Henley Long Distance Sculls 2014- Junior Men and Women 16 Preview

As the younger rowers take to the Henley Sculls course this weekend, the thought may pass their mind that they might be rowing down the same stretch of river perhaps this summer, perhaps the summer afterwards, as part of the unparalleled Henley Royal Regatta. Nonetheless, the racing will be tough and this thought should only serve as extra motivation as they strive to travel quicker than their competitors.

 

J162x

 

This event promises to be highly competitive; although there are only six crews involved, the entries look to be well matched. Three crews are entered from Winchester, one of which- I believe- contains a formidable member in the form of Hugo Durward, who made the 2k rate 24 ergo cut for GB junior trials.

Looking to challenge these crews will be two relatively evenly matched crews, who both competed at the Pairs Head, undoubtedly learning a lot from the experience: Ross and AB Severn finished 10th and 12th respectively at the Pairs Head, the latter crew being J15s and racing well considering the age gap.

Finally, the crew from Marlow will probably put out a good showing; Marlow have a strong J16 squad, with three members making the 2k rate 24 cut for the GB junior trials. However, it is unclear whether this crew contains one of these trialists, so there is no guarantee of speed.

There are too many unknown quantities to make a call for the winner of this category, but I imagine that it will be close.

 

J161x

 

With 30 entries, this category is brimming with talent and promises to be an exciting one to follow. Some of those from Winchester who are racing in doubles in the first division are also competing in this category, including the aforementioned trialist, Durward.

Also entering a large contingent is Marlow, who have put forward all three of the GB trialists that they have in the form of Cooper, Long and Simon. The latter appears to be the strongest of the three both on the ergo and in the water, having won at Marlow LDS by a comfortable margin; I would suggest that he is a serious contender for the pendant this weekend.

The Abingdon RC sculler of Sudlow also performed well at Marlow LDS, coming 4th, so he should not be discounted from the competition this weekend.

The scullers from the Ross double mentioned earlier are also competing in this event and may prove their mettle in their solo efforts.

Claires Court have entered multiple crews and, judging by the performance of their senior squad last season, may be fast.

Likewise, the two contenders from Henley, who will be racing on home water and should use this to their advantage.

Finally, I expect that the Weybridge’s Cook will prove quite quick, as he was half of the crew that powered to 4th in the J162x event at the Pairs Head.

 

WJ16 2x

 

Firstly, we have the undisputed champions of the WJ15 scene last season: Henley RC. If there was any doubt at the start of the season as to whether they could carry their outstanding rate of success coming into their J16 year, there isn’t any more. The squad has had a series of early victories across a variety of boat classes, most notably (and impressively) a win in WJ4x- and a second place in WJ4+ at Fours Head a couple of weeks ago. I believe the crew featuring the personnel from this quad is under the name HEN-Kay. This double looked strong racing at Upper Thames Autumn Head a few weeks ago and came a close second to their own top double, leaving the closest opposition almost a minute and a half behind. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that this crew will be competitive for the top spot.

I have less information on the other Henley RC crew, and as far as I can tell, the members of the crew under HEN-Stimpson were not involved in Fours Head. That said, with this club’s depth of squad, expect a high placing from this crew.

Nottingham RC will also be putting out their strong combination of Charlotte Brown and Priya Jenkins, the only crew who I think stand a chance of competing with Henley for the win here. This crew came out of last season with a bronze medal in J15G 2x, and have continued to be competitive with the top doubles in the country with a notable 4th place of 26 in WJ16 2x at Pairs Head in October. With a set of results like these and a lot of power in the tank, this double seems well equipped to face up to Henley, and I’d expect no less than a top three placing for this crew.

Ross RC’s double achieved a respectable 14th of 26 at Pairs Head, although they may have been affected by the rough conditions on the tideway. They should lead the rest of the category, although they may be contested by Stourport, the recent winners of the same category at Worcester Small Boats’ Head.

 

WJ16 1x

 

This is an absolutely huge category and the depth of competition is outstanding. I’ll try to cover as many of these scullers as possible, but forgive me if I miss out a couple of names.

I’m going to start off with Headington School. While there is no sign of Danielle Semple, winner of J15G1x at NSR last season and competitor in the school’s GB vs. France quad, her crew-mate Rosanna Little is competing. She looks to be the sculler to beat, having won this event at Reading Small Boats Head. However, chasing her will be Issy Rundle and Tilly Burn, who competed at the same race in different categories, and had times which would have given them a 2nd and 3rd place respectively (in WJ16). Little and Rundle also competed with Katie King-Smith in J15G4x+1 at NSR last season, and beat Henley RC to the line in the final by inches in one of the closest J15 races of the regatta. I would expect Little to be pushing for first place, and the other two girls to follow up with high placings. King-Smith has not competed in a scull yet this year, but she should be close to Rundle and Burn.

Next up is Henley RC. I have already expressed how in awe of their J16 squad I am, and their ability to consistently produce event winning crews. I would expect the fastest girls here to be those involved in the spectacular WJ4x- winning quad at Fours Head earlier this month. Florence Wiggins, Clare Pearson, Lauren Kay and Ella Morgan have already demonstrated their sculling proficiency, and Kay achieved a 5th of 10 in WIM3 1x at Wallingford LDS (with a time that would have placed her 3rd in WJ16 1x). These four scullers will be challenging rivals Headington for first place.

Latymer Upper School have five entries for this event, the most notable of these being Sophie Holmes and Jess McGrath, having achieved an impressive 5th of 26 at Pairs Head. These two should be fast, although glimpsing them training on the Tideway this afternoon, I can’t see either of them having the pace or racing experience in a scull to match the faster Henley and Headington girls. Holmes and McGrath should place within the top 10, but I doubt they will make a splash in the top 5.

The other scullers I can see challenging for the top 15 places in the vast category include Zoe Adamson of St Neots Rowing Club who won WJ16 1x at St Neots Small Boats Head in a similarly competetive category, and Lucy Holgate of Trent RC who had a place in the final of J15G 1x last season.

KingCrab
  • RowingChum

    Is there going to be a review of this race?