National Schools’ Regatta 2015 – Championship Coxless Pairs Preview

After the controlled chaos of the eights events on the Saturday has calmed down, and the Sunday swings around, the small boats will take to the water; and what better a boat to display technical proficiency than the pair. A good result in this event would be another bargaining chip in a coach’s pocket when it came to final trial invites, so there is a lot to play for, and no shortage of good players.

Abingdon School ‘A’ (Teece/Digby)

A very good start to the season saw this duo take the title at the Early ID trials by a margin of almost ten seconds over the next best, in the shape of Radley. However, this speed has seemed to fade as the season has progressed: only fourth at Feb trials, and a no-show from Tom at April trials left Adam to come fourth in the ‘C’ final, paired with Oscar Lindsay of Eton College. Abingdon’s eight hasn’t had the speed we have come to expect from this year so far, but they are infamous for producing the pace later on in the season, when it really counts. Do I think they have the ability to win? Yes. Do I think they will win? Not from what they have shown recently.

Aberdeen School’s RA (Kinghorn/Duncan)

This year’s rowing scene really has seen a surge among the Scottish contingent. With Glasgow heading the scullers, and Aberdeen really showing their strength in the sweep scene. These two have seen some very good results in the last few months including, most recently, a third place finish in the ‘B’ final at April trials, behind Hampton and Eton. A result which gained Gregor Duncan a seat on the plane to Munich, with Oliver just missing out. It might be worth noting here that these guys have never had a result any worse than gold at National Schools: in the J16 coxed fours last year, by a huge margin, and the J15 coxed fours the year before that, and that winning mentality may prove very useful.

St Paul’s School ‘A’ (Ambler/Doyle)

And so, the seemingly never ending junior rowing career of Arthur Doyle continues. Due to being too old to trial it is hard to judge what has become of Arthur, and whether his boat moving skills have continued to improve or not. For the sake of argument I will judge him on his ability this time last season. And, judging him on that, I would say these guys have the best chance to take the title here. On top of Arthur’s past prestige, David Ambler has also shown some seriously impressive speed: paired with Freddie Davidson he won Feb trials and then, when people said it was a favourable wind helping out lightweights, they did it again and won April Trials too. These guys, to me, look like the ones to watch.

Tideway Scullers’ School (Brophy/Rodd)

Quality, rather than quantity, seems to be TSS’s speciality when it comes to junior sweep rowers. Ben and Lucas had a decent start to the season, with both finishing in the top thirty scullers at early ID. However, with an absent Brophy, Lucas only came in thirty fifth at Feb trials, paired with Joe Ford of the London Oratory School. This did seem to be remedied in April, however, when a fourth place finish in the ‘B’ final saw them reinstate themselves in the upper echelons. They won’t be the fastest pair here, but they will be very tidy, and certainly won’t finish far behind.

Others to mention would be the St Paul’s ‘B’ crew, the strength in their first eight this year really is very good, and it’s a mystery to me as to why they aren’t able to produce the boat speed that would presumably entail. Also, I would like to mention the Great Marlow School crew. As I have said before, these guys really do highlight what is wrong with the trialling system, when it comes to lightweights.


1st St Paul’s ‘A’, 2nd ASRA and 3rd Abingdon ‘A’.

The Rowing Jesus