Marlow Regatta 2014- Preview

Another Marlow regatta rolls around and I’m really looking forward to this event. There’s some very interesting entries into a number of events, particularly the J184x and IM3 8+ School crews. This regatta always provides a great form reference for HRR in a couple of weeks and it’ll be good to see how the top crews have gone about their business since NSR. I’ll go through the events of interest here and detail my winners and members of the A final.

IM1 8+

Some school entries here, including the winners of the Child Beale cup, Pangbourne. It’ll be good to see how Pangbourne compare to the championship crews, such as St Pauls and Radley. Pangbourne name an unchanged crew and are looking strong following their win over Radley at Reading Regatta on Saturday. With that extremely strong combination in the stern four, they look like they could upset a few championship crews in this event, particularly in light of the fact that Radley finaled in CH8+ at NSR. Radley have slightly adjusted their line-up since NSR, with Miles Rowse coming in for Will Tufnell. Miles won a silver medal in the Radley J164- and his addition will certainly have an effect on the eight’s speed; Radley’s J18 8+ beat Canford by two lengths in their semi-final at Reading but obviously lost out to Pangbourne by 1/3 of a length. Hampton have named a changed crew for Marlow too although I’m not sure if this final in terms of how they will race on Saturday; they performed well at National Schools and won’t want to knock the momentum of a bronze medal. These boys are arguably the strongest school crew in this event and will want to show this by putting distance between themselves and the chasing pack; word is that Hampton have gained good speed over the past few weeks so it’ll be interesting to see how they perform in this event. Kings College School actually surprised me at National Schools by making the final and their semi-final duel against Shrewsbury was a real pleasure to watch. They name Ludovic Bonnefous in their crew but, judging by performances earlier in the season, I’m not sure if this is 100% accurate. St Pauls School are a real enigma; their races at National Schools were well off the boil and their top four didn’t even make the final in CH4+, which was a big shock to me. It could be a confidence issue as it is clear from their performances earlier in the season, where they were so utterly dominant through the head season, that they have the ability. I can see them stepping on at Marlow; National Schools will have come as a shock and so I think they’ll be quicker for it. Seb Benzecry is racing in their eight this weekend, having stepped up from the J16 CH8+ that won a silver medal at National Schools. This is a bold move from Bobby Thatcher and I think it’ll pay off.

I won’t predict winners and finalists as this event is filled with senior crews too. However, I expect St Pauls, Pangbourne and Hampton to be the top junior crews.

J184x

35 entries and a pretty good quality of entry too. We’ve got four of the top six from National Schools entered while Borlase chase the Sen 4x and Eli 4x prizes. There are some very interesting entries and I’ll briefly detail the main players.

Northwich

Coached by Jed Barlow and situated on the River Weaver with a 2.5km stretch of river, the lads from Northwich have absolutely blown apart all my expectations for them this season. The re-jig of their line-up following the Scullery, where Leon Langmead was brought in for Tom Asteriades, has worked wonders as these boys have stretched away from the pack of crews below Westminster and Sir William Borlase to join the elite ranks. Going off the splits from National Schools, they were right in the race for gold, missing out by a mere two seconds. These guys could be the dark horses for the Fawley title and certainly line up as favourites on Saturday. However, they were beaten by a slightly adjusted Leander crew at the Metropolitan Regatta in J184x the weekend after National Schools, which was a surprise. I think the lads will recover but watch out for this duel; it provides a fascinating undercurrent to the dynamic of J184x. They are also racing with Tom Asteraides at the weekend as Zak Trigg is out although the latter will be in the crew for Henley.

Leander

Leander have two quads racing in this event although the other boat is entered as Star and Arrow. It’ll be interesting to see which combination they go with as the winning crew from the Met is not the same as the one entered at Marlow; James Lambton Heys is in the bow seat this weekend. Leander’s star man is the huge Harry Leask, a very talented sculler who raced in the Fawley ‘A’ entry from Leander last year. He also picked up a silver medal in CH1x and is the stroke-man for Leander. The intensive nature of the Leander program means they will always produce quality athletes and this is no exception with Oliver Collinson, who has been involved for a number of years now. He raced in the Leander Fawley entry in 2012, which lost out to Melbourne Grammar School on the Wednesday, and his progress has been remarkable to watch. I fancy these guys to push Northwich hard as their result at Met shows a crew in form.

Grange School

The driving force behind this boat are two stalwarts of junior rowing, Scott and Luke Ozsanlav Harris. Their bronze medal in CH2x behind an exceptional Westminster crew displayed their strength and it is fantastic to see Luke back on the sculling scene following his relative sabbatical last year. They’ve really stepped on since the Scullery back in March, where they finished an inconspicuous 10th place. The delivery of a reverse wing Hudson shell will have contributed to this burst in speed but Scott’s continued involvement with the GB trialling system will have helped to build the confidence of the crew. They finished fourth at National Schools but were 10 seconds behind Northwich, a gap they’ll be looking to close at Marlow. Can they challenge the top boys? I don’t think they’ll have enough to beat Northwich but they’ll certainly be in the A final.

Nottingham Rowing Club

It’s happened. At last. Nottingham have fielded a junior quad and this line-up looks incredibly strong. Rowan Law, the stroke of the rumoured JM 4x for the Junior World Championships this year, is sat in the 3 seat of this combination and he’ll be the driving force behind their assault on the top crews. He pulled out of the J171x after sustaining a slight injury and he’ll be looking to make amends with a big performance on Saturday. I’d love Nottingham to enter a quad into the Fawley; they’be had a group of very talented scullers for a while now and they’ve finally put together a combination capable of challenging at the very top. Connor Gamble, finalist in CH1x at National Schools, is also involved with this crew and his invite to GB final trials will have been a real boost; the combination of Law and Gamble proved very fast earlier in the year. Just a quick note on the other crew members- Jack Smith came fourth in J161x GB Trials last year and made the semi-finals of J171x this year so he’s no slouch. Harvey Kay, younger brother of Olivia Kay, came third in his semi-final of J161x at National Schools and raced in a winning Nottingham crew at the Head of the Trent in 2013.  This crew has the potential to go extremely fast- watch out for them.

Rondebosch Rowing Club

My understanding of this crew is that they are a South African school who have come across to race in the Fawley Cup in a few weeks. At the South African Senior Rowing Championships in April, they had an U19 Coxed Quad entered which win gold making them the national champions. It was described as a ‘great display of stamina and speed’ by reports. The ‘coxed quad’ category is one we don’t race in the UK and so my understanding is that this is the same crew that is entered at Marlow on Saturday. Stephen Werge and Nicholas Muller also doubled up to claim bronze in the JM2x category. This double combination appears to be particularly strong, claiming a few high finishes in a number of regatta’s through the year. At the South African Schools Rowing Championships a month earlier, the same crew finished 9th in the country while the U19 quad made the A final, finishing 8th. These boys look like a good crew but their summer is during our winter, a factor which may mean that they peaked a few months ago. Nonetheless, they wouldn’t have made the journey across if they didn’t think they were capable of competing at the top level. It’ll be interesting to see what they’re like- watch out for them.

Windsor Boys ‘B’

A crew that could be a dark horse for this event. Tim Wollen has returned to the line-up following a spell last year where I believed he pursued his cycling ambitions. Following an excellent silver medal in CH2x, the White twins have returned to the quad. WBSBC chose not to enter a CH4x at National Schools and instead focused on the aforementioned double and their J164x, which under-performed and finished last in their semi-final. It is important not to under-estimate the speed of the White twins; they raced Elite doubles at Met Regatta and finished third, a mere 9 seconds behind a very talented, and A finalist Junior World Championship crew from 2013, Sholto Carnegie/Seb Devereux combination from Leander. I think these guys could feature toward the top of the pile as they’ve got a strong line-up and will be looking to make amends for a couple of poor performances during the winter.

I’m looking to produce another preview based around the remaining contenders for spots in the A/B final so look out for that.

My prediction for the A Final- Northwich, Leander, Grange School, Rondebosch RC, Gloucester Hartpury, Windsor Boys B, Nottingham RC

My prediction for the win- Northwich

IM3.8+ School Crews

A splattering of second eight’s and J16 crews in this event as the big boys are mainly competing in IM1 and IM28+. Portora Boat Club are sending their 1st VIII in preparation for Henley I would presume and these boys could actually be the top crew in this event- they’ve won at Athlone Regatta, Queen’s Rowing Races and Skibbereen Regatta this season while losing out narrowly to St Joseph’s at the Dublin Metropolitan Regatta. They’re a strong crew and I expect them to feature highly here. The J16 CH8+ winners, Westminster, are rumoured to be entering the PE and their performance will be interesting to watch; you’d be a fool to write them off as they looked very strong at National Schools. Coach Nick Wilde will be looking to claim a few 2nd VIII scalps while a re-match of their J16 final race against St Paul’s is also on the cards. The IM3 status prevents schools entering their top eights thus this is mainly a race to see who stands a chance of qualifying for the Temple Challenge Cup as a second VIII. Kings College School have entered their top crew to this event so they’ll be strong- watch out for their speed in comparison to Portora who are the closest competitors I can find.

Watch out for the Charlie Thurston/Alex Barakat combination in ELI.2-. Eton are racing smaller boats at Marlow and, having recently taken delivery of the £60000 Hudson shell that was on display at National Schools, this will be their last show before Henley. They’ve got four crews in SEN 2- containing their 8 top rowers so watch out for them; Charlie Thurston is partnering Ludvig Ljungstrom while Alex Barakat races with Francois Gouws.

Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from- http://www.themarlowregatta.com/results/index.php?cagree=1

Pulling

JuniorRowingBlogger
  • scott

    guest when leander had the advantage of lanes on borlase they lost by 4 seconds.

    • guest

      yes in the semi they did, but they’ve made crew changes since then.

  • guest

    Leander have made a crew change since Nat schools and are much faster now, I think Leander will beat Northwich at Marlow, and will be challenging Borlase at Henley.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your feedback. Could you tell me the nature of this crew change?

      JuniorRowing

      • guest

        they’ve brought harry uglow into the boat, even though he got a bronze in the j17 single he didnt race in their quad on the sunday. Plus on the sunday i think the cross wind made the lower numbered lanes more advantageous, hence northwich were so close to borlase, leander in lane 6 had a huge disadvantage. At met, the lanes were fair, and leander beat northwich

  • Ed

    But didn’t westminster enter their top VIII in IM3?

  • scott

    leander got a faster time than borlase at met didn’t they? that has to be close to the fastest none composite junior times i don’t think i have ever seen faster than 6;08 for a club/school crew..

  • mark

    I don’t think rondebosch are a threat.

    Their championship winning time in the 4x+ was 7:07. The difference between a 4+ and a 4- (from NSR) is around 15seconds which gives them a 4x- time of 6:52 which isn’t that quick.

    So unless the South African course is longer than 2k I can’t see them challenging the likes of Northwich, Windsor etc.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your feedback. Although you make a valid point, 6:52 would have placed them fourth in the CH4x final, only 7 seconds behind Borlase.

      JuniorRowing

      • mark

        Or 22 seconds behind Borlase’s time at Met.