Hampton Small Boats Head 2014- J16.1x and WJ16.1x Preview

A junior-exclusive headrace naturally attracts many junior entries, leading to a positive level of competition; Hampton Small Boats Head is the last ‘big’ event before Christmas, so all those involved will be keen to show that the long hours of training they have carried out so far have been worth every second. All references to positions in pervious competitions are in the event that the rowers will be competing in this weekend unless otherwise specified.



This event has a startling number of entries- 62 in total- so unfortunately I cannot make a comment on every competitor. Instead, I will pick up on those who I think will be challenging for the top five places.

Firstly, there are two promising entries from Maidenhead: Sneller and O’Mahony came 4th and 5th respectively in Wallingford LDS earlier this season and both also performed well at Marlow LDS, coming 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Next, I expect that the winner of Wallingford LDS, Lea’s Duncalf will acquit himself well. Duncalf also won this event at Docklands Small Boats Head and so will be looking for a good result in this competition to build on the success that he has already enjoyed so far this season.

Tideway Scullers’ Jonas came 3rd in J15.1x at this competition last year and will be looking to improve on that this time round. Jonas just missed out on going to the GB Junior trials in Boston last weekend, pulling a 2k r24 about 1s over the cut-off point; he is strong for his age and should not be underestimated.

Harris, from Claires Court School, sculled to a 4th place at Henley LDS, performing well in a competitive field and so I expect that he will also be vying for a top 5 finish, something well within his grasp.

Northwich’s Murphy won on home water at Northwich Autumn Head a fortnight ago, posting quite a quick time in the process and so I expect that he too will be one to watch.

Finally, three entries from Marlow look to be in contention for a good result. Simon, Long and Cooper all sculled at the GB Junior trials last weekend, where they will have gained invaluable experience. Cooper and Long came 64th and 68th at the GB trials in singles, a commendable performance on what was a very dismal day. Simon came in 12th, which is very impressive for his age; he clearly has a very bright future in the sport. Simon has also won at Marlow and Henley LDS this season and so he is my favourite to win this event on Saturday.

Good luck to all those competing this weekend, lets hope that the river conditions don’t lead to the race being cancelled as this category has the potential to be a cracker to follow.



With 83 entries, this category is even larger than the boys’ equivalent and so the level of competition is going to be very high.

The Maidenhead entries look promising: Bird placed 3rd at Wallingford LDS and is part of the GB trials process; she performed well at the recent water assessment, coming 54th. Woffinden was her partner at the Pairs head, where they came second, so I expect she too will be strong. Holgate also is worth considering; she sculled to a 6th place at Wallingford.

Coincidentally, there is an entry from Trent who also has the surname Holgate and seems to be competitive as well. This Holgate came 6th in J15G1x at Nat Schools in the summer and more recently came 7th at Henley LDS.

LLandaff’s Palmer came 4th in the same event at Nat Schools and so is worth keeping an eye on too.

Latymer Upper School have entered lots of boats in this category. Holmes and McGrath came 5th together in the Pairs Head and the latter came 10th in Henley LDS in the single. Their best entry is probably Sweeting though, who just beat McGrath at Henley, coming 9th.

Marlow’s Morton-Woodruff looks to be this club’s best entry, coming 2nd on home water at Marlow LDS.

Lady Eleanor Holles School also look to have entered numerous girls, those most notable being Reddish, George and Cole, who came 10th, 9th and 2nd respectively in this event at Wallingford LDS.

The best challenge for the pennant this weekend though will, I believe, come from Lea’s Downey, who won at Wallingford. Lea’s Moody also acquitted herself well at Wallingford, coming 7th.

Again, good luck to all those competing, and may the racing live up to the exciting spectacle it promises to be!