Schools’ Head 2017 – Second Eights

St Paul’s School have good depth and are sending nine rowers to the GB springs assessments meaning that one of these boys will be in their second 8+. St Paul’s have a strong J17 year group, and won this event last year. I would predict them to medal.

Hampton School won the second 8+ category at Hampton Head by a decent margin. They have good depth too and typically produce very fast second 8+s. They came second last year by three seconds, and will be hungry to take the title from St Paul’s.

Eton College put out two strong mixed 8+s at Hampton Head, both of which challenged the top 8+s of other schools. They raced at Trent and beat Shrewsbury’s top crew. This crew will challenge the likes of Paul’s and Hampton for the gold medal.

Shiplake College came 20s behind the St Paul’s second 8+ at Reading Head but will undoubtably have come along since then. They will be keen to prove that they can challenge the top schools at this stage of the season. I would predict them to come fourth, behind Eton, Hampton and Paul’s.

Abingdon School don’t seem to have done much racing this season, but it is clear from the performance of their “development” eight that raced at Henley last year, that they have a number of younger athletes who are perfectly able to compete at the top level.

Radley college are a young crew and seem to have struggled to keep up with the pace of some of the other schools this season, coming 35s behind Hampton’s second 8+ at Hampton Head. As is often the case for Radley crews, they are big and have some decent firepower in the form of Will Farrer-Brown, who is rumoured to have gone sub 6:30 as a J16.

Royal Shrewsbury School are strong at the top end of their squad, but will probably lack the depth to compete for the top few places in this event. They came 9th at last year’s Schools’ Head, and I don’t see that drastically changing this year.

Kings Chester – Despite beating Shrewsbury at last year’s Schools’ Head, they lost to the Royals by 40s at North of England Head, and will probably not challenge for the top places.

Reading Blue Coat School, Pangbourne College, Bedford School, Cantabrigian, Kings College School and Dulwich School all traditionally race for the Child Beale Cup – for first eight schools – at the National Schools’ Regatta. I struggle seeing any of these schools pushing into the top 5.