The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup 2014- Draw and Reaction

An interesting selection of crews in this event, with five British crews warranting the honour in the steward’s eyes. I have to admit, I’m a little surprised Montclair and Shawnigan deserved a selection after their relatively modest performances at their respective National Championships but the steward’s are obviously looking to keep the majority of foreign entrants apart.

The top half of the draw looks to be the harder in terms of selected crews; the top two from the National Schools Regatta, Eton and Abingdon, could be a potential match-up on the Saturday. The winners of the Child Beale Cup, Pangbourne College, are right at the top while Monmouth, winners of Championship Coxed Fours at National Schools, are racing Emanuel School on the Wednesday. However, the bottom half arguably has the better quality of crew throughout. The German crew are present along with non selected St Paul’s School, Shrewsbury School, The King’s School Chester and King’s College School, Wimbledon. Counting up the numbers, the bottom half of the draw has 7 of the Championship Eight crews from National Schools while the top half has 2.

I’m not going to go through every single race but I’ll highlight a few that look like they could be good first day match-ups.

Pangbourne School vs Reading Blue Coat School

Two Child Beale crews although Pangbourne are arguably Championship standard after their recent performances. Over the shorter Reading course, Pangbourne saw off RBCS by just over a length so we could be in for a pretty decent race. It is the first race of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup 2014 and I actually think it’ll be a good one. Pangbourne have the better athletes, with that incredibly talented stern four who won gold in Championship Coxless Fours at National Schools. However, RBCS have Alex Gass, a GB junior cox, to take them down the course. I think Pangbourne will take it but not by too much.

Canford School vs Eton College

These two raced each other in 2011 on the Thursday and this one always seems to be a decent race. Canford are notorious for their sprint to the line although they’ll have to stay in contact with a very powerful Eton unit to make the most of that weapon. According to many rowers and enthusiasts, Eton are slight favourites for the PE this year despite Abingdon’s victory at the National Schools Regatta a month ago. Eton raced a number of pairs at Marlow Regatta, with the Barakat/Thurston combination finishing 2nd in Elite Pairs behind a very talented Quintin crew comprising former Henley winners. We get our first look at the Eton crew in this race and any early indications about their form. Eton will win this one but Canford are no pushovers [Winners of 1st Eight’s at the Schools Head of the River and third place in the Child Beale at National Schools]

Sir William Borlase School vs Abingdon

I’m not highlighting this because I think it will be close as it is highly unlikely that the Championship Eight winners are going to be particularly troubled by a crew that didn’t make the final of J16 Championship Eights. Granted, Borlase have obviously got a lot quicker over the past few weeks as they were only a few seconds behind Westminster at Marlow Regatta but they won’t be an issue for Abingdon. I’m highlighting this because I never thought I’d see SWB vs Abingdon in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge cup! Borlase have done exceptionally well to make it into the competition let alone pre-qualify and their efforts, as a J16 crew, should be applauded. Nonetheless, I feel that their journey will end when they meet the might of Abingdon.

Hampton vs Shiplake

Bronze medallists of Champ Eights against the silver medallist of the Child Beale. Another race which promises speed and excitement and I think Shiplake will fancy their chances. Hampton have dramatically improved over the last few weeks and opted not to race their 1st VIII at Marlow Regatta, which can only mean they were training for HRR. Shiplake have an exceptional four onboard, who won silver in the Championship Coxed Four at National Schools. Although Hampton will obviously start as favourites, the verdict for this race probably won’t be much more than 2 lengths.

Latymer Upper School vs The King’s School Chester

Another decent first day race, with two crews that looked pretty well matched through the winter. KCH have stretched away from Latymer, just missing out on the Championship Eights final while Latymer, who opted to race down a category, just missed out on a medal in First Eights. Both crews have talented athletes and good coaches, with the stand out being KCH’s four that won silver in Championship Coxless Fours. I think the King’s School Chester will take this race.

St Edward’s School vs St Paul’s School

This is arguably the race of the day in this competition. A real cracker between the 1st and 2nd placed crews from the School’s Head of the River. Admittedly, roles have reversed somewhat since March but these are still two top-end junior crews with a lot of potential. St Paul’s have changed things up in their eight, bringing their strongest man from the silver medal winning J16 Championship Eight into the First VIII for Marlow Regatta. St Edward’s have struggled with an injury to their charismatic stroke-man, Ollie Knight, hindering preparations for Henley. Word is that he is back in action now. I’d be surprised if St Edward’s didn’t still take the win but this has all the makings of a ‘Wednesday blockbuster’.

There’s my mini-preview of the Princess Elizabeth Wednesday round. I’ll try my best to keep things rolling on my blog during Henley.

This photo was taken from-


I am the editor of a rapidly growing blog based around the junior rowing circuit within the UK. From launch in June 2013, the website has experienced vast growth in both its reader count and view count while the article range has expanded. I currently work with a team of 10 people, all of whom voluntarily write articles for the blog. In our first year, I looked to expand from the standard previews and reviews that had gained initial success to building relationships with clubs and conducting interviews. This move proved successful and we are currently exploring new routes to further improve our platform. The blog has led to involvement with Regatta Radio, Rowing & Regatta, Row 360 and British Rowing.