National Schools’ Regatta 2017 – J16 Coxless Fours

A highly competetive event that, due to the quirks of the build-up races, is the first time that we will have seen J16s race coxless fours. It will be interesting too see how some crews handle the extra responsibility of steering these nimble boats, which can be hard to master for the more inexperienced steersmen. It is also the opportunity for a school to complete the prestigious J16 double; that is winning J16 Championship eights on the Saturday and J16 coxless fours on the Sunday. Last year Hampton managed to pull this off (with some help from a crab by the leading Windsor Boys crew) and the field is open for another school to repeat this.

St Pauls

ST Pauls look like they are trying to win both the pair and the four on the Sunday, by leaving their top guy Oliver Parish in this four and placing Doyle and Eaton in the pair. Parish has been making a name for himself in the GB trials system but a boat is only as strong as its weakest member, whilst this is not meant to slur any of the St Pauls boys, it will be interesting to have possibly not a top four against top fours from some of the other schools. Either way, a four from St Pauls at Wallingford won their heat convincingly and by virtue of the fastest heat time, won the event overall as well. These boys come out a very classy eight and will take some beating.


A top boat from Hampton and one which has shown very good speed at Wallingford. Whilst they did not place well when heat times were used to decide the winners, this may be due to their winning margin of 30 seconds in their heat and their considerably low rate of striking as they crossed the line. Whilst their eight has not looked as convincing in the recent Nott City regatta, these boys are the top four from that eight making them a separate force. They might not be tipped by everyone to win this event, I reckon that if they get it right they’ll be in with a shout.


There are questions surrounding the status of this four in regard to their pair, but for arguments sake lets assume that they are a top four. Recent form in their eight at Nott City shows that they will be very competitive on Sunday, and strong results at Wallingford back up this performance. It is unusual to see Radley J16s, they normally merge with their seniors, and their choice to enter a four shows that they must set some store in this year.


Eton raced at top 4+ SHORR, and it is not such a leap of faith to assume that this four as roughly the same people as that boat. They did not race against the same class of opposition as they face here but the extra time they will have had in a top four could see them in good stead amongst other crews which are more often than not thrown together in the final few weeks in the build up to national schools. Their form hasn’t set the world on fire in the early  season races but never underestimate Eton’s ability to put out a good top four.


Westminster’s form is something of an unknown this year as they have not raced from SHORR to national schools. The J16 eight came third at SHORR behind Hampton and St Pauls and if they have kept or maintained this kind of speed then their top four will be fast. In recent years Westminster have done very well in this event, but their lack of racing prior to this makes them dark horses to take the win.


This school has been investing a lot in their rowing programme recently  (making rowing compulsory for 1 term plays a huge role) and this has been rewarded by increasingly strong results. They topped the medal table at national schools last year (with some help from their girls programme) and they have lots of new talent rising through the years. They have shown good form at the recent Nott City regatta and will look to cause an upset to take a medal in this event. They are very much the underdogs coming into this event but I feel they could surprise some people.