National Schools’ Regatta 2016 – Championship Doubles

Championship Doubles is one of the most exciting events of the National Schools’ Regatta, as it is very interesting to see how successfully many of the quads from the previous day are able to break down into the smaller boats which they have often had far less training in. This year is of a very high standard, and as many of these crews and athletes are more focused on quadruple or single sculling, it will be exciting to see how well they can do in an untested boat class. This makes the event very difficult to predict, as many of these boats haven’t done a lot of racing, however in this event that is a big part of the overall excitement.

Glasgow – Morrison/Armstrong

After winning this event impressively last year, Armstrong will be hoping to retain his title with a new partner, Ryan Morrison. Armstrong has had incredible success in his junior sculling career, and it is impossible to ignore his world champion status when considering the potential for this crew. Morrison is also a talented athlete and has been part of the Glasgow quad that has had varying levels of success so far this season. Because of this, I can certainly see this crew winning a medal on Sunday and think they’ll be challenging for the gold, yet whether or not the speed of Glasgow’s double from last season can be recreated remains to be seen.

Windsor Boys’ School – Oliver/Smith T

Harry Oliver is an athlete who has had a lot of success in recent years in the GB trialling system, racing at Coupe last year and at Munich earlier this season, and will certainly be wanting to make an impression at a domestic level whilst racing for his club at a national level this year, after missing out on the final in 2015. Tom Smith had an excellent season last year and was part of Windsor’s unbeaten J16 Double, showing real promise in smaller boats and produced something of a shock result coming 6th at his first set of GB trials only a few weeks ago. This crew has a lot of potential then, and will certainly be looking for a medal.

Nottingham RC – Mauby/Haywood

Both of these scullers have shown promise within the trialling system this season with Mauby in particular racing very well at Munich Regatta a few weeks ago, and this crew will therefore have to be amongst the favourites. It’s important to note that both of these athletes have 2k ergo scores that are comfortably under 6:10, meaning that this crew has an incredible amount of power at its disposal, and if they are able to make full use of this they will be of the crew to beat. They certainly have the physical potential to produce a winning performance, and beating both Northwich and King’s Worcester at Nottingham regatta puts them in a very good position.

Leander – Holt/Mortimer

Leander are a powerhouse of junior sculling, and have produced many successful crews and athletes in this event over the last few years. They were able to final two crews in this event last, a testament to their junior depth. Mortimer was a part of one of these crews, and also experienced success by being selected for the Coupe team last season, showing that he has what it takes to compete at the top level. This crew should certainly final and will be looking for a medal on the weekend, however it hasn’t really raced this season so it is difficult to know just how successful it will be.

King’s Worcester – Beattie/Beever

This crew showed some good speed at Nottingham Regatta, despite being beaten by both Northwich and Nottingham, two very strong crews. Beattie has proven himself a very strong sculler in the GB trialling system, so this crew will still be very quick and will certainly be pushing for a space in the final. Winning Wallingford regatta, albeit in a fairly weak field, will also have given them confidence.

Northwich RC – Lawton/Taylor

Northwich have been at the top end of junior sculling for a while now, and last year a Northwich double containing Lawton successfully won a bronze medal in this event despite almost missing out on the final. This crew has very good pedigree stepping forward then, with Lawton having represented GB in the Coupe double last year, whilst also racing at Munich regatta for the last two years. Taylor has also shown promise in the GB trialling system this season, so together they should make for a very quick crew. They are certainly capable of looking for a medal in this event, and will be disappointed with anything other than a podium finish.

Claire’s Court School A/B – Richardson/Cameron Gronmark/Costley

It looks like the Claire’s Court quad has been split straight down the middle to race in doubles on the Sunday, and with so many strong athletes in the crew it is almost difficult to tell which will be faster. Cameron is their top athlete and had a very successful season last year racing at Coupe and coming 4th in Championship singles, so it is likely that he and Richardson will be the quicker of the two. After coming so close to a medal on the Sunday last season, he will certainly have his eye on this event this season. I think his crew should push for one of the minor medals, however there are several other crews who will also be in contention. Gronmark and Costley have both been very successful at GB trials this season so I would expect them to make the final as well.

Borlase – Wright/Wolfin

Borlase haven’t had the greatest of seasons so far, especially when compared to previous years, however their top two athletes are of a very high standard. Wright raced in the Coupe eight last year, showing that he is definitely able to compete at the top level. He races alongside Wolfin, who was part of the Borlase crew that won both Championship Quads and the Fawley last season. This crew should have a good balance of power and technical proficiency, however their lack of success so far this season may not be that promising. They should push to final.

There are a host of other quality crews in this event which must not go without mention. Leander have multiple other crews that will be aiming for a spot in the final, and the young crew from Maidenhead (Kleshnev/Marshall) will also be aiming to prove their potential once again. City of Oxford, RGS High Wycombe, American School London and Thames RC will also have their eyes on a spot in the final at the very least, so we can be sure of some very good racing in the smaller boats after the excitement of the Saturday has worn off.


PREDICTION

The two standout crews in this event are Nottingham who have already shown their speed this season, and Glasgow who have pedigree in not only this event, but at World Championship level. Because of their ergo advantage, I expect Nottingham to take the gold, however it will be very close racing for the medals and Glasgow won’t be far off at all. The race for Bronze is where it gets even more interesting, as almost any of the other crews in the final could take it. I’ll take a punt and predict Windsor Boys’ to just take it, as both of their athletes showed similar speed at GB small boats regatta, with both athletes racing in the A final – an achievement no other club in this event was able to match.

FootSteerer

FootSteerer