Reading Small Boats Head 2015 – J16 Sweep Events (2-, 4+)

This will be the first taste of sweep racing for a lot of these guys this season, so I’m not necessarily expecting some well-polished pairs and fours; however, that won’t stop both these categories being hard-fought.

J16 2-

Four entries here, three being from St Paul’s School. I’d suggest that these three will actually make up the top three of the event. The majority of these guys were from St Paul’s very strong NSR-winning J15 Champ Eight last year – apart from Rodriguez-Alarcon, who seems to be at the top end of the squad this year. Notably, the De Graaf entry appears to be a relation of Stijn De Graaf, a strong SPS 1st VIII rower from two years ago. Clearly, it’s in the blood for De Graaf; and I’d expect this to be the fastest of the SPS pairs. However, SPS Dickinson contains the strokeman of the SPS eight, so I’d imagine this would be a pretty technical pair – technique being especially important at J16 level. The Pangbourne pair is under the name of Wahlberg, who rowed in Pangbourne’s decent J15 4+ last year – he’s also racing in the single scull, so it will be difficult perhaps for him to keep the intensity up across both events.

Prediction
The three SPS boats – De Graaf, Dickinson and then Rodriguez-Alarcon.

J16 4+

Six entries populate this category, with the majority being from Reading Blue Coat. These guys are made up of last year’s J15 squad, that didn’t really perform at NSR. The first eight didn’t make it through the time trial in the J15 1st8+ category, and the 2nd Eight performed likewise in their category. Reading Blue Coat do tend to improve as they move towards the senior squad, and I’d be surprised if the Reading Blue Coat squad didn’t see some dramatic improvement this year. However, I think this will be a stepping stone for the whole squad – I can’t see them really challenging for the win here. Likewise for Sir William Borlase – Foulkes – a four from the SWB eight that also failed to make it through the time trial of the J15 1st8+ at NSR. I just don’t think the SWB squad will have the talent this year that 2014’s J16s had. This leaves this event wide open to be taken by the St Paul’s School four, made up of the guys that won in the Champ Eight at NSR as J15s. They’re a strong group, and I can’t see them losing this one.

Prediction
SPS to take the win, and after that, it’s all to play for.

Good luck to all crews racing.

Five Man

Five Man