Hammersmith Head 2015- Other Crews

In response to popular demand, I’m going to put together a quick preview on the junior crews who have opted to race in senior categories.

Westminster [ELI 8+]

The junior crew of the moment. Whatever some may about their form on social forums, their race at the Hampton Head was a real signal of intent; they decimated a strong field in a display of power and precision. Having watched a Westminster contingent race to some impressive results at the February GB Trials, I fancy these boys to be the fastest junior crew of the day. On their home stretch in their new carbonised empacher, it’ll take a real effort to halt the pink army in its tracks. Can they win at the SHORR? A question for another day…

St Paul’s School [SEN 8+]

St Paul’s are renowned for their speed through the winter and they’ve been true to form in 2015, performing well at the Quintin Head. David Ambler and Freddie Davidson also combined to win the pairs event on the Saturday of GB Trials. TalkRowing appears to be making something of a comeback and, as ever, certain crews have come up for criticism, with St Paul’s among them. The Thames based school are one of the front-runners for the top prize at the SHORR and they should be congratulated for that; Bobby Thatcher clearly produces top class boat movers, demonstrated by their small boat results from the Fours Head and the GB Trials. A quick integration of the J16 eight from last year has been key to their success so far and I expect this to continue on Sunday.

Abingdon School [IM1 8+]

Abingdon haven’t really shown their true speed yet; Tom Digby has been sending shock-waves through the rowing world with his ergo exploits but Ali Brown hasn’t boated his fastest crew as of yet. Abingdon haven’t suffered from the same disruptions to their training schedule this year so I expect them to be breathing down the necks of St Paul’s and Westminster. I’m not sure how much power they’ve got in the squad this year- the ergo performances were strong as usual but I don’t think they’ll have the same horsepower as last year. Ali has brought a new approach and a new style of rowing to the Oxfordshire school and I’m looking forward to seeing them in action on Sunday.

Eton College A & B [IM2 8+]

My understanding is that these are both matched eights, in a final stage of selection for the SHORR. Many top coaches prefer to select their crew as close as possible to the event to avoid ‘over-training’ so this could be a similar ploy from Henshilwood. I expect both crews to be pushing the top end of IM2; Eton’s squad is pretty good this year, with some decent results from GB trials to substantiate this. An Eton College crew also finished as the second fastest junior crew of the day at the Quintin Head in January. Can they challenge the likes of Westminster on their home stretch? Highly unlikely, and I think they’ll still be trailing come SHORR. Going off last years evidence, Eton look to peak at HRR so I’m not expecting blistering things from them in the middle of March.

Royal Shrewsbury School [IM2 8+]

Another school which appear to have taken a lot of stick on rowing forums- I personally find this most bemusing considering Shrewsbury have barely raced all year. That said, I’ll be interested to see what they produce on Sunday; most crews seem to be treating this as a dress rehearsal for the SHORR and RSSBC are among esteemed company. This is Athol Hundermark’s third season up north and he’ll be looking for an improvement on last year’s results- a final at the National Schools’ Regatta would be a great achievement. Hundermark has got the coaching skill and infrastructure but it remains to be seen as to whether or not he has the squad to produce a fast crew.

Shiplake College [IM2 8+]

Now under the stewardship of a certain Dave Currie, these boys may be eyeing a step up to championship playing fields this year. That said, they lost a number of their top oarsman over the summer including the majority of that silver medal winning four from the National Schools’ Regatta. IM2 is a pretty stacked event on Sunday and Shiplake will do well to make the top five. A Shiplake crew finished sixth in J18 8+ at the Quintin Head but this outfit was beaten by another Shiplake crew entered into IM3- matched eights was the scent I got from these results. Again, it’ll be good to see how these boys are shaping up with the SHORR just over two weeks away.

St Edward’s School [IM3 8+]

Teddies have entered two crews, of which the J18 boat was covered in our other preview. I’m not sure which event will hold the first crew, if either, but I think the A ranked crew will be quick. Although St Edward’s have lost the remarkable talents of Oli Knight to Newcastle University, they’ve held on to the majority of the PE finalist eight from last year, including world silver medallist cox Hugo Marsh. In addition, Jonny Singfield has added a few new recruits to his line-up including David Wilcox, formerly of Wallingford RC. I wrote Teddies off this time last year but I won’t be making the same mistake again- these boys are gritty racers and will be fast in the summer. I don’t think they’ll quite have the required speed at this stage of the season but keep an eye on them and their quest to go one better in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.

That’s all I have time for. Good luck to all competitors!

 

 

JuniorRowingBlogger

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.