Wallingford Long Distance Sculls 2017 – J18 2x

The first major event of the season, a chance for competitors to see how their post-summer fitness compares to their peers’. As of writing, the wind forecast is to be a rough cross-tail, although with the many bends on the course the wind at times may well be a full tailwind. Wind speed is forecast to be roughly 8 miles per hour, so each boat will have to try and stay in control. The course is a challenging one to steer, many a steersman or coxswain have become stuck on the S-bends. The field in this catagory is not star-studded, but there is still some good competition.

 

Henley – O’Connor

Henley’s boys do not have the same reputation as their girls, but last year they changed that by winning J16 A and B quads at National Schools Regatta. Henley have a quad entered into Open Quads, likely comprising the same or similar crew to the one that won national schools A quads and raced at the GB France Match. Thus this double may not be their top priority boat as O’Connor did not race GB France, but this combination will still be quick given the depth Henley exhibited at last year’s National Schools.

 

Maidenhead – Sommerville

Speaking of depth, this is something that Maidenhead have in spadefulls. The club qualified two boats into the Fawley this year, a remarkable feat given that there are only 16 spots available in this event as opposed to the 32 for the PE. Sommerville’s experience will likely make the difference in this field; he raced Ch2x at national schools, sadly missing out on the A-final, and was a GB trialist last year. I would label this double as favorites for the win.

 

Lea – Powell

This is a talented young double for it appears to be that same combination that represented GB at the GB France match as J16s in the double and won J16 2x at British Rowing Championships. The continuity in this combination will be important in this early season race before crews become more settled. They may not have the experience of their older rivals but are an outside bet for the win.

 

Royal High Wycombe – 1

There isn’t a name given for this double making it harder to give a prediction on. Saying that, a HWG double raced at British Rowing Championships, finishing 5th in the A-final. Given they are racing the crew that finished first in that event they will have had to have done some serious off season training in order to overhaul them. That said, it is not outside the realms of possibility for this to have happened so it will be interesting to see where they finish.

 

Wallingford – Robson

This double’s home knowledge may a winning factor for them as they shouldn’t have the same steering difficulties that their opponents may face. Upon a course where there are frequent crashes on the S-bends, a bit of local know-how will go a long way. They raced the J16 season in a pair, finishing fourth in J16 pairs at National Schools and 2nd at British Rowing Championships in the same category. They’re venturing into some uncharted water making the move from sculling to sweep (the pair and the double are very different boats to row) but the familiarity of the combination should help them. Pitch black horses for the win.

 

Honourable mentions: Dulwich have a large number of bots entered. As a club their credentials aren’t world-beating but one of their doubles should probably figure towards the pointy end of the standing. Speaking of club credentials St Paul’s have got this in spades. I shan’t bother listing them for you, as anyone with a vague knowledge of junior rowing will know them, but whilst this double is probably ranked behind their quads and singles, they could still feature (likely in the middle of the pack).

 

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