Hampton Small Boats Head 2014 – JSch.2- Preview

Against all odds, it looks like Hampton Small Boats Head will be running tomorrow, and while often it is one of the largest schoolboy races of the pre-Christmas season, this year the pairs entries look to be a little thin; however, there should be some close racing at the top end.

It is worth noting that at present the draw does not contain the name of the bowman of any pair, so my preview can only speculate on the identity of the second rower in every boat – apologies if I get it wrong.

 

At the front of the pack here should be the Tideway pair of Ben Brophy and (likely) Ollie Jonas. These boys not only have good experience together, but are talented oarsmen in their own right – both have represented Great Britain, with Ollie rowing in the pair with Arthur Doyle at the 2014 Junior World Championships, and Ben Brophy in the coxless four at the Coupe de la Jeunesse. They finished credibly if not perhaps underwhelmingly at Pairs Head, finishing ninth; although a result so early in the season shouldn’t reflect current form. More recently, Jonas and Brophy teamed up with another Tideway pair of Sirmon and Rodd for the Four’s Head; they finished a strong second place in the Junior Coxed Fours, and were the second fastest Junior four out of both J4+ and IM2+, beating some big names in the process – the Radley four containing Charlie Elwes that placed third at the Head of the Charles was a sizable 11 seconds off the Tideway boat. Most recently, Brophy raced at GB Junior Trials in Boston, finishing strongly – 29th place. If these boys have a good row, then this race should be theirs.

However, Latymer will have something to say about this. In small boats, Latymer has been performing admirably this year. I imagine that the pairs will remain the same as at Pairs Head and GB Trials, so that’s Yates/Parkinson and Freeman/Nixon. Both these pairs performed very well at Pairs Head, with Yates and Parkinson placing 3rd and Freeman and Nixon following closely in 6th. They took this strong form into Fours Head, where the IM2+ four of Freeman, Yates, Parkinson and Holmes placed first of the Junior fours racing in the IM2+ category, and the third fastest overall Junior four. Most recently, Yates and Parkinson raced at the GB trial in Boston in the pair, finishing strongly in 7th. Yates and Parkinson are likely to be, then, the faster of the two pairs – however, Orlando Nixon currently holds the best ergo score out of all the Latymer rowers (in the GB trial system), but he did not row at the early ID trials; it is therefore hard to judge the speed of his pair relative to Parkinson/Yates. However, from past results I will assert that Yates and Parkinson will lead the charge from Latymer.

Hampton’s pairs seem to me a bit of an enigma, as most of the bowmen appear relatively obscure compared to some of the top-end Hampton rowers, and Hampton haven’t really entered many large heads in small boats; it is difficult then to base my predictions on anything except positions from last year. Reece’s pair appears to be the one to watch; Reece rowed in Hampton’s strong second eight last year, finishing fourth at National Schools. Rhodes also rowed in Hampton’s second eight last year, and so potentially could rival Reece’s pair. Aside from this, I can see little reason to assume Hampton will produce a pair that could win this competition.

Canford’s ‘Sheikalian’ pair may well be one to watch, purely as I believe this might by a Sheikalian/Naylor pairing. Jonny Naylor is a great oarsman, rowing in the Coupe de la Jeunesse 8+ last Summer; he recently put in a strong showing at GB Trials, placing 17th. If my speculation is correct, then this will be a strong pair. Both of these boys raced in the Canford first eight last year, and could be on for a top three finish.

While I fully expect to be taken by surprise by a pair I’ve left unmentioned, I’m going to go with a 1) Tideway Sculler’s School, 2) Latymer (Parkinson), 3) Canford (Sheikalian)

Good luck to all crews!

Five Man 

 

 

Five Man