Wallingford Head of the River – J18 4+

J18 4+
Once again there isn’t a huge presence on the coxed four front, with six entries in total, yet there are a few entries from some of the big names in schoolboy rowing. The entries in this event include crews from Radley, St Paul’s, Dulwich, Molesey, Pangbourne and Hinksey Sculling School. Obviously no full crew lists are available for the boats entered, but we can hazard a guess that the crews from Radley and Paul’s aren’t their top crews, as Paul’s have entered two eights into the J18 8+ category, with one of them most likely being the crew that came third at the Head Of The Charles in October, whilst Radley have entered an eight into IM1 (Brocklebank-Fowler) which is their top boat at the moment. However, the crews from Pangbourne and Dulwich are most likely their ‘A’ crews, as these are the only boats entered for Sunday by these two schools. The course at Wallingford is somewhat notorious for being difficult to steer and so the coxes can really play a crucial role in this event. Any crew looking to win on Sunday will need a competent cox, as well as a technically well-knit crew if they are going to cover the 4250 metre course in the fastest time.

Who do I think will be the fastest at the weekend? Well, given that the crews from Radley and St Paul’s aren’t their fastest crews, I think the attention should turn to the likes of Dulwich and Pangbourne and perhaps Molesey and Hinksey. Whilst the rowing powerhouses of St Paul’s and Radley College cannot be ignored, I suspect Pangbourne and Dulwich will be that bit faster. Obviously Molesey is renowned across the senior scene for producing a high number of Olympians, but their junior squad is less established. However, it would be foolish to dismiss Molesey and it must be remembered that Molesey is one of the most successful rowing clubs in the world, and I expect this crew to do well on Sunday, perhaps pushing for a top three finish. To finish above Paul’s would be an impressive feat, but it is completely achievable. To conclude my preview, I predict that either Pangbourne or Dulwich will lay down the fastest time at the weekend. After that it could be any of the remaining four, however as is usually the case, both Paul’s and Radley will settle for nothing less than a top three finish and one of these two will most likely take third on Sunday. Good luck to those racing!

Dr. Oarsome