GB Trials 2016 – JM2- Preview

This year’s GB Trials JM2- looks to be hotly contested, with a number of class crews entered – some returning from last year, and some all-new. We’ll be previewing who we think will be the front runners at GB Trials this year.

Abingdon School – Teece/Digby
These guys will be returning last year, with Digby having seemingly switched back to sweep-oar rowing. Last year, they were a real force at trials – particularly in the early stages – winning Early IDs, and the 2nd day of February Trials. Digby appears to be going from strength to strength, and Adam Teece, who represented England at the Home Countries Regatta last year, appears to have made a significant step on. If they have a good row, I think these guys could certainly take the win – they’re a strong pair, and they’ve got a lot of experience together.

Westminster School – Stocker/Plaut
These are probably the top two guys Westminster has to offer currently, both having represented GB at Junior Worlds. Oswald Stocker has seen a lot of improvement this year, and his ergo score has gotten much faster; Nick Plaut brings some real technical prowess to the crew. They’re a pair that should go very well indeed, and the strong tailwind should favour them over the Teece/Digby pairing as the lighter and racier crew. They’ll certainly be going over with strong ambitions to take the win, and I think they could do with a well-paced and well-executed race.

St Paul’s School – Benzecry/Davidson
Last year, David Ambler and Freddie Davidson were arguably the quickest pair in the GB circuit, winning the April Pairs Regatta, and going on to be stern pair of the Worlds 8+. This year, SPS will want to retain top honors, but it’ll be a real fight with such strong returning pairs. Freddie Davidson has seen a huge increase in strength, however, judging by his 5K ergo performance, and this will stand the pair in good stead going into Saturday’s trial

Hampton School/Molesey BC – Jackson/Ayres
It’s always a big ask for composite pairs to go toe to toe with established pairs from the same club, who already have a similar style and the benefit of training at the same time – but I think Jackson and Ayres are really in with a shout. They’re both strong athletes, and Dom Jackson has a considerable power to weight ratio. They’ve looked very clean in paddling, and I fancy these two ex-Coupe athletes will race very well.

Westminster School – Plaut/Arzt-Jones
James Plaut and Oscar Arzt-Jones are both very accomplished oarsmen who rely far more on technical prowess to move boats, rather than physical strength. A pairs race with a strong tailwind, without a rate cap, should suit them nicely. James rowed in the 8+ at Worlds, and Oscar stroked the Coupe 4- that won a bronze medal – they’re experienced guys and should really shift.

Winchester – Durward/Shroder
These guys have yet to show a massive amount of speed from their pair – indeed, at Hampton Head they were 3rd of the Winchester pairs – but they’re both great athletes, and the longer race should suit their power and fitness. Tobias Shroder in particular has been having a great season, with a top-10 finish at Early IDs in the 1x that secured him a place on the GB potential camp. I think with a good row, these guys could challenge for the top 5.

In terms of other pairs, certainly Shiplake’s top pair are ones to watch, having won Early IDs. St Paul’s have a number of established pairs within their ranks, and Eton’s top pair, with Felix Drinkall at the helm, should put in a strong performance.

My prediction for the winner: Abingdon School to take top honours, as last year.

Good luck to all trialists!

Five Man