Wallingford Long Distance Sculls 2017 – J17 1x

For several crews, Wallingford is a chance to set a benchmark for the year ahead. This is especially important for scullers, as opposed to sweep clubs sculling in the winter. As expected in this category, there are several athletes who have acquired their first bit of GB kit which puts them ahead of some of their competitors. This is especially true in the case of St Paul’s, who have the highest number of ‘International Athletes’ present in this event.

 

St Paul’s School

This cohort enjoyed plenty of success over last season, and despite falling short at NSR and Henley Qualifiers, 5 members of their 8 last summer went on to a victory at the annual GB vs France match. Oliver Parish, Holden Eaton, and Albert Doyle were well known names before the summer and were all members of the coxed four that took gold at the GB vs France match. Thomas Horncastle was also a member of the four so should not be overlooked. St Paul’s may be known for their sweeping ability, but they were quite competitive in this category last year. Good results can be expected.

 

Lea Rowing Club

Both athletes entered raced at the GB vs France match in the double. Last year, Louis Powell and Jasper den Dulk were the second fastest J16 double at Wallingford Long Distance Sculls so Saturday will show who was really moving the boat. Any internal competition may have to be put aside, with Henley RC’s Balthasar Issa and Oliver Taylor being a close 3 places behind them at Brit Champs.

 

Henley RC

Henley has a reputation for producing strong junior crews, both male and female. The J17 cohort appears to be more sculling orientated. Their J18s and J16s frequently medal at NSR, so the 5 sent out may have some potential, especially with Balthasar Issa and Oliver Taylor possessing an NSR gold. These two scullers were therefore also part of the GB vs France quad, so it will be interesting to see how they move in singles. Nevertheless, sculling is the double’s speciality, so positions near the top can be expected. The others entered are relatively unknown, but as it is early in the season they cannot be written off. The two mentioned will certainly be aiming for the top, with the remaining three also having the chance to make a splash.

 

Star and Arrow

Just downstream from Henley, Leander can be found. And from this club 8 athletes are being sent to prove themselves in small boats. Leander is more successful with its older athletes, so its juniors are not always seen at the top end of British junior rowing. These scullers will have some experience, but when coming up against several high-level athletes, it is hard to predict how they will fare but unless a dark horse is amongst this group, there may be no notable performances.

 

Winchester College

The athletes from Winchester did not enjoy much success last year, and while some may have been rowing for several years, they are yet to produce any notable results. These athletes will have had a mixed upbringing of sculling and sweep, which has sent some rowers onto rowing for GB. However, the past record of their current J17s makes any results seem unlikely. I do not expect a lot from them, but I would enjoy being proved wrong.

 

American School in London

The American School in London are known for their smaller sculling boats of varying speed. They do not often send many scullers to Wallingford, but based on NSR results and past entries it appears that they send their middle range scullers to race at Wallingford. Due to little information on Wilkin, it is hard to place him among his competitors.

 

Dulwich College

Dulwich was noted for their admirable move to the Champ 8+ category at NSR, especially after their 3rd place finish at SHORR.  They finished 7th in the Ch8+/1st8+ B Final at National School’s Regatta and 5 members of this eight are ready for another year of racing. However, Dulwich has entered before and each time yielded less than impressive results. Once again, not a lot is expected, but all races have an element of unpredictability that can affect the result.

 

Maidenhead Rowing Club

There are only 2 entries from Maidenhead this year, but these two are J16s who appear to be racing an age category up. But coming 1st and last in the J15 1x D final at Brit Champs creates doubts of whether this is a step too far. Sculling may be their speciality, but a lot of their competition will be just as skilled if not, more. These two may struggle to keep up with their competitors.

 

Reading Rowing Club

Reading are another club who focus on small sculling boats. Their lone entry has not made any noticeable waves, but it is again, far from easy to gauge his sculling ability. Pratt’s place at the bottom of the J16 1x C final hints him to be average at most, but a lack of information leaves him space to defy expectations. Starting between the two from Lea, Pratt will be tested significantly.

 

The Oratory School

In the regatta season, Oratory focus on sweep, with boat sizes determined by the number available to each age group. Their single entry raced as part of their 1st 8 last year, most likely caused by him being head and shoulders above those his age. While this may rank him quite high within Oratory, he is entered in a somewhat competitive field.

 

St George’s College

Much like other schools, St George’s focus on sweep in the regatta season. But they do not rank highly in either discipline. The four entries they have look as though they improved between School’s Head and NSR, but I estimate they are the same level as the entries from Dulwich. Consequently, they may end up at the tail end of the results table.

 

Prediction

With few GB scullers in the mix, the top three spots will be hotly contested. However, Oliver Parish was victorious in the J16 1x last year, and also at Scullers Head. Albert Doyle came third in the same category at Scullers Head. Lea and Henley will be sending their best, but St Paul’s will be far from a pushover.

3Speed