Pairs Head 2016 – J16 2x

A prestigious win in itself, this race often also gives insights into who will feature towards the sharp end of races in the new year. The category is playing host to a hefty 31 entries, with some of the big guns of junior rowing choosing to show their hand. I will proceed to preview (in no particular order) those who I think are in with a chance of winning the category, as well as those who could place well in the overall.

Dulwich College
Wolff/Hughes
Maclennan/Lockwood
Holmes/Robinson

All these boys raced across Dulwich’s J15 1st and 2nd eights and J15 coxed quads that failed to make an impact at National Schools. The home water advantage is perhaps worth considering though, and one should never write off a crew, particularly when an altercation with a buoy can scupper even the most promising of crews.

RGS High Wycombe

Bowker/Huntley
Forster/Hinves

Bowker and Huntey are racing up an age group here as J15s, having placed a respectable 4th together in J14 quads at NSR. The other duo here finished mid-pack in the J15 event. RGS are known to produce decent scullers, and sported a particularly tidy J16 contingent last year. Given these scullers’ past results though, I would predict a middling performance.

Globe RC

Sullivan/Bees
Watson-Gandy/Howard

Sullivan is presumably brother of Callum Sullivan, a powerful Globe sculler who capped off 2016 with selection for the mightily successful Coupe team. As a J15 joined with his older club-mates and Bees to win J16 quads at NSR; a noteworthy performance by all accounts. Watson-Gandy appears to be new to the club, but Howard took silver with the aforementioned oarsmen from the other double in J15 quads. The results speak for themselves here, and the Sullivan/Bees combination is definitely in contention to win here.

Westminster School
Baroudel/Santin Arcadu
Holle/Crosbie
Wagstaff/Davidon

As well as sporting some remarkable names, these Westminster boys have some pedigree. Most of them were in the J15 eight that came a close second behind St Paul’s at National Schools. Westminster’s rise to the uppermost ranks of junior rowing in recent years has been nothing short of meteoric, and these boys will be looking to continue that trend, not least with a view to putting one over on their rivals from a few kilometres upstream. These boys enjoyed the benefits of “Magic” Bill Mason’s coaching last year, and will no doubt be hoping to put on a show this Sunday.

St Paul’s School
Castronovo/Bektas
Beekenkamp/Horncastle
Gillard/Craig McFeely
Craig-McFeely/Banit

The McFeely twins, despite sounding like a Victorian music hall act, are in fact key members of the St Paul’s J16 squad, earning themselves a gold and a silver at NSR last year. The top four Paul’s rowers seem to be squaring up against the big boys in J18 pairs, but looking at the results, their J15 2nd eight still managed second at NSR, so there seems to be depth in the squad. It will be interesting to see if these boys can step up as J16s and continue their dominance from last year.

Walton RC
Philpott/Suphi
McMullan/Heywood

All the 2016 NSR J15 coxed quad medallists are racing here, and Walton took bronze on that occasion. Their J16s performed respectably last year, so there seems to be a good coaching system in place. They’ll be hoping to put in a good result, particularly against Bristol and Globe who bested them last year.

City of Bristol RC
Sinclair/Potter
Kilgour/Norris
Fletcher/Murphy

Sinclair and Potter took gold in the B event of J15 quads, with their more skilled teammates doing the same in the A event. It’s quite uncommon to see that sort of dominance, and it bodes well for them. COB don’t tend to rack up the wins, and are known as more of a recreational club. Such a performance however, is not to be sniffed at, and their coach will not have planned on wasting a journey up to London to put in a lacklustre performance.

Maidenhead have also put in an entry, but I suspect that it will be one of the above crews to take the win. My instincts tell me it will be Sullivan/Bees from the well-established Glove RC leaving with a pot, but should St Paul’s or Westminster acquit themselves particularly well to rowing with two oars an upset is possible. It’s still early doors for this season, but the Tideway should play host to a thoroughly engaging contest.

BlueCollars

BlueCollars