Henley Royal Regatta 2017 – Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup

As the racing season draws to a close, we reach the most prestigious event of the season, and for these 16 quads, it’s a shot at the Diamond Jubilee title. Since this is the only junior girls event, it really shows the best of junior girls rowing, and promises some great racing over the course of the week.

The one on one style of Henley Royal makes racing a fairly cutthroat experience, so these girls will definitely be feeling the pressure. It is vital that they can keep their composure across the whole course, not panic if they are down, or get complacent if they have a lead. As we saw in the Visitors final last year, the race isn’t over until you cross the line.

 

HENLEY B VS HEADINGTON B

A race between the B boats of 2 of the strongest clubs in girls rowing has the potential to be a pretty exciting watch. Both crews raced at qualifiers, and being B boats, it’s hard to compare past results, so it really does depend on which club has the most depth throughout their squad. I think this could be a Henley win, as they’ve consistently finished high in multiple categories at national events, medaling in the 4+, 4x, 8+, and 2nd 4x at NSR. With this being their home turf also, it might just be the advantage they need. I’d expect some good racing in this heat.

Verdict – 1/2 length to Henley

 

MARLOW V GLOUCESTER

Given Gloucester’s recent win at HWR, and a pretty dominant track record at Henley Royal, this should be a confident win for the Gloucester girls. Marlow raced a quad at the Junior Sculling Regatta, coming 2nd to St Pauls. Although this wasn’t their fastest girls, there were still a lot of top crews missing at this event, so Marlow could struggle against the Gloucester girls.

Verdict – 3+ lengths to Gloucester

 

GLASGOW VS BECKET A

Last season, Glasgow Academy had an impressive quad throughout the season, coming 2nd at NSR and winning HWR, however this year, they haven’t had the same presence in junior quads, without any notable national results. Becket have done almost the exact opposite, almost coming from nowhere to bronze in Champ 8s, Ch 4- and 5th in Ch 4x, and now 2 crews qualified to HRR. I think Becket proceed to win this heat, however, Glasgow could be a bit of a surprise.

Verdict – 1 length to Becket

 

GLOBE VS HEADINGTON A

Headington have had a great season, with a 10 second win at NSR in the quad, and just losing to Tideway Scullers in the final of Senior quads at HWR. Although Globe have made good progress this season in their quad, they were 13th at NSR, so this should be a clear win for Headington.

Verdict – 3+ lengths to Headington

 

HENLEY A VS ST PAULS

This is the only heat between 2 prequalified crews, however Henley A do look like the stronger crew. These crews both competed in the NSR final, with Henley in 2nd, 18 seconds ahead of St Pauls in 6th, as well as racing at HWR, with Henley winning by 2 lengths. Since the Henley crew could be a different combination, given they’re winning 4+ at HWR, I think Henley will be able to put in a substantial lead on St Pauls.

Verdict – 3+ lengths to Henley

 

BECKET B VS BEDFORD MODERN

At NSR, Becket beat Bedford by 4 seconds, and although it is the B boat, I think the NSR crew was missing some of the top Becket girls racing the 4-, and will likely be a similar crew. If so, this could be a tight race, however Becket have shown they have a strong finish over a 2k course, so they may be able to pip this race coming past the enclosures.

Verdict – 1 length to Becket

 

LATYMER UPPER VS GODOLPHIN

Latymer have had a consistently strong season in quad racing, topped off with 3rd at NSR, whereas Godolphin have stuck to sweep, with wins in Girls 4+ and 2- at NSR, as well as making the final in J4+ at HWR. Although Latymer should be the favourites, and have had more experience in quad racing, Godolphin have a lot of strength behind them and could be a bit of a threat to Latymer, so I’m excited to see how this race pans out.

Verdict – 1-2 lengths to Latymer

 

ISLE OF ELY VS LADY ELANOR HOLLES

Given Isle of Ely’s prequalification, and as they made the final at HWR last weekend, this should certainly be a win for them. LEH have worked well to put together a strong quad, despite mainly being in sweep boats most the year, including 2nd and 4th at NSR in Ch 4-. However, Isle of Ely’s strength was shown at HWR, putting them in a comfortable position against LEH.

Verdict – 3+ lengths to Isle of Ely

 

Predictions for the final;

Interestingly, the 2 crews I would have expected to final (Gloucester and Headington), would hypothetically meet in the semi-final. Although this would be a tough race and likely a close result, I think Gloucester would come out on top, and proceed to race Isle of Ely in the final. Like in the HWR final, I think Gloucester will take the win, and hold their title for a 4th year.

 

Good Luck to all crews racing!

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