Pairs Head 2016 – J18 2-

This category is steeped in GB returners, Henley winners and Championship eight winners. Pairs Head acts as the first shake up for the big schools and is one of the best form indicators for later races – previous winners have gone to achieve success at some of the most significant events of the year. However it is worth noting that whilst this race is important, schools may not necessarily prioritise it and there is no way of telling if certain schools have trained hard the week prior. For example Eton may have done a flat out 5k test on Friday, thus leaving highly sore legs the next day (possibly an extreme example but you see what I mean). So, with that disclaimer out the way, onto the predictions:

Westminster- Green/ Mitchell

These rowers not only come from the GB factory that is Westminster, but are products of said factory. Both competed at the Junior Worlds last year in the Coxed Four. Whilst there are other worlds returners of a possible higher caliber, none of the other pairs have two returners. These rowers also have home water advantage and, with this, are favorites to take the win.

Eton- Drinkall/ Hall

Drinkall is a not only a worlds returner with a bronze medal, but also has a Henley win on his palmarès. Whilst his partner may not quite have the CV to match, he has still represented GB in the GB France eight, where he helped take home the win. However Eton rarely row on rivers, let alone the tideway, so if conditions turn rough then an upset may occur.

St Pauls- Benzecry/ Parr

Benzecry is the brother of Seb, a junior world oarsman and former Henley winner. However his partner, Parr, whilst coming 2nd in J16 Championship eights, did not make the GB France four. Good steering on home water may redeem his previous performance and might see them taking the podium.

Eton- Pearson/ Mombru

Yet another returner from the worlds eight is Pearson, unfortunately the repetition of this feat means that that might not carry as much weight as usual. Again, like the St Pauls pair, he could be hampered by his partner who, whilst finishing a credible 3rd in 2nd eights at national schools, could be slightly out of his league amongst this field.

Tideway Scullers- Dunn Jonas/ Hatteland

This is my wildcard entry for the top five. Jonas is a Coupe returner (coxless four) who is likely to be just below the worlds standard. Jonas is also a top-class sculler, having rowed to a 5th place in Championship singles at National Schools’ Regatta. In light of this, I believe that he and his partner will be able to pull out a row against the odds, possibly in highly rough water that will take them right into the top echelon of results.

With such an array of high class entrants, it is easy to have possibly overlooked a crew who may break into the top five. But podium position is, barring capsize, probably going to go to the Westminster pair of Green and Mitchell.