Women’s Head of the River 2017 – Junior Eights

With the WEHORR draw featuring every single one of the crews I’d expect to be the most competitive in WJ18 8+ at SHORR, this will be the first proper chance some of these clubs will get to see how they rank against their closest rivals.

Headington A

With a second placing finish at WEHORR last year behind a foreign crew, Headington will no doubt be gunning for the win, as well as being favourites for it. Whilst their first eight has not raced much this season, having won ChG8+ at National Schools Regatta for the past 8 years, as well as an impressive top 10 placing at WEHORR in 2016, Headington will be looking to dominate the junior category. However a recent performance at Reading Head may be concerning for the Headington girls, as they only finished 0.4 seconds ahead of their strong rivals Henley, and whilst this was in different divisions, it is still likely the results will be tight on Saturday.

 

Henley A

Henley have proven their strength already this season, taking the win in both junior categories at Four’s Head in November. Since then Henley have raced mainly their B boat, but raced their top 8 at Reading this weekend to put in an impressive performance for the win in WIM1 8+, with a time not dissimilar to Headington’s.  Although there is potentially injury preventing their top 8 girls racing this weekend, Henley have already shown their remarkable depth. Their matched 8s performed well at Wallingford, where they would’ve taken the top 2 placings in WJ18 + had they been entered in the same category. Henley will be looking to rival Headington for the top spot on Saturday.

 

Marlow A

Marlow’s first eight raced for what I believe is the first time this year at Reading Head, and put in a fairly strong result, finishing 13 seconds behind Henley’s A crew and well ahead of Henley’s B crew. With some other strong results this season including bronze in WJ184x+ at Head of the Charles, and a second place finish in quads at Fours Head, Marlow will most likely be aiming for a top 3 finish, and their results suggest that they should be more than capable of this, especially with LEH’s top eight entered into another category.

 

SPGS A

SPGS have had a strong head season this year, with solid performances at Wallingford and more recently Quintin, where they were a close 6s behind the Henley B crew. Breaking the course record for 2nd place in WJun4+ at Fours Head, SPGS have shown they have a strong top end of sweep girls. Despite a slightly disappointing performance in their last race in the 8 at Hampton, SPGS have still had recent success when racing fours, as well as winning Hammersmith Head in a quad this weekend. After illness within the crew, some key members will be returning to field a top 8 for the first time this season, so they will be hoping to close up the margins on the faster crews on Saturday.

 

Becket

Becket have had a solid season so far, with wins at Hampton Head and Head of the Trent in their eight, and one of their bow siders, Rachel Heap, was also in the winning composite pair at GB Feb trials. However Becket haven’t yet raced many of the strongest junior girls eights this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how they stand against some tougher competition. Based off their Fours Head and Scullers Head results however, I would guess that they don’t quite have the depth to challenge the fastest crews but Becket should still rank highly.

 

Henley B

Despite being a second eight, Henley B have still had a very successful season so far. With some of the girls in the crew coming from Henley’s WJ168+ which won Nat Schools last year, these girls will still be looking to put out a very strong performance this weekend, ahead of many club’s first eights. With a win at Quintin Head and a second place finish at Hampton Head, just 5 seconds behind Becket, these girls will be looking to up their game this weekend and it’s very possible Henley’s second eight could still end up ranking in the top 5.

 

Godolphin

Godolphin had a strong top four last year, winning silver in girls’ coxed fours on the Saturday of Nat Schools last year. This year they’ve been focussing more on their eight, even taking it to Head of the Charles in October. However Godolphin finished quite a way off Becket at Wallingford Head, and also got beaten by St Paul’s Girls’ and Henley B at Quintin Head, so it’ll take a lot from these girls to finish with the fastest crews on Saturday.

 

Putney

Putney’s focus this year has, like Godolphin, shifted from a four to an eight, and whilst their results so far haven’t been particularly strong, such as a 6th place finish in WJ18 8+ at Hampton Head, Putney are still fairly close to some of the faster second crews, and having finished just 3.5 seconds behind Headington B at Reading Head, it’ll be interesting to see if Putney are able to close the margin this weekend.

 

Headington B/C

These crews are presumably Headington’s J16 and second eights. Headington sent a huge squad to Head of the Charles this year, and definitely have more depth within their senior squad than last year. However Headington’s ‘B’ crew entered at Reading Head finished a good 19 seconds behind Henley B, and if this result is Headington’s second eight’s, then it’s unlikely they’ll be the fastest B crew racing on Saturday. With their current J16s winning bronze at Nat Schools last summer too, I also doubt that this crew will threaten any of the top placings, however with Headington often bumping up some J16s to row with their seniors, it’ll be interesting to see how their J16s do.

 

Emanuel 

Emanuel seem to have raced in mixed 8s so far this season, but have a good history in sweep boats with a win in coxed fours at NSR last year. However, their depth may still not be quite strong enough to be competitive in the 8, as they have not been able to match the speed of some of the stronger crews so far this year at Hampton and Quintin.

 

Surbiton

Similarly to Emmanuel, Surbiton appear to have raced in mixed 8s in the early part of the season. Again, they may not be able to compete with the top crews, but they will be looking to improve on a respectable 5th place at Hampton Head, in addition to 5th and 6th at Quintin in presumably matched boats.

 

LEH B

This crew could either be a J16 or 2nd 8, but either would still expect to be among the middle of the pack. Last year, the LEH J15 boat won the B final, so this may not be their strongest year, however, they appear to have made large improvements, being only a second behind Headington for 2nd place at Hampton this year. Equally, what appears to be half of the LEH 2nd8+ mixed with half of the 1st8+ were 4th at Hampton Head, and were faster than some other top boats at NSR last year, and so will be looking to chase some of the other clubs’ top and second eights.

 

LEH A 

LEH (entered in Intermediate) don’t appear to have raced their top 8 yet this season, with the exception of Hammersmith Head, where no other WJ18 8+ were entered, so their performance this weekend will be interesting as we draw closer to SHORR. Their decent results across the smaller boat classes on their home water at Hampton Head, as well as 3rd in WJun4x and WJun4+ at Fours Head, would indicate another strong squad this year. They appeared to prioritise a top quad at Hampton, placing 4th in a very competitive category. Notably, their top triallist Celia Matthews raced at Coupe last year as a J16 and will be racing for a spot in the sweep squad at Spring Assessments. Following a bronze in 8s at NSR last year, this crew will be hoping to be strong translating their work in small boats into the 8.

Prediction:

  1. Headington
  2. Henley
  3. Marlow
Pairs Matrix