Hammersmith Head 2016 – J18 4X

Held over the 2 ¾ miles between Chiswick Bridge and Hammersmith Bridge, The Hammersmith Head provides a great opportunity for clubs with aspirations of success at the upcoming Schools Head of River. The entry for this year’s J184X is relatively small, perhaps owing to the clash with this year’s February trials, with just five crews taking to the tideway. Whilst this makes racing unpredictable, it is not to say there will not be some exciting racing, a short course with the tide means fast, and generally close times.

Molesey
Molesey have two quads entered into this event, and given the current strength of their junior system, having produced some exceptional individual athletes able to gain selection for last year’s Coupe team it will be no surprise to see them put in a very quick performance here. The question remains however as to whether these two crews are of matched ability or if they are a selected first and second quad, if the latter is the case then I would not be surprised at all to see Molesey win the event.

Tideway Scullers
Another club that has produced some fantastic individual athletes in recent years, Tideway Scullers produced a junior quad that took the win at Kingston Small Boats Head earlier in the season ahead of Molesey. This displays a clear aptitude for sculling in their current junior squad, and based on that performance they are rendered favourites for this event.

Emmanuel School
A school in recent times that have been unable to really instil themselves at the top end of junior sculling, Emmanuel have produced some quick crews on the local circuit and have taken wins at smaller scale events. Whether or not this will ultimately translate to success at a higher level is yet to be seen, and for that reason I would not necessarily expect them to take a win, despite being on home water.

Abingdon School
A school clearly known for being extremely competitive at the top end of junior rowing in recent years, with international athletes and recording three consecutive Henley wins. Despite this clear pedigree, it is obvious that Abingdons top athletes will be IN Boston racing at the February assessment, and the one year juniors are unlikely to be sculling this close to Schools Head. For this reason I would imagine it is not their strongest combination, and therefore may not be challenging for victory.

Prediction
Given the fact that this event coincides with the February assessment, predicting the outcome here is a tricky affair. Juniors will be prioritising trials, and therefore the standard of the event will have lowered. Because of Tideway Scullers earlier in the season victory over Molesey, I will predict them to finish 1st, with one of the Molesey crews not far behind, and then Abingdon School in 3rd.

Mr T