Wallingford Regatta 2015- J16 Eights Preview

As the first taste of multi-lane racing for most crews this season, this is always an interesting event, as it is where some crews emerge from the bottom half of the Schools’ Head pack as medal competitors. There’s also usually some great weather and fast times to contrast the windy Nottingham to which most of these crews will be headed in a few weeks.

Winchester College

Despite being pushed to third place by St Paul’s School at Schools’ Head, I have full faith these boys will pull through for another victory here this year. They’ve already entered the regatta season on a high with a win at the Junior Inter-regional Regatta, a full 8 seconds ahead of Norwich School (silver medalists), with a strong headwind. It may be a close race, but these boys are the most well equipped to take the win.

St Paul’s School

I don’t like to apply this principle, but it is well known that St Paul’s tend to perform relatively poorly in regatta season compared to head race. This crew was no exception last year, winning the J15 event at Schools’ Head and then disappointingly missing out on a medal at National Schools’ Regatta. I was surprised at their second place at Schools’ Head this year, and while slow to start this season, I think this is one of the two crews to come close Winchester at Dorney.

Hampton School
One may argue that this crew is doomed to sit at third and fourth places in every major race. Indeed, between their two Schools’ Head races and one National Schools’ (along with Wallingford), they have exclusively achieved these placings. However, their consistently fast times over the last couple of years bode well for them, and I think this regatta more than any other is their chance to break into the top two placings, provided St Paul’s follow their pattern of inconsistency.

SASRU

This is by far the most intriguing and unpredictable entry here. Despite trudging through many a social-media profile and websites, I have failed to build up a comprehensive picture of how fast this crew will be. Judging by the distance they are travelling, and the fact that this is the J16 development squad for South Africa Rowing, I would take this crew seriously. While they may not have the power to take on crews like Winchester, the second and third placings aren’t an unlikely spot for them. Who knows; they could come out with the trophy.

Shiplake College

Following my special mention for these boys regarding their entry to Championship Eights at SHORR, they didn’t disappoint. Although there was a fairly significant margin between them and the fourth placed crew back on the Tideway, I viewed this as a pretty good result on their part. While the top three positions are probably reserved for the previously mentioned crews, making the final here is certainly in their grasp; quite a step up from winning J15B 8+ last year at this event.

The other crews with potential to make the final are Dulwich College, who have performed well this season, tailing just behind St Paul’s for the Tideway heads leading up to SHORR; and Shrewsbury School, who despite not making the A final at the Junior Inter-regional Regatta last week (due to technical difficulties) performed well in regatta season last year to finish 5th at NSR.

HighTide