School’s Head 2017 – Girls 1st Eights

Whilst not quite reaching the speed of most of the champ girls eights, over the years girls sweep has found more and more depth, leading to many crews of similar speed. With lots of small margins at recent Head races, competition will tight and should lead to some interesting results.

 

St Paul’s Girls’ School

After a disappointing result last year, finishing just 1 second off Pangbourne to come 2nd in first eights, SPGS have had a much better start to the season this year. Despite some fluctuating results in their eight earlier in the season before they had a set crew, SPGS had a strong 4th place finish in junior eights at WEHORR, although they also only finished 0.1 seconds ahead of Henley B, which should lead to some close racing on Thursday.

 

Henley B

This year Henley has proven they have huge depth in their squad and although this is their B crew, that isn’t to say they won’t be posting a fast time. They won WJ18 8+ at Quintin Head and were 2ndat Hampton Head, ahead of many clubs’ first boats. Last weekend at WEHORR they placed 5th-very impressive for a second boat- and only 0.1 seconds behind SPGS. However, they appeared to have a J16 sub who may have given them some additional speed considering they gained a lot of ground on Becket between Hampton and WEHORR. I expect them to challenge SPGS for the top spot on Thursday.

 

Headington B

Despite a good result in their first eight at WEHORR this year, both the 2nd eight and their 16s failed to reach the standard of their 2nd eight/ J16 boat from last year. Having said this, Headington B only finished 10 seconds behind SPGS and Henley A, so if a lot of progress has been made over the past week then Headington B could potentially also be challenging for the top spot.

 

LEH B

The LEH B crew raced at WEHORR last weekend under LEH A, where they placed a respectable 69th overall and would’ve been 10th in junior. They were still a fair bit slower than some of the other crews entered in 1st eights, being just under 30 seconds behind the likes of SPGS and Henley B, so will probably be aiming to get a bit closer to the other B crews and will be somewhere in the middle of the pack.

 

Surbiton High

Surbiton finished 19 seconds behind SPGS and Henley B at WEHORR, a margin that is most likely too big to make up in such a short space of time. Having said this, a lot of girls eights have had similar margins behind these two crews at various races, and having had a lot of practise racing on the tideway this season Surbiton will certainly be looking to work their way towards the top.

 

Pangbourne College

Pangbourne were last years’ 1st eight winners, narrowly beating SPGS by 1 second. They made an appearance at Reading Head, finishing 30 seconds behind Henley B. Especially considering the higher standard of crews in this category compared to last year they will certainly struggle to hold onto their title.

 

Sir William Borlase

Borlase have had some increasing success in recent years, notably an impressive 2nd place in WJun4+ at Four’s Head in 2015.  However, this season has not started quite as well, taking 8th in both junior fours and quads there this year. They don’t seem to have raced the eight yet this season but I don’t expect it will be as strong as last year, where they entered champ eights and placed 7th at SHORR.

 

Great Marlow School

Great Marlow School finished 15 seconds behind Henley B over the 15 minute Reading Head course, but this is still an improvement on their Hampton Head result where they were 20 seconds slower over a shorter course. Whilst I doubt GMS will win this category, with the progress they’re making they could certainly finish towards the top.

Predictions:

  1. SPGS
  2. Henley B
  3. Headington B
Pairs Matrix