Chester Long Distance Sculls 2017 – WJ18 1x

It is fairly safe to assume this will be the first race of the season for these girls at Chester Long Distance Sculls this weekend. This will be a good opportunity to test how much fitness they’ve held onto through the off-season over the 5000m course.

 

Merchant Taylors’ School – Murgatroyd

Murgatroyd placed 3rd in WJ17 singles at this event last year and it will be interesting to see how she fares this time around. Merchant Taylors aren’t one of the well-known schools on the junior rowing circuit, tending to enter more of the smaller events. She was a little way off the pace of some of the well established scullers in this category- notably Dooley- at last year’s Agecroft Head, so may struggle to find herself in the top placings this weekend.

 

Northwich RC – Wolstencroft

Northwich have had a successful last few years in junior girls’ sculling with their stand-out athlete Beth Willford-Dutton, who competed two years running at Coupe, as well as at Munich International Regatta last spring. Wolstencroft was part of their junior quad who were 3rd fastest non-qualifiers in the very competitive Diamond Jubilee event at HRR last summer, so she will definitely have some decent racing experience. Although she didn’t trial last year, she was previously in the top 20 of the J16s at February Trials, so may have the potential to put in a strong performance.

 

Merchant Taylors’ School – Almond

Almond appears to have raced a little more frequently than her teammate Murgatroyd last season, placing 6th in the B final of WJ18 1x at the British Junior Championships and reaching the quarter-finals of junior singles at Henley Women’s Regatta last summer, being knocked out by Dooley. She was also the fastest female sculler of the event, racing in the elite category, at Chester Regatta. I’d expect her to be reaching the top few placings this weekend.

 

King’s School Chester – Groome

Kings School Chester- like Northwich- also had success at Coupe this year for junior girls, with Amelia Standing racing to win the coxless fours on both days. They seem to have stuck mainly to sweep last summer, with Groome racing as part of the composite eight that progressed to the quarter finals at HWR and the coxed four at National Schools that just missed out on the A final. It will be interesting to see how she finds racing in a sculling boat, but may fall short of some of the more experienced scullers.

 

Agecroft – Dooley

Dooley had a very successful season last year. At NSR she reached the semi finals in an undeniably stacked Championship Girls Singles category, but appeared to really step on through the latter half of regatta season. She put in a strong performance at HWR, losing out by a length in the final to top Exeter sculler Phoebe Campbell, who went on to race in the Junior Worlds quad in Trakai.  Back in July, she took a commanding win at the British Junior Championships, finishing 10s clear of the silver medal winning sculler. She is certainly the one to watch in this category, and I’d be surprised if she didn’t take the win.

 

Royal Shrewsbury School – Hallsworth

Hallsworth trialled last year for a spot in the national sculling squad, but was not quite able to challenge the top junior girls, reaching the D final at April Trials. Similarly to Dooley, she raced at HWR where she reached the quarter finals, as well as the British Junior Championships where she placed 5th of the junior girls scullers. She was not quite able to match Dooley’s pace last summer, but in this early part of the season it’s all to play for and she may be able to get closer to her here.

 

Royal Chester – Hanlon

I can’t find any recent results for Hanlon, so it is difficult to guess her speed relative to the other entries here. However, this will be her home stretch of water and I am sure will be using the familiarity to her advantage on Sunday.

 

 

Predictions:

Almond, Dooley and Hallsworth to take the top placings, with Dooley taking the win.

 

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The featured image was taken from http://warringtonrowing.org.uk/gallery/

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