Reading Small Boats Head 2015 – J18 Sweep Events (2-, 4-)

Reading Small Boats Head offers one of the first sweep events of the year. Because it’s so early in the sweep season, it’s a little undersubscribed – however, this won’t stop it being an exciting and intense event for all the crews entered. Two of our longest-serving contributors put together this preview.

J18 2-

At this time in the year, when training for most people is with two blades each, a bit of sweep oared racing can come as a relief and provides those of us with an eye on results an early chance to see what this year’s talent is like. Although the field is not very large in the J182- category at Reading, it nonetheless promises to be a tough event.
Home favourites, Reading, will know the course well and that could be a huge advantage over the 3700m course, especially in a pair, arguably the most difficult boat to steer. The St Edward’s boat contains a member of their bronze medal winning crew in the 1st 4+ event at NSR so will no doubt have good speed. The remaining entries are from Sir William Borlase’s GS and Kingston GS, both with two crews.
I don’t believe that the crews from Borlase represent the cream of their crop, with none of their Coupe representatives from this year named. ‘Ashman’ being a member of a J162- at NSR that just failed to qualify for the semi finals. KGS, on the other hand, are being represented by the upper echelons of their senior squad. Both Hillier and Milward were members of their 1st 8 from last year, which despite being unsuccessful in qualifying for the PE at Henley, showed some pedigree in the summer. Luke Hillier especially produced some impressive erg scores as part of the GB trials process last season.

I think that the category win will go to the KGS -Hillier boat, but they will be pushed hard and the second and third places will be close.


J18 4-

There are only three crews in this event, so this will be short. It’s clear that one of the two Radley College crews entered are going to win this event. Radley upped their game in the championship eights event last season, and in the end the bronze medal was only two seconds out of their reach. The crew that has a guaranteed returner is the one under Brocklebank-Fowler, and judging from this I would be inclined to predict them to come out ahead of the one under Bowesman-Jones. However, these may well be matched crews at this point in the season, at which point it might as well be a coin toss to predict who comes ahead. Radley are generally top competitors over long courses, although the result on Saturday will give no hints as to how they will perform this season. With all due respect to Reading Blue Coat for a competitive performance in the first eights category last season, Radley crews are traditionally in a different class to Reading, and as such it would be very surprising to see their bows moving towards Radley’s at any point down this 3700m course.

Good luck to all crews.

High Tide