Hampton Small Boats Head 2015 – J18 2X

The Junior Double will be the fastest event on the water on Saturday, and the 3000m downstream course should produce some very quick times. There is a strong entry for this event, so there will also be a very high standard of racing, something we’ve come to expect from the Hampton Head of Rivers every year. These are the crews that in my eyes, will be likely to do very well on the day.

Claire’s Court School – Cameron

Although we only know one member of each crew in this event, this is certainly a recognizable name in sculling. Cameron was part of the GB Coupe Quad last season, and also came 4th in the Champ Single at National Schools’, despite being a J17. This is very impressive, and assuming his partner is of anywhere near similar ability then this will certainly be a crew to beat.

Claire’s Court School – Richardson

Richardson was not part of Claire’s Court’s top boat last season, however he has presumably stepped up his game as a J18 so will be much stronger. Being part of such a high quality sculling system means that this boat will definitely have some good speed and will likely still produce a strong result on Saturday, even if it may not be as quick as their other crew.

Marlow RC – Long

Marlow had one of the strongest J16 Quads in the country last season, and Long was a fundamental part of this. So long as him and his partner are able to make the step up to J18 successfully, then this crew should be pretty fast as well. I can see them realistically aiming to be near the top on Saturday.

Marlow RC – Strudwick

This is likely the weaker of the two Marlow doubles, however with a depth of strong athletes coming into their J18 system I can’t see it being slow. This crew is unlikely to be one of the quickest crews in the event, however it will still put in a solid performance and should do well.

Tiffin School – Everest

Tiffin have two doubles entered and while I can’t see either winning the overall prize, this name caught my eye as Everest was part of a reasonably quick crew in Championship Doubles at National Schools’ last year. They did well to make it through the time trial there and should therefore show some decent speed at Hampton this weekend.

Northwich RC – Taylor

Northwich are already having a very good season, winning the Fours Head by 6 seconds just two weeks ago. As a result of this, this double will certainly be very quick and may be one of the top crews, depending on who is in the crew with Taylor. Being the only double from Northwich, I would expect it to be a pretty quick combination and will certainly be eying the top of the event.

Borlase – Wright

Borlase may have had an underwhelming Fours Head, but they certainly should never be written off as they have many strong athletes this year and remain to be a very good sculling centre. With two doubles racing I would expect this to be the quicker of the two, however it is difficult to predict this without knowing Wright’s partner. Either way, I expect the quicker of the two doubles to be competing right at the top level of this event. Wright went to Coupe in the eight in 2015, and despite a disappointing result at Early IDs, he’ll still be a rower to watch this year.

Borlase – Bennett

This is likely to be the other half of Borlase’s top quad, and will therefore certainly be a very fast boat. Whether it will be right at the top of the event remains to be seen, however there will definitely be four very strong athletes across these two boats and this crew should therefore put in a pretty solid performance.

Windsor Boys’ School – Laws

Windsor Boys’ had a good result at Fours Head in coming second, a result that should set the scene for Windsor to return to the very top end of J18 sculling this season. With that in mind and with the depth that their J18 squad now has, this should be a quick double and will probably also be looking to be towards to the top of the results on Saturday.

Prediction

Making a prediction in an event like this is very difficult as we only know half of each crew, so a large amount of the prediction process relies on guess work. Despite this, given the success of Northwich RC at Fours Head it makes sense to me that they have the potential to follow this up with a win in the Double on Saturday. Following them could be any number of crews, however depending on who they are partnered with, Claire’s Court’s double will be very tough to beat and after the success of Fours head I think Windsor Boys’ will be looking to make the top three as well.

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