National Schools Regatta 2017 – Championship Girls Coxless Fours

Championship coxless fours provide a good opportunity for girls prioritising the eights on Saturday to race each other in smaller boats. With many smaller clubs entering first coxed fours on Saturday, this category mostly contains girls from the biggest clubs, and it will be interesting to see how the fours results compare to the eights.
Becket School
With two-time trial winning Rachel Heap at bow, this Becket four should be very competitive within this category. Whilst they haven’t really had an opportunity to race this four at any of the regattas down south, where most of the strongest crews in this category are located, they did come away with a win at Nottingham City Regatta and I’d expect this crew to be aiming for no less than a medal.
Marlow RC
Marlow placed 5th in this category last year, and will inevitably be looking to build on that result this year. Marlow don’t look to have done a top four, with half the girls in this boat winning a bronze in doubles and the other half a silver in quads at the junior sculling regatta, however Marlow have consistently proven that they have very good depth, which should still place this crew well in the mix for medalling on Sunday.
Henley RC
This appears to be a four half made up of members of their second eight, with Henley also entering a pair and a quad on the Sunday, but that is not to say they should be underestimated. Morgan has recently returned from Munich International Regatta, and she and Edwards were part of the four that broke the course record in WJ4+ at Four’s Head in November. Henley’s current squad have remarkable depth, and the results of their second eight would put them safely in the mix of the other first crews- an impressive achievement. Whilst Henley may not quite have the strength in this crew to win the fours, I still wouldn’t be surprised if they crept into the medals.
Bedford Girls’ School
Alongside this crew, Bedford has also entered a coxed four on the Saturday with this combination racing coxless on the Sunday. They appear to have been racing in two fours rather than opting for the eight, racing both at the School’s Head, with one placing 4th and the other roughly 25 seconds behind to finish 10th. The coxed four combination came 6th at Four’s Head, so I would assume this is their B crew. Recently they also raced at Wallingford Regatta in junior coxed fours, but struggled to keep up with the pace and finished 8th. They should be able to use the practice on this course at Wallingford to good use with similar conditions forecast, but will probably not be able to rival the stronger crews.
Pangbourne College
Pangbourne haven’t had the best season so far, where they struggled in testing conditions at School’s Head and put in a relatively poor performance after winning first eights at SHORR in 2016. They don’t appear to have raced the four yet this season, but assuming this is the top half of their eight, they may find it easier to compete in a smaller boat compared to the clubs with better depth to field strong eights, so it will be interesting to see how they perform. At SHORR their eight was slower than Glasgow, but I would expect them to be fairly similar in speed and there will be some good racing between these crews.
Glasgow Academy
Glasgow were a somewhat surprise entry in girls’ championship eights with little reputation in the event, but they did race the eight at SHORR, where they were not up to the speed of the likes of Headington and Henley. Similarly to Pangbourne, if this is the top half of their eight they may well find it easier to compete in a smaller boat class, particularly considering the success of their quad last year where they were silver NSR medallists and Henley Women’s Regatta winners. This year their quad only placed 12th at the Junior Sculling Head, so not quite replicating last year’s success, but with their priory on sweep this year they will surely be looking to put in a solid performance at NSR.
LEH A, B and C
LEH’s top girls haven’t appeared at as many races this year as they normally do, but they have put down a number of markers in small boats at a few of the smaller head races this season. They had a good spread of results in various combinations on their local stretch at Hampton Head and were 3rd in both quads and fours at Four’s Head, before finishing 4th in WJ184x at the Scullery. Their top triallist Celia Matthews seems to be entered in a pair, but I would still expect the next best four combination here to be quick, and they will be looking to perform well after narrowly missing out on the medals last year. With LEH’s B four winning the B final in ChG4- last year, their second four should still be very competitive with some of the weaker crews too.

 

Monkton Combe
Monkton Combe haven’t appeared at that many races this year, however they did come 15th in WJ184x at the junior sculling regatta. Whilst this result would most likely imply that they will struggle to be particularly competitive within this category, they were only 12 seconds behind the Glasgow Academy quad. With Glasgow Academy having a much stronger reputation than Monkton Combe when it comes to sculling, these girls may find they have an edge sweeping and it should be a good race between Glasgow, Monkton Combe and Pangbourne even if they will struggle to be in the mix for the medals.
Headington

Whilst this crew is made up of girls from their second eight, it would be a mistake to underestimate them. Burn briefly raced with the Headington top VIII, and was a part of the crew that broke the junior record at WEHORR. On top of this, most if not all of the girls in this boat were also in the fairly successful Headington J16 quad last year, who finished second at Henley Women’s Regatta behind a strong Henley RC crew. Whilst the Headington second eight has been trailing Henley’s this year, these four girls have a lot of experience and will still no doubt put out a strong result on Sunday.
Prediction:
1. LEH
2. Becket
3. Marlow

Pairs Matrix