Wallingford Long Distance Sculls 2015 – WJ18 Preview (1x, 2x, 4x)

A contingent of scullers ranging from young and new to the scene to the more experienced and established populate this large head. This preview, written by Bow Ball and Five Man, will focus on all the WJ18 events – the 1x, 2x and 4x.

WJ18 1x

I am reviewing the junior women J18 single sculls, a very big and competitive category as most juniors racing at this age are looking to not just be winning events such as this one but creating outstanding performances at GB trials. The season is still young, but these girls will be wanting to lay down a serious marker even at this stage. I took a lot into consideration for creating a preview to this event but decided to mainly look at last year’s JW16 and JW18 GB trail results, as the distance is very similar to Wallingford long distance scull’s 4250m course. Nottingham Rowing Club, with an impressive 9 crews entered into this category, are a club to keep an eye on. With their training for competitive athletes from Mondays through to Sundays and with 2 of the scullers entered at Wallingford being in the top 10 at GB j16 February trails, Nottingham have a strong group of scullers to contend with. Henley RC, another very competitive junior club, have entered 4 crews into this event and single sculler Pearson is a strong competitor having come in the top half of the scullers at J16 February trails. However, the Orr sisters who are both entered racing for The Shiplake Vikings are 2 very strong rowers – both technically and in terms of power – with Hattie Orr coming within the top 20 of the Junior Women GB trials assessments and both sisters achieving many impressive results in crew boats last season, highlighted by representing England at the Home Countries Regatta in Strathclyde. It will be interesting to see how both scullers do against the younger competitive scullers. Other notable scullers include Kes Roe from Mossbourne Academy, an exciting, up-and-coming program that I’d love to see progress in the near future; Stevens from Reading RC and North from Stratford-Upon-Avon BC, all of whom were in the final of JW17 single sculls at National Schools.

Prediction

  • Hattie Orr – Shiplake Vikings
  • Lucy Holgate – Nottingham Rowing club
  • Hannah Stocks – Nottingham Rowing Club
  • Bowball

    WJ18 2x

    I’m excited for this event as not only is it the most competitive event for junior women double sculls at Wallingford but also because Pairs Head is 2 weeks away and Wallingford LDS is a perfect precursor to the large-scale Tideway headrace. Thirteen crews will be battling it out over the 4250m course, and it promises to be a real test for these young crews – not just of power and perseverance, but also tactics – being patient in overtaking and biding one’s time is key at Wallingford, as a crash can knock you right out of the race. Every year, a coxless crew at the forefront of its respective category essentially ruins the race for itself by being perhaps too aggressive on the overtake – lets hope none of these doubles suffer the same fate. Latymer Upper School have dominated this event by having 6 of the 13 crews entered being from their club. 2 of the doubles with bows Woolley and McGrath are in my top 3 favorite crews to win. Woolley achieved a lot in doubles sculls last year, coming 3rd at Pair’s Head – a notable achievement by any standards. Moreover, McGrath followed closely behind, coming 6th. However these two and all Latymer crew’s have some very strong competition, with Henley rowing club’s Florence Wiggins’s double entered. This crew led the field at JW16 trails in a double by coming first by over 20 seconds, winning a medal at national schools regatta in the quadruple sculls I predict Henley will be going home with a win. Other crews to keep an eye on are Wallingford , American School London and Kingston.

    Prediction

  • Henley rowing club
  • Latymer ( Woolley)
  • Latymer ( McGrath)
  • Bowball

    WJ18 4x

    A decent contingent of scullers populates this event, with many having made the step up from J16 level last year, but even more currently at J16 level and racing in a higher age group on Saturday, possibly for the benefit of racing older crews. Henley – Lister, who lead the pack on Saturday, is a crew that looks to be formed of athletes that were mainstays in the very successful Henley WJ16 squad last year, that took an emphatic gold at NSR in the eight. These girls will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with, and Henley – Lister may well be the quicker of the two; however, Henley – Wiggins are under the name of a gold medalist in the J16G4x at NSR in 2015, while Lister was in the less successful coxed four. Both names came out of the eight, however, and these boats may well be matched. It’s difficult, then, to really pick between them – and indeed, Latymer Upper School are out in force on Saturday, and it will give the younger Henley girls something to think about. Some of these girls appear to be racing up a yeargroup, having raced at J15 level at NSR; this might suggest that Latymer is sending more of a development squad, but I think with such a large entry it’s hard to write off all their boats. Latymer haven’t quite seen the lofty heights of the Henley winning crew of 2013 in their senior squad since the famous victory, and I imagine that they’ll be looking this year to recapture their former glory. Other contenders in this race could take the form of Kingston RC, who raced in the Champ Quads category at NSR, and look to be one of the more experienced crews in this field. This might give them the edge over some of these younger, less established crews.

    Prediction
    Difficult to call, but I’ll say Henley – Wiggins for the win, Kingston RC – Hughes in second and a close third for Henley – Lister.

    Good luck to all crews racing!

    Five Man

    BowBall