Henley Womens’ Regatta 2017- Junior Fours

Quads are normally the priority boat for most clubs this close to Henley Royal Regatta, but the Groton School Challenge Cup is a great opportunity for those who don’t have enough depth to field eights to compete at a high profile event in sweep boats. The draw features many of the A finalists from coxed fours at the National Schools Regatta so there should be plenty of quality racing this weekend.

Becket School

A newly established club on the rowing scene, Becket improved a lot over the course of the season to unexpectedly take the bronze medal in Championship Eights at NSR. Half of the crew entered here went on to be part of the bronze medalling coxless four on the Sunday, so they will be looking to be competitive here. However, they’re missing a key member of the crew in their top sweeper Rachel Heap, who won pairs at both Feb trials and Aprils, so they may struggle slightly with this loss of speed.

Henley RC

Whilst unable to catch Headington, Henley have had a strong season so far, being very close runners-up on countless occasions. They broke the course record at Fours Head and despite relatively slow conditions at NSR, they broke the long-standing championship eights course record alongside Headington; an outstanding achievement for both eights.  This crew has only had one change from their coxless four which won gold at National Schools and undoubtedly they will be looking to take the title here on their home stretch of river.

Surbiton High School

Surbiton have had varying success in recent years and have a strong younger squad at the moment, but they look to be lacking in depth in the older age groups. Having said this, they have still been competitive in smaller categories and were the bronze medalists in coxed fours at NSR. With some more fast crews entered here, they will likely have stiffer competition, which will make for some exciting racing.

Latymer Upper

Latymer have spent the majority of this season racing in two quads, but it looks like their B quad at HWR contains some of their J16s and this four contains some of the J18 B quad from National Schools. Their decision to switch to the four is interesting, and if they have been sculling for most of the year they may find it difficult to now transition into sweeping. With their B quad placing 4th in the C final at NSR, they will have their work cut out to keep up with the more seasoned sweepers in this event.

Marlow RC 

It’s perhaps a surprise to see Marlow entering a double and a four-the same as their NSR entry- rather than a quad here. They had good form in the early part of the season, with a bronze medal in WJ184x+ at Head of the Charles and a 2nd placed finish at Four’s Head. They last raced the quad at the Junior Sculling Regatta, where they were beaten to silver by SPGS, and since then have opted to wait to race the quad until HRR. This combination were 5th in coxless fours at NSR, quite a way off the pace of the likes of Henley, but they may still be of a similar speed to some of the crews racing in coxed fours.

Godolphin and Latymer

Godolphin started the season racing the eight, but with such a high standard of eights, they decided to switch to the four from School’s Head onwards. This definitely proved to be the right decision for them, as they have had a lot of success in this category, winning coxed fours at both SHORR and NSR this year. Half of this four also took the gold medal in pairs at National Schools, so they certainly have the sweep ability within this crew. To some extent they will be the crew to beat this weekend, but with other strong entries from crews they haven’t yet raced they may face some strong challenges, particularly NSR coxless four winners Henley.

St. George’s College and George Heriot’s 

St George’s and George Heriot’s didn’t appear to race at School’s Head, but were 4th and 5th respectively at National Schools. Only a 2 second margin separated them in the final, so they look to be of a very similar standard. With lots of focus on the coxed four summer, this time training will have been invaluable and  both crews will be aiming to prove themselves against clubs who they haven’t raced so far this season.

St. Paul’s School (USA) and Merion Mercy Academy (USA)

St. Paul’s School have entered an eight, which I would imagine is their top crew, so the standard of this four will be a test of their depth. Merion Mercy came over to race at School’s Head, which was without a doubt a disappointment given the terrible conditions. Their eight finished only 5 seconds behind Headington at the Head of the Charles, and assuming this is their top four girls, I would expect them to be of a very high standard.

Bedford Girls School and Kingston Grammar School both missed out on the A final at NSR, with Cheltenham College placing a little slower in the time trial to go on and win the C final. St Andrew BC don’t appear to have raced much this year so it is hard to gauge their speed. These crews will likely struggle against some of these stronger entries.

Prediction:

Semi Finals to be:
– Godolphin and Latymer
– Henley RC
– Becket
– Merion Mercy

With Henley RC to win.

Pairs Matrix