Thames Valley Trial Head 2015- J/W 18 Preview


Eight entries, which makes this a pretty competitive event. Looking through the entries, a cursory glance would make the Claire’s Court crew favourite for this. However, the boat is registered under a ‘Smith’ which is a name I haven’t seen on any CCS J18 entry forms before. If this crew contains the same four guys who raced to a stunning third place at the Fours Head of the River in November then they’ll be the pace-setters If not, it could be a baptism of fire for some of the younger guys in the squad; CCS have a wonderful depth of talent through all their age ranges so can boat a competitive crew from pretty much any age category.

RGS High Wycombe have been chugging along nicely this season but will be hard pressed to match their form in 2014; they racked up wins at the National Schools’ Regatta and British Championships before qualifying two crews for the Fawley Challenge Cup. Expect a competitive crew from these guys, who lead the J184x out in Division 1.

Wallingford also had a stonker of a J16 quad last season, which finished behind RGS at the National Schools’ Regatta. Dan Wilkinson, a capable sculler in his own right, sits in the bows of their crew on Saturday and I expect a very strong showing from these boys. They’ll be looking for a podium finish.

Reading have undergone a semi-resurgence over the last few months and raced to an impressive ninth place at the Fours Head. Can they cause an upset at Dorney Lake this weekend? I wouldn’t rule it out so watch out for the crew containing Tom Fairclough [Bow 193].

Thames are last to race so will have seen their opposition race through the earlier divisions. Additionally, the Thames boys are racing singles in Division One, which may make a small difference. Nonetheless, I fancy them to be quick enough come Div 3 and they’ll be pushing for a top three finish.



Not a lot of depth but two stand out crews. The Claire’s Court combination, containing GB triallist Jono Cameron, will be a difficult crew to beat. I’ve been a long-standing admirer of their style of sculling, with the sharp catch and minimal back movement. It’s efficient and works for a small crew, with the possible exclusion of Jono. They are my favourites to take the win here.

The Wallingford crew may well be a repeat of the pair that raced so well last season. Wilkinson and Tom Brock were an effective combination last season, taking the win in J182- at Reading Amateur Regatta before teaming up to race in the Fawley Challenge Cup. They’ll be a stiff test for the Claire’s Court boys.



The entries in this event are dominated by a number of ‘local’ clubs but that certainly does not detract from what promises to be a hotly contested category. Leading the scullers out of Division 1 is Oscar Bird, current O2x British Champion alongside Ashley Cowley of Quintin. Oscar has played a big role in the impressive results that the Thames junior squad have amassed over the past season; he’ll be one of the front runners for this event.

Don’t discount the other TRC boys; Huge Storey and Rob Norey are both handy oarsmen.

A name that has been mentioned before is that of Wallingford’s own Dan Wilkinson- he finished third in the J171x time trial at the National Schools’ Regatta last May and is a lad to watch. He’ll be fancying his chances at Dorney and I think his speed and strength will play a part.

The sole representative from RGS High Wycombe is, I believe, James Moran. A self-confessed single sculler, he raced for Marlow in their junior quad last year but may have switched allegiances. Whatever the case, he’s a decent racer and I wouldn’t discount him.



I’ll be bold and say I’ve got a real favourite in mind- but there is another crew that have caught my eye on the entry list. First though, it’s worth pointing out that this is realistically Latymer’s to lose. I don’t want to discount every other crew but the Thames based school are the strongest crew on paper. If the crew races with Georgia Hellard Timm onboard then they’ll be very difficult to stop.

The other entry which really caught my eye was that of Thames Tradesman. These guys are hardly renowned for boating world class junior crews and it’s good to see their junior women’s quad going well. These girls raced to a thirteenth place at the Fours Head so I expect to see them feature highly on Sunday.



Latymer take the favourite tag again, having boated four combinations through the three divisions. The Woolley/Hellard Timm crew looks like a goer and I think they’ll be backed up by at least one other crew from the school. The Lady Eleanor Holles crew looks like it could be strong although I’m unsure about the girls racing; LEH seem to have boated their top girls in fours. Latymer for the win.



A good field of high-end scullers. Zoe Taylor, of Reading Rowing Club, raced at the Coupe De La Jeunesse last year and is also part of the GB Start programme. She’ll be looking to renew acquaintances with Georgia Hellard Timm, who beat her at the November GB Trials by 1.4 seconds over 5k. These two will be the pace setters and I have a sneaky feeling Zoe may come out on top this time. Emelia Cole, of the Weybrisge junior women’s quad, will also be a strong contender. The Surrey based club have a really strong crop of juniors at the moment and I look forward to seeing what they produce in the summer.



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