School’s Head 2017 – J16 Champ Girls Eights

With many J16 girls eights not making the trip down to the tideway for WEHORR, some of the stronger entries in this category have not yet had a chance to face off since National Schools Regatta last summer, which should lead to some more surprising results.

Latymer

With a solid win with clear water at Nat Schools last year, there is no doubt that Latymer are the favourites to win this event. With recent successes coming seemingly out of nowhere for both their younger boys and girls squads, Latymer will be looking to assert their dominance over the other crews in this category on the lead up to SHORR, and without the usually dominating girls from Henley RC this should be very possible.

Marlow

It’s been hard to track down any results for the Marlow J16 eight, however, judging by their performances in junior girls sweep over the past couple of years I’d expect this Marlow eight to be a strong one. They did race a J15 coxed quad at Nat Schools last summer which didn’t do particularly well, coming 5th in their semi, but with Marlow NSR medals in J16 girls categories for the past couple of years I can’t imagine this crew will be bad.

Emanuel

With a 4th place finish at Nat Schools last year, Emanuel will undoubtedly be aiming to improve on their performance from last year to creep up into the medals. Having said this, it has also been hard to find results of Emanuel’s J16s this season due to them toying with a senior eight, and with many clubs often struggling to keep their depth between J15 and J16, Emanuel’s 8+ might not be as strong as it was.

St Edwards

Despite a weak senior girls squad last year, St Edwards did manage to make the final of J15 girls eights implying that they’re investing more time into their younger girls. If this is the case, St Edwards will be looking to build off their result from last year to have a strong feature at the first major race of the year.

Enniskillen Royal Boat Club (Ireland)

The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School was set up at the start of this academic year in Northern Ireland by merging two local schools including Portora- a much more familiar name in the junior rowing circuit here. At the Irish Championships last summer they placed 2nd in WJ16 eights showing their potential in this age category, but there doesn’t appear to be a J15 category in which this particular crew would’ve raced in. They therefore may not have a lot of experience which is of course very important when faced with the notoriously tricky SHORR course.

SPGS
SPGS have gone from strength to strength in recent years, and with a bronze NSR medal in WJ16 eights back in 2015, they have shown their depth is starting to stretch down to younger age groups. This crew won WJ16 8+ at Quintin Head in January showing they definitely have the potential to put in a fast time over their home course. At Hampton, albeit in a crew which appeared to have some subs, they weren’t quite able to keep up with the fastest boats and similarly at WEHORR they performed well, but will need to work to close the margin on some strong crews from HSOBC and LEH. However, if they use their tideway experience to their advantage again and put in a good race, they could certainly be up there in the rankings.

LEH
LEH are a school who have consistently performed well across all age groups. At last summer’s NSR, their WJ15 boat won the B final, so this may not be their strongest age group. However, they seem to have improved a lot and have had a much more successful winter this year, being only 1 second short of a fast Headington crew to take 2nd place at Hampton. At WEHORR, they put in a good performance to place just outside of the top 100 and less than 20 seconds off the HSOBC crew. They will be aiming to chase them down to close this margin on Thursday.

HSOBC
Headington are always a dominant force in junior girls’ rowing. In some years, we have seen them bump up talented J16s to race with their senior squad and thus weakening this age category, but this crew seem to be very strong. They took the WJ16 8+ win at Hampton with LEH close behind, but they look to have extended this margin at WEHORR where they placed 85th overall; unquestionably impressive for such a young crew. They will be the ones to beat going into SHORR on Thursday.
Predictions:

  1. Latymer
  2. Headington
  3. Emanuel
Pairs Matrix