National Schools’ Regatta 2015 – Championship Doubles Preview

The organisation of the race timetable gives opportunity for those who raced the CH4x and J17 sculling events on the Saturday to split between this event, and the single scull equivalent. There a few standout crews here, but with an incredibly tightly packed middle ranking.

Sir William Borlase’s School (Lawrie and Russell)

A very solid season so far for Borlase has seen them take wins at the Fours’ Head, Schools’ Head and Wallingford, as well as the usual GB trial performances from Chris Lawrie. Russell will also be coming in to this race with the J17 1x title from last year. Both competed at the Junior Worlds last year, Chris in the quad and Fraser in the double, so there is no lack of experience behind them. I expect these guys to medal, although it might not be as clear cut as Borlase are used to.

Northwich RC (Lawton and Langmead)

A very strong pairing from Northwich, George Lawton in particular has had a stellar season so far, finishing fifth at Early ID and second at Feb trials in a double with Scott Oszanlav-Harris from Grange, as well as being selected for the squad which travelled to Munich recently. In more domestic affairs, we haven’t seen a huge amount of their quad yet this season, they entered neither Schools’ nor Fours’ Head, although they did take a fairly convincing win at the Nott City regatta, over the likes of the Windsor Boys School and Grange.

Grange School ‘B’ (Ozsanlav-Harris and Strickland-Baker)

As mentioned before, Scott did very well at Feb trials, finished sixth at Early ID and was also one of the athletes selected to travel to Munich. Strickland-Baker however has not been part of the Trials system through this season. Scott’s presence would suggest to me that while it is entered as Grange’s ‘B’, I can safely assume it is actually their first crew. While they have come in the top rankings at most major events so far, they are yet to take a notable win.

Glasgow Academy RC (Horsburgh and Armstrong)

These guys really have been exceptional ever since Armstrong appeared, head and shoulders above the rest of the J16 contingent, on the scene at the beginning of last season. Both boys have done exceptionally well in the trials system, winning by over ten seconds together at Feb Trials (although it is worth noting the Lawrie/Meijer combination’s halfway split would have placed them faster, had they not crashed out). While they are both very good athletes among themselves, they also possess what most other doubles in this event do not: experience, after having made the double their priority over the quad throughout this season. These guys are my favourite for the win.

Leander Club ‘A’ (Mortimer and Cannings)

One of the clubs which has split it’s top athletes between the double and single events, Leander’s quad has been the only one to apply any real pressure to Borlase so far this season, finishing only two seconds behind them at the Four’s Head. A ninth place finish at Early ID, and third at Feb Trials while doubled with Will New, Mortimer has had a pretty successful series of trials so far. However, whether the boat will still move as fast with New changed for Cannings is yet to be seen.

Those, to me, look like the standout crews in this event, although the rest of the Semi-Final positions will be very hotly contested by the likes of; Gloucester Hartpury ‘B’, containing two members of their quad, which has shown some good speed so far this season; two Windsor Boys School crews, having opted to enter both halves of their quad in doubles; Globe, who have two very proficient single scullers in Martinez and Prior; and Great Marlow School, whose athletes really do show the fault in the GB trialling system when it comes to lightweights.


1st Glasgow, 2nd Borlase, 3rd Northwich.

The Rowing Jesus