St Neots Small Boats Head 2014- The Preview

Just a short preview for this event as I’m a little stripped for time at the moment. However we have some very good clashes lined up, with the switching of allegiances being the primary theme for this provincial battleground. We get our first look at Bedford Modern School under ex Star Head Coach Mark Bavington along with a glimpse at how the hosts St Neots are faring without Andy Taylor. The preview…


A relatively obvious favourite for this one, with the return of the Mitchell/Davies combination from St Neots. These boys had a cracking year in the double last season, culminating in a bronze medal at the British Championships racing up a year. They lost out at this event last year to a lethal combination from Norwich but, with only three entries this year, they are my stand-out favourite. For me, these two are one of the great enigma’s on the circuit; they aren’t especially fast in single sculls and nor are they powerhouses on the ergo [no disrespect intended] but if you stick them together they’re one of the quickest doubles around. Watch out for them in Division 1. Facing up to them is the Sangster crew from Star; Darran Sangster raced in the Fawley ‘A’ quad from Star last year and is a very capable sculler. It’ll be interesting to see who he is paired with as he is the only returner from that quad. However, I’d also like to direct your attention to the IM3 2x under the name of Evans. Rob Evans stroked the Bedford School First VIII last year and has moved across to Star so I expect good speed from both of these crews. The last entry in the J182x is Bridgman from the King’s School Ely. Following the departure of Toby Rudkin, it’ll be good to see King’s School Ely, who have had a pretty successful junior women’s squad, move on up the rankings. St Neots for the win.


A decent entry number and this category is perhaps a good omen; the winner of J181x at St Neots SBH 2013 went on to win a silver medal at the Junior World Championships. There is a relatively clear favourite for this event too but, this season, he will be racing under a different banner. Will White, who raced for Great Britain at the Coupe De La Jeunesse, is taking to the water as the head of a fleet of Bedford Modern School scullers and I fancy him to take this. He’s got a long and successful history in the single scull and, under the continued guidance of Mark Bavington, he’ll be looking to extend his ability to sweep oar. However Guy Woolford and Ollie Clarke, who both raced in the BMS First VIII last year and attended November GB Trials, will prove strong opposition for White. Mitchell and Davies are also racing in later divisions but I still fancy Bedford Modern to take home the prize, presuming White can avoid another confrontation with any low hanging trees.


Another strong entry list with the alluring promise of local derbies. Star look the favourite on paper with a few returners from their HWR quad. Ellie Feltham has stroked the top Star women’s junior crew for the last two years and is a very efficient sculler but it will be interesting to see who she is paired with. The arrival of  Voirrey Taylor will make them a squad to watch. St Neots have entered two crews under the names of Adamson and Harper. Both Molly Harper and Zoe Adamson raced in the WJ154X+  along with Taylor, achieving good results throughout the year and striking up a good rivalry with Star’s own WJ154X+. King’s School Ely have entered a crew and they will likely be strong based on past results while Newark have entered a crew to build on the success they achieved at the St Neots regatta in July. It’ll be close but I fancy Star to take this.


Once again, I think we have a relatively clear favourite in Robyn Armstrong. The sculler from the Bedford Girl’s School is a wonderful product of the system Jacqui Round has developed and, despite an injury she sustained around two years ago, she’s a fantastically gifted oarswoman and is the reigning Junior Double scull champion at Henley Women’s Regatta. Her partner in crime, Lottie Bruce, has moved on but it’ll be good to see Robyn utilised in an eight this season. Nonetheless, she’ll start as favourite but that never means anything is certain. The girls from Star are out in force, with a debut from Voirrey Taylor scheduled. Taylor is a technically sound sculler and will provide good competition for the girls around her, all of whom are seasoned at racing WJ18. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top in this mini-duel. To add to the party, Hayley Geary from Bedford Modern is competing and she’s always produced good results at local level. Armstrong for the win.


That’s all I’ve got time for. I may add to the preview so check back!

Good luck to all competitors!

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.