Pairs Head 2015 – J16 2x

The long, 4.5 Km tidal course is particularly gruelling in a two man boat, and even with four oars, double sculls are amongst the hardest boats to take to the tideway in. As always, Pairs Head features a large entry, so I will mainly look at the crews aiming to finish towards the top of the event in this preview.

St. Paul’s School – Deering/De Graff
Both of these boys were in the St. Paul’s, National Schools’ winning J15 eight last season so are obviously talented athletes. They then moved into the J154X+2, where they won silver behind only the crew from Windsor Boys’. This shows that they’re clearly pretty capable scullers too, and should do well on Saturday.
Westminster School – Middleton/Swann
These guys from Westminster also won medals in the eight at National Schools’, finishing third. They competed in the J154X+ (A event), where they failed to make the final. They will still be quick however, and should put in a pretty competitive performance.
St. Paul’s School – Majumdar/Langstone-Bolt
This crew contains one member of last season’s first and second eights from National Schools’, both of which won gold. I would expect this to be a quick double then, but probably not quite as fast as some of the other St. Paul’s doubles due to the inclusion of an athlete from the second boat of last year.
St. Paul’s School – Parr/Rodriguez Alarcon
Yet another double from the St Paul’s eight – once again, these guys will be pretty quick due to their successes last season. It’ll be interesting to see which is the quickest of the doubles as I would imagine they are mostly relatively matched, and how well they are able to scull compared to their successes as sweep rowers.
Walton RC – Suphi/Phillpott
These guys are only J15s so really their performance depends on how well they are able to step up to compete with older boys. Despite this, they won the J142X at National Schools’ pretty convincingly last season so they should still be fairly competitive in this event, and I have included them for this reason.
Globe – Offiler/Richardson
This crew had a fairly solid performance last season, almost being of a finalist standard at National Schools’. They should therefore be competitive and near the top, even if they aren’t the best crew in the event
Westminster School – Postolovsky/Cowling
Similarly to the other Westminster double, these guys were both in last season’s eight. Coming from a system like Westminster’s, they are likely to end up being talented in both the sculling and sweep disciplines so should be reasonably successful at the weekend.
Maidenhead RC – Kemp/Somerville
I am under the impression that of the two Maidenhead doubles, this would be expected to be the slower, however last season Maidenhead’s J15s were very successful on the whole and therefore this will be by no means a slow crew. Expect them to be near, but not be right at the top of the pile.
Walton RC – Harris/Wilkinson
As finalists at National Schools’ last season, this double should be pretty quick, and will be aiming to finish well. I expect them to be amongst the quickest crews, and they could be something of a dark horse for the top prize. Unlike many of the crews, they’ve already proven themselves in a double, so look out for these guys on Saturday.
Tideway Scullers – Okuka/Newton
This will definitely be a crew to watch. Silver in the J154X+ last season behind a very strong Windsor Boys’ crew shows that they’ve got what it takes as scullers, and will be close to the top of the results on Saturday. I wouldn’t be surprised to be seeing these two putting in a very good performance and showing some real speed.
Maidenhead RC – Kleshnev/Marshall
The quicker of the Maidenhead doubles and containing a sculler who has already competed at GB vs France leve,l will probably make this crew the favourite for many. With both of these boys also competing at HRR in Maidenhead’s top quad last season, they are both experienced in the more senior events. This crew is certainly one of the highest standards in the event.
St. Paul’s School – Mattmoe/Gong
This is not likely to be the quickest of the St. Paul’s doubles, however still containing a member of their impressive eight from last season will give them speed. The other athlete is of their still pretty impressive second eight, showing a squad with real depth. I’m expecting them to be quick, but not necessarily to be too close to the top of the pile, simply due to their inclusion of an athlete from their second eight.

Notable mention must also go to the two doubles from City of Bristol RC, they had an impressive J144X+ last season, and will be competing up a year in this event. They should be pretty quick, however they may struggle competing in the J16 category.

This event has many entries, so picking out the top few candidates isn’t an easy task. Despite this, I wouldn’t expect any of the crews to challenge Marshall and Kleshnev of Maidenhead RC, who I think should win the event without too much trouble from the other crews. From last season’s impressive quad, I think that Okuka and Newton of Tideway Scullers will follow behind and pose the biggest potential threat, finishing second. Third place is difficult as there are a few crews who will be of a similar standard in this area, however I’m going to go with Harris and Wilkinson of Walton RC. These guys have proven they know how race a double already, which should put them in a good position for the longer course. After the top three, I would expect the next few positions to be fought out between the doubles from St. Paul’s School and Westminster School.