Wallingford Long Distance Sculls 2017 – WJ16 1x

Wallingford Long Distance Sculls will be the first race of a new year for many clubs. Whether that new year is simply moving up an age category or if it signifies their return to rowing from a long summer break, it’s a nice race to begin again on. The course is relatively straight with only one more major turn according to the course map but when trying to tackle it from the boat, it seems like a labyrinth of bends. Unlike the regatta, Wallingford Long Distance Sculls takes place in the village itself, instead of Dorney Lake and most of the boats will be racing 4.5km upstream to the Oxford University Boat house, just south of the village.  At the moment I’m unsure how the difference between club and school training schedules will affect the racing as I know many clubs have continued training throughout the summer while some schools picked up a blade for the first time in 8 weeks or so a fortnight ago.


This category contains 19 boats which is too many to assume an easy race of any sort as I know there will be tough competition. It has been difficult to research the entries as there are few results for them in singles or in comparison to each other. This seems unusual as many of the clubs train on nearby stretches of the river to each other. It appears that many coaches have decided to try out their rowers in singles before training properly begins for the string of ‘big events’ in the spring. I have tried my hardest to find out information about each of the entries however a lot of it is based on guesswork.


One entry who I believe should do well is Abingdon BC – Rowley. She was the winner of this event last year in her single which gives us a reasonable belief that she is in a strong position to place highly again this year, especially as results show that she has continued to dominate races in a single throughout the summer. She has also had many other wins or high placings in a single throughout her time as a WJ15 including coming 2nd at Evesham Head of the River, placing above Milne and Marks from Headington School. She is also the only person in this category who appears to have represented her club at Brit Champs. At Brit Champs she raced in a single and another boat, placing highly in both.


The other entry from Abingdon, ABN – Twinn, doesn’t have many results in a single however, she appears to be similar but slightly slower than Rowley. I believe that she could be in with the chance of placing in the top few boats.


There are several well-known clubs racing on Saturday but with few results to back up any claims of strength.


While Henley BC – Weller doesn’t appear to have any results in a single, she has proven her strength rowing for both her age group and above and I imagine will provide very strong results. Also from Henley, HEN – Cooper doesn’t appear to have any recent results available however, if her results from the last head season are anything to go by, she’ll be in with a chance of clinching a top spot.


Other entries include boats from Reading, Headington, Shiplake Vikings, Maidenhead, Great Marlow School and Team Keane. While I don’t doubt that these boats stand a chance of putting on a great show, I think a possible lack of experience in a single will be a big disadvantage to them.


I think that the top 3 of this event will be: ABN – Rowley, HEN – Weller and HEN – Cooper although I think we should expect some surprise results due to familiarity of the course from local clubs and possible extensive training during the summer months.


Good luck to anyone racing this weekend in this category or any other.