Wallingford Head of the River 2015 – WJ16 8+

There are only five boats in this category and so a top five finished is at least guaranteed! Given the quality of the field, however, a top three finish is what the crews should be looking for this weekend.

Henley are leading the field off. Little needs to be said of the success of the Henley girls’ squad in recent years – such is the reputation they have gained. This crew doesn’t look to be an exception to the rule, as it will mostly, if not completely, be made up of the eight that won the J15G8+ title at NSR by a startling 19s in the summer. Undoubtedly they’ll be gunning for a strong win, and they certainly have more than a good chance of taking it.

Reading are following Henley down. It’s good to see that this club is able to field an eight, however, I’m not sure how fast they will be. Reading is home to some strong junior women at the moment, many with GB prospects, and this will have helped create a good atmosphere in the club to move everyone on; one might remember Reading’s girl’s 4+ that was so successful in the domestic season, led by the accomplished Zoe Taylor. These girls will undoubtedly be inspired by those who have gone before, and they could do well here.

Headington is a school that has dominated the top end of the Junior Women’s scene for a while and their dominance has been especially prevalent in the eight; I expect that this crew will be quick on Sunday. Whether they’ll be quick enough to challenge the likes of Henley remains to be seen, but they’re certainly not short on strength and success in their program.

St Paul’s Girls School had a big J15 squad last year, fielding two eights in the J15 category at NSR. However, they failed to take away a good result. If their squad has remained so large, I expect that they will be in a strong position, using the unsatisfying results from the summer to focus their training; however, SPGS haven’t ever really been at the fore in the junior women’s rowing scene, and I figure that they’ll struggle to make the top 3 here.

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School have become an increasingly strong presence in the junior rowing sphere over the past few years, excelling across both sculling and sweep oared disciplines. I expect that this crew will be of good quality, maybe even good enough to break into that hallowed top three.

My predication:
1- Henley
2- Headington
3- Borlase