National Schools’ Regatta 2015- Junior 16 Girls’ Coxed Fours Preview

This category looks like it will be following a similar pattern to the eights event, but suffice to say, there will still be some fast crews coming out of the blocks for some close racing. Naturally this will be more competitive than last years category as crews from the eights events will be coming in to race the established faces in this category, and we’ll see if any of those can retain their positions. Again, I’ll go through the crews I think have a chance of appearing in the final by order of draw.

St Paul’s Girls’ School ‘B’

Leading the onslaughts of crews coming in from the eights category is this crew. While they don’t have any recent results to show for in the coxed four, the fact that Lara Valt and Nicola Lawless, both attendees of the GB February assessment (albeit a relatively poor performance), are in this crew suggests they have the potential to be a powerful combination. While their path to the final is not definite, they’re one of the top contenders for it.

Lady Eleanor Holles ‘B’

This crew shocked many when they took an unexpected victory over Henley Rowing Club at Wallingford Regatta by a 9 second margin. This may not have been such a surprise to those present at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta who saw this strong unit take a silver medal in a competitive field. These girls will be satisfied with nothing short of a gold medal this weekend, and they’re definitely in with a chance, especially with Verity Cole and Elizabeth Haskins (strong contenders at the GB February Assessments) firmly embedded into the crew. This will be the top boat for this squad and it should show, with a combination of sculling finesse and the determination that this squad are known for.

Henley Rowing Club

Absolutely no one could hold a candle up to the standard of rowing that Henley produced from this squad last season. While two of these girls will surely have been disheartened by the disappointing fourth place that they found themselves in at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta, the integration of Georgia Edwards and Lily Stimpson of the gold medalist quad yielded much better results at Wallingford, where they sat at second place behind LEH. There’s no question that this crew will easily make the cut for the final, and most probably medal given recent results. However, this LEH resurgence may pose a threat to their winning the event, and they will have to be on top form if they want to take on the favorites.

Habidashers’ Monmouth School

Another crew who also have a medal to their name this season, Habidashers’ had a very impressive final at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta, coming back from behind Henley to take the bronze medal after a colossal sprint from the 1000 metre mark. This season they’ll be looking to at least gain their silver medal position back from the J15 4+ category last season, and I’ll be surprised if they’re not right up in the mix with the big players from the J16 eights category. Whether they will succeed in this has yet to be seen, but I reckon they’ll put up a good fight for the minor medals. Watch out for that deadly sprint they’ll be putting in for the last 500m.

Emanuel School

Similar to Habidashers’, these girls are specialists in the coxed four category, and they’ve been right up at the top end of the competition since last year where they just missed out on the bronze medal in both the J15 and J16 category. Since then they’ve made a lot of progress, dominating the category throughout head race season, and they weren’t too far off Henley at Wallingford Regatta in third place. It’s been a long time coming, but this crew aren’t going to let a medal position slip through their fingers again as it did last year, and they’ll be putting up a brutal fight with Habidashers’, Henley and Bedford Modern School for those positions.

Lady Eleanor Holles ‘C’

This crew are here based largely on their merit as an integral part of the J16 eight and also their result at Wallingford. While their fourth place finish was well behind Emanuel School, they will no doubt pose a threat to St Paul’s Girls’ campaign for a spot in the final. Their making it to the final would be a testament to the depth of this squad, but it is yet to be seen whether they have to capacity to deal with some of the top athletes from other schools. There’s not enough data to swing this prediction one way or another, but heartened by their results at Wallingford I think they may have the capacity and mindset to do it.

Bedford Modern School

During my predictions for the eight that these girls are in, I failed to mention their achievements as a four, spanning back to their silver medal in J15 4+ last season. Since then they have actually beaten both Henley and Lady Eleanor Holles at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta, although I think some fatigue may have to be taken into account; both members of the other crews had doubled up for other events by the ‘A’ final. However, these girls will have taken a psychological edge away from that, which will no doubt show in a confident row in this event. This crew have touched the gold, the question is as to whether their desire to repeat that will keep them in the lead right down to the last, probably nail-biting stroke of this final.

My predicted finalists: Henley RC, Lady Eleanor Holles ‘B’, Emanuel School, Habidashers’ Monmouth, Bedford Modern School, Lady Eleanor Holles ‘C’.
Predicted Winner: I’ll call Lady Eleanor Holles ‘B’ for this one, but it was a tough choice between them and Bedford Modern.