Hampton Small Boats Head 2014- J.Sch 1x Preview

The flagship category, and an event with an impressive standard of competition. While Sam Meijer tears up the Tideway, the Sir William Borlase boys are out in force while we also have season sculling debuts from a number of other junior international athletes. Although the event is currently under jeopardy as a result of red boards on the Hampton stretch, the draw still shows that the event will be cracking if it goes ahead. Onto the preview…

Looking through the entries, it is hard to discount the presence of Sir William Borlase. In the first division, their top three athletes are involved with Chris Lawrie leading the scullers out. Having come second on Sunday, Chris is the strong favourite to take the win here. He finished third in this event last year behind two very talented scullers so he’ll be gunning for victory. Close behind him will be Fraser Russell, who is a fellow Junior World Championships athlete. Fraser missed the GB Early ID Trial on Sunday through illness so it remains to be seen as to whether he races on Saturday. Fraser won the J171x at Hampton SBH last year and was the stroke of the SWB quad which won at the Fours Head a few weeks ago. Staying with the Borlase theme, Saturday will also mark an appearance from Rufus Biggs who, like Fraser, missed the Early ID Trial through illness. With a very strong ergo, it’ll be interesting to see what he can achieve this season. Don’t be surprised to see a Borlase 1-2-3 on Saturday although there are a few other scullers who’ll have something to say about that. Ollie Jonas, of Tideway Scullers School, will be chasing down Chris and I’ve been a big admirer of Ollie’s sculling; he seems to switch effortlessly between national sculling finals and racing a pair at the Junior World Championships. I’ve got no doubt that he will be looking to lay down a big marker on Saturday. Henry Smith, of Windsor Boys School, was part of the great surprise package of last season. He raced in the Windsor Boys School quad which made the final of the Fawley Cup to pretty much the entirety of the rowing world’s surprise. He leads out the Division 2 set of JSch 1x. I can imagine that Leon Langmead will be out for revenge after his quad crashed out to the Windsor Boys on the Thursdat of Henley last year. He finished 28th at the Early ID Trials on Sunday, perhaps suggesting that he is best utilised in a crew boat. Watch out for Seb Matthews from Norwich; he made the final of J171x at the National Schools, finishing fourth. He’s the favourite for the doubles category so it’ll be interesting to see what he can produce on his own. Ben Gray, who has recently moved to Marlow, is another strong sculler who often races well through the winter. He finished an impressive 20th on Sunday and I think he’ll be pushing the likes of Ollie Jonas. The guys from Claire’s Court are always handy scullers and that’s a great reflection on the coaching staff there; they have quite a unique technique on the junior circuit and it is this that often leads to their strong performances. However, their strongest sculler is racing in J17 1x so I don’t think they’ll challenge in JSch 1x.

Chris Lawrie for the win.

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.