Pairs Head 2016 – WJ18 2x


Pairs Head is the first big head race of the 2016/2017 season, and with 29 crews entered into the J18 2x category, I think it will provide some exciting racing. The 4,800m course, running from Harrods Wall to Chiswick, may prove tricky for some crews, especially those who don’t know this stretch of river well, so bows will have to be alert, and try to steer the best course, as this may provide a crucial advantage over others. The crews following are those with strong results over the last season, who will be looking for top 10 rankings on the day.



Henley have entered 2 crews to this category, Morgan/Kay and Redman/Barter, and given the high standard throughout the club, I think these girls will be tough competition in this event.

Morgan/Kay looks to be their top boat, with both girls putting in some strong performances at trials, and Kay representing GB at Coupe last season, coming away with silver and bronze in the 4+, and both girls came 2nd in Champ 4+ at National Schools last year. Both girls were also in Henley’s top boat at Henley Royal, making it to the final 8 crews in the Diamond Jubilee Cup, demonstrating skill in both sweep and sculling. These girls clearly have a wealth of experience behind them, and will definitely be gunning for the top spot.

Redman/Barter are another example of the Henley’s quality of rowing through the squad. Barter was in the winning crew in both J16 2nd quads and J16 8+ at NSR, and Redman coming in 5th in Champ 8+, and at Brit Champs, both girls achieved bronze in Henley’s Champ 8+. Although this crew is younger, and slightly lacking in the experience Morgan/Kay have, I am excited to see how they compare to the other Henley crew, and think these girls will be able to put in a good performance, aiming for the top crews.



Marlow also have 2 crews entered, both looking pretty level judging from past results.

Dean/Bird have each achieved good results in national events, Dean winning bronze in J18 2- at NSR (alongside Matthews in Marlow’s other boat), and Bird (assuming this is Abbie Bird, who rowed for Maidenhead last year) coming 5th in J18 4x and 4th in Champ 8+ at Brit Champs (both racing for Marlow). This will likely be quite a new combination, but I suspect given these results, these girls are capable of a strong run down the course, and think they will be going after Henley for one of the top spots.

Matthews/Fennell also share some solid national results, both girls coming 4th in Champ 8+ at NSR, and 6th in the 4- at Brit Champs. As I mentioned before, Matthews was also in the 2- with Dean coming 3rd at NSR. This crew seem to be a similar standard to their other crew, so it’s difficult to predict who will be faster. However, I think both crews will be capable of getting into the top 5 crews in this event.



Another club with 2 boats entered, St Paul’s have generally stuck to sweep, getting some strong results at NSR and Brit Champs, so I’m excited to see how their sculling compares.

Cowan/Lawless both competed in St Pauls’ Champ 8+ at NSR, coming in 7th, with Lawless also winning bronze in Champ 4- at the event. She also came 5th in the J18 4- at Brit Champs, with Cowan coming 6th in J16 1x, which will put her in good stead coming into J18 racing. These girls definitely have experience behind them, in both sweep and sculling, and should be ranked in the top 10 crews in this category.

Kirkpatrick/Valt look to be the faster of these 2 crews. Both were also racing in the 8+ that came 7th at NSR, and both also won bronze in Champ 4- at NSR. At Brit Champs, Valt came 5th in J18 2-, and Kirkpatrick also came 5th in J18 4-. Although both are more experienced in sweep, I reckon they’ll be able to also come away with a place in the top 10.

Both crews have the advantage of experience on this stretch of water, and if they can steer the course right, they can definitely shave some seconds of their overall time.



The first Emanuel boat has Rafferty and Thomas in it. These two girls were in an Emanuel Boat last year that won the Girls4+ category at Nationals. In addition, Thomas won the B-final on the ChG4x. The other boat has Hayes and Sutton, who both were in the ChG4x at Nationals, with Hayes in the Girls4+ boat as well. Sutton placed 6th in the WJ18 double at Pairs Head last year with a different partner, and should be looking at placing similarly or better. Both boats look strong, and have the advantage of training right on the course, so they should both place well, and I suspect Rafferty/Thomas could work their way up to the top crews.



Thames placed 3rd in this event last year, as well as 3rd at Nationals last spring in the ChG2x. The boat has Knight returning, a strong sculler in the trials process last season, who won a J17 title in the single at the Junior Sculling Regatta last spring. Her partnership with Munyard should produce a combination at least as fast as last year, and both girls were in the Thames crew that competed at Henley Royal. They also have good experience on this portion of the Tideway, training out of Putney Embankment, so should have a steering advantage.



This exact combo of Swiatoniowski and Bird (assuming Bird is L. Bird) placed 9th overall at Nationals last spring in the ChG2x, and 8th in J18 4x at Brit Champs. If ‘Bird’ is actually Abbie Bird, the boat should be a bit faster, given that Abbie Bird is an accomplished J18 with a particularly strong erg score. Either way, both girls should have experience rowing together, although they may struggle with the Tideway Course.



Globe could be a surprise crew this year. Both girls, Samuel and Laukyte, were in the crew won 3rd place in the J16G4x at Nationals last spring, and last year at Pairs Head, they placed 5th in the J16 category. Samuel also performed well at J16 trials last season, and both will be looking to keep up with the other J18 girls. As J17s they should be looking to keep getting strong results, although this category should be challenging for them. They are also used to training at Royal Albert Docks, so may find it tough steering on the Tideway course.



City of Oxford has three crews and they could produce some surprises. Two of the doubles (Clempson/Stretton and Coleman/Millard) are made up on the J16G4x that got 4th at Nationals last spring, 2 seconds behind Globe. These J17s will be looking to beat Globe and prove themselves among the younger crews. They also have what is probably an older crew comprised of two girls from their ChG4x at Nationals last Spring, a boat that got 5th in the C final, or 19th overall at Nationals. The J17s will probably be looking to challenge these older girls, and each other, and should be looking to place well.


Predictions for the top 3 are;

Henley (Morgan/Kay)

Marlow (Dean/Bird)

Henley (Redman/Barter)

However, I suspect this will be a tight race, with a lot of crews gunning for those top spots.

Good luck to all crews racing!