Wallingford Regatta 2015 – W.JSchA.8+ Preview

The endless movement of time continues to move on, and the dreary head racing season is but a shadow of our distant memory. This is where the training really begins to show through, where the men and women are separated from the boys and girls: the regatta season!

And what better a way to kick off the multi-lane events, than with a trip to the London Olympic Lake, Eton Dorney, for Wallingford.

Heat A

Six crews in this heat: Hinksey, Pangbourne, LEH, Trent, Marlow and Bedford Modern.

Casting our eyes all the way back to the Schools’ Head, just over a month ago now, I would be inclined to say the LEH looked like the form crew in the race, having come fifth in a very competitive field. However, it would appear that they have decided their first eight is above the rest of the field (I beg to differ) and entered the Elite Challenge eight event. With this in mind, I am willing to bet that this is their J16 eight, whose time would have placed them at twelfth.

Marlow are another crew who, had they entered their top athletes, may well have stood in good stead to do well here. However, they have obviously decided to prioritise their quad, an understandable choice. Which means that again, this is probably their J16 eight. But, let’s not dismiss these J16s quite as readily as we did the last ones, as the time they posted at SHORR would have placed them fourth in the WCH8+ category, dominating their J16 event. This really is very impressive, given they are so young, and, as well as one to watch this year, will be a very form crew in years to come.

Both Pangbourne and Hinksey have been placed pretty firmly in the middle results over the last couple of months, with comfortable placings at SHORR, although Pangbourne are looking like the stronger crew in the build up to this race. Their strength might be hampered by racing at Evesham today (Saturday), but I feel like they will be the next strongest.

Both Trent and Bedford Modern don’t seem to have appeared much on the 8+ radar up until now. Trent did make an appearance at the Head of the Trent, coming third out of six crews in the WJ18 8+ category, about ten seconds behind SWP and Yarm, and BMS did have a WJ16 8+ entered at SHORR, although I can’t be sure if this is the same crew racing tomorrow. Let’s, for the sake of the preview, say that it is the same crew. The time they posted in London would have placed them eleventh, also being narrowly beaten by SWP.

Heat A Predection: 1st Marlow, 2nd LEH, 3rd Pangbourne, 4th Bedford Modern, 5th Hinksey and 6th Trent.

Heat B

Only five crews in this heat: HMSG, SWP, Headington, Godolphin and Latymer and St Edwards. It would seem that Headington have made the same choice as LEH by entering their first crew in to the Elite Challenge cup, although I blame these girls less, given how much they have dominated so far this season.

And for those who don’t already know, being Headington’s second crew will mean nothing when it comes to racing, being better than most first crews they might come up against. You could think of them as the Oxford Brookes of Women ‘s Junior rowing. An example of this would be their sixth place finish at the School’s Head, only one place behind LEH’s first crew!

Sir William Perkins seem to tell much the same story as Pangbourne, good enough to beat the middling crews, but not quite reaching the top. Having said that, I have no doubt that they have the potential to just push themselves over the parapet, as it were.

HMSG, on the other hand, will be very interesting to watch. We already know that they possess a decent four, having won at Hampton Head and placed seventh at School’s Head, but this is their first, that I can find, foray in to an eight this season. The only other competitive crew I can see of theirs is a WJ16 4+ which, while coming fourth in it’s respective category at SHORR, would only have placed seventeenth out of twenty one crews, had they been racing the open event. This is perhaps a crew to keep an eye on, but not to hold your breath for.

St Edwards, while being one of the main competitors amongst the boys side of rowing, seem to hold no interest in their female club members. Either that or they all have such busy schedules, that the only recent result I can find of theirs is an uncontested WJ18 4+ at Wycliffe Head. I can honestly say I don’t know how these girls will do.

Eighteenth out of twenty in the WJ4+, sixth out of ten in the WJ16 8+ and fifteenth out of nineteen in the WJ15 8+, to say Godolphin and Latymer didn’t do terribly well at School’s ahead is an understatement. You may think I’m harsh for saying that, but I’m here to write things how I see them. I have every hope that these girls have made an epic comeback, and go on to win the event as the underdogs, but I’m afraid I can’t see it happening.

Heat B Prediction: 1st Headington, 2nd Sir William Perkins, 3rd HMSG, 4th St Edwards and 5th Godolphin and Latymer.

Final Predictions: 1st Marlow, 2nd LEH, 3rd Headington, 4th Pangbourne, 5th SWP and 6th HMSG.

The Rowing Jesus