National Schools’ Regatta 2015- Junior 16 Girls’ Championship Eights Preview

This category has a particularly large entry compared to previous events, with two competitive semi-finals. The race for medal places will be particularly tight this year, with already established rivalries continued and new crews entering who could upset that balance. As with the boys’ preview, I will go through every crew by order of draw, bar St Paul’s Girls’ School’s 2nd 8+, as I can’t really see them being competitive with the rest of the category.

St Paul’s Girls’ School (1st eight)

It is difficult to place this crew as they haven’t been seen at a regatta yet this season. However, their relatively successful head race season campaign would definitely point them towards a place in the final, although Emanuel’s entry into the category certainly won’t give them an easy run.

Emanuel School

This is arguably the most unpredictable entry into this category as this squad haven’t boated an eight as a first boat since Schools’ Head in 2014. However, with most of their dominant J16 coxed four present (excluding 2nd placing J16 GB trialist Darcy Jennings) they should have a good amount of speed, and they will certainly be looking to challenge St Paul’s Girls’ for a place in the final.

Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association

There is no doubt as to the strength of the components of this eight, and they’ve proven at both Gent and Strathclyde Park regattas that they are both competitive in Scotland and internationally through their performance in coxed fours and quads. There is no question as to whether this will be a formidable eight, and I can see them challenging the top end of the competition in the final on Saturday.

Marlow Rowing Club

This is another crew that we can only judge from their head race season results. Their 23 second victory over Lady Eleanor Holles at Schools’ Head would definitely suggest that these girls are geared towards a gold medal this season, and they’ll be doing everything they can to make sure Henley do not snatch it off them, as was the case at this event last year.

Bedford Modern School

Following a lacklustre J15 season, Bedford Modern have held up surprisingly well this year. They achieved a good placing at Schools’ Head (5th), although the large gap between them and St Paul’s Girls’ cannot be ignored. The second-long gap that they left Godolphin and Latymer School at SHORR in also sets the stage for some intense racing, and will make their campaign for a place in the final very difficult. If they do make it, it will be an impressive achievement for this crew, although they won’t be challenging for medal places.

Lady Eleanor Holles School

The crew from Lady Eleanor Holles have picked themselves up commendably from their failure to qualify for the final of J15 eights at this event last year. Their strong performance at Schools’ Head and 10 second victory over Henley in WJ16 coxed fours at Wallingford Regatta puts them in a good position in Nottingham. Could they win the event? I think that’s improbable at best considering Henley’s 6 second victory over them at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta. However, the minor medals are certainly in their grasp if they continue with their current performance.

Henley Rowing Club

There’s no denying that these girls have had a pretty spectacular start to their regatta season. Their gold medals and trophies range from Junior Inter-Regional Regatta to Bedford Regatta, and their eight has remained undefeated since April. Following their absence from Schools’ Head they’re back in their home category, and led by stern pair Florence Wiggins and Ellen Morgan (fastest WJ16 double at February trials), it doesn’t look like anybody can stand in their way.

Godolphin and Latymer School

I’ve already outline that this crew will be putting in a hard and tight race with Bedford Modern for their place in the final, and I honestly can’t predict who will come out on top. Again, they won’t be competing for medals but the achievement alone will be in reaching the final in this fast, competitive field.

Good luck to all these crews, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens on the day!