Schools’ Head 2016 – Girls Jun 4+

This event sees the top sweep crews from smaller clubs who were unable to get an eight together, race against second crews from some of the more established junior systems. This combination makes from some exciting and competitive racing, especially in the coxed four, where both power and technique must be utilised to lift up the bow and maintain the boat speed across the whole championship course.

Henley RC
Henley perform well in all boat types, including a Four shown by their Victory over this course in Fours head back in November. However It is likely these girls will be racing as part of their Champs eight, with the four a less prioritised boat. However Henley’s has such a great depth this probably won’t slow them down much, with a four that could be the same combination racing tomorrow still came 2nd in J18 4- at Hampton Head. These girls will definitely be quick, and as usual Henley will be a crew to watch.

HMSG
Haberdashers’ isn’t a big name on the girls rowing scene, but looking at past results they seem to excel in the four discipline especially. They came 4th in both J16 4+ and Champs 4- last year at National Schools, and if some of latter crew were J17, this year this means they should be able to field a strong senior crew. They won’t want to find themselves out of the medal positions again this summer, and I’m sure last year’s results will give them the drive to push on and make their mark this year.

Thames RC
Thames rowing club have consistently been able to produce class athletes, and their junior program is looking especially strong this year. The girl’s side however, have focused heavily on sculling in recent years, and I believe it was only this season some of these girls even tried to sweep! They have learnt fast though, coming a very respectable 4th in the coxed four event at Hampton Head, around 10 seconds off a Borlase crew in 3rd. This crew is likely to be second to be their Girls quad, but none the less on home water I think they will be strong and could find themselves in the top 5.

Sir William Borlase
After a second place at Fours Head, this crew is one to watch. Borlase traditionally perform well on tideway heads, their technical ability clearly superior to the rough tideway conditions. Borlase are also fielding a champs eight on Thursday, and it’ll be interesting to see if they have prioritised this, or the Four after such a successful Fours Head. At Hampton they entered both a coxed and coxless four in Division two, both coming third. The latter was a mere three seconds off the Henley crew most likely to also be racing in this event. If it is their top boat, they should be aiming for a top placing, and even if it isn’t I think this crew will be quick and competitive with other top crews.

Putney High School
Putney came 4th at Hampton Head in the coxless four, a strong result only 6 seconds behind the likely ‘top’ Borlase crew. This shows some good speed, and it seems these girls have moved on from a disappointing result in the bottom half at Fours Head of the river. They will have the advantage of home water, something which can never be underestimated in tideway heads. With a win at Pairs head already this season, if Putney can maintain their standard from Hampton they should be competitive with the top crews in this category, making for some exciting racing.

Headington

This crew will be made up from girls from Headington’s second eight, and for most clubs this would be a disadvantage, but these girls beat multiple schools first crews with their 6th place at Hampton WJ18 8+, and first place in WJ18 8+ at reading, whilst the first eight raced Elite. They have also had some good results in a Four, coming 5th place at Hampton, only a second behind Putney high, and  a Headington crew also came 7th at Fours Head. As a second boat this is very impressive, though I’m not sure they will be able to compete with the very top crews who have chosen to prioritise this category.

Bedford Modern School
Not a big name in girls rowing, but Bedford have had some good results so far this season, with an 8th in the four at Fours Head, these girls might surprise everyone tomorrow. They had a J16 four last season who got bronze at National Schools, and if all these girls progressed to the senior squad this could be a strong J17 combination. They’re probably too young to be looking at a top placing this time, but I think next season they could turn a few heads and really develop into a competitive crew.

Other crews of note are Godolphin and Canford, both of which include one athlete who has been invited to sweep at the next stage of GB Trials in Easter. Great Marlow also came 8th at Hampton Head, and Canottieri Luino came 5th as a four in their regional Italian competition last week.

Prediction

  1. Henley
  2. Sir William Borlase
  3. Thames RC or Putney High School

Good Luck to all Crews Racing

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