the clash between Kings School Worcester and St Peter’s. These girls finished a mere 0.6 seconds apart in the National Schools time trial and this promises to be a cracking race. Kings School Worcester may be doubling up though and this will affect their speed. Molesey, who have had Susannah Lowe representing them well this season, are trying their hand at the double but they’ve been handed a tough draw with BGS in the first round. Watch out for the American School/Kings School Ely composite; this could be made up of Phoebe Bradbury and Katie Dillon, who both just qualified for CHG1x at National Schools. They’ll undoubtedly be quick if they come together although I doubt they’ll have enough fire-power to win the event. The Royal Shrewsbury School crew could be quick although it will depend on whether or not Laetitia Tay is racing; she’s racing the single too and this may be her priority boat, particularly after her strong performance in WJ171x at National Schools. Nonetheless, a Claudia Kimpton Smith/Laetitia Tay combination has the potential to go pretty quick.

I think it’ll be between Bedford Girls School, Kingston Grammar School and Wallingford Rowing Club. Judging by previous form and potential, I think BGS will take this.

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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