Pairs Head 2017 – Open J16 Intermediate Doubles

Pairs head signifies the beginning of head racing on the Tideway for another season, which will eventually culminate in April, with The Boat Races. This start of Tideway racing is over a shortened championship course – approximately 4800m – and is a chance for clubs and schools alike to showcase their early season speed. This year the organisers have decided to split up the categories for juniors further, using the BROE2, the new British Rowing ranking system, which should hopefully make some more competitive racing. The highest category for J16 double sculls this year is intermediate, and so, here are previews of crews which will be participating.


Norwich School – Steel

Both of these rowers competed in the Norwich J15 first eight which competed, and dominated, at National Schools. This means that they should in theory be decent scullers, along with the training Norwich do in small boats. It is highly unlikely that either of these scullers has steered the tideway before, meaning this is one area where they could become unstuck.


Peterborough city – Toynton

The named sculler here appeared in a J16 quad from Peterborough at National Schools Regatta, and finished seventh, which is a very good result given he was a J15 then. This being said, his partner is an unknown quantity, and could’ve been in that quad with Toynton, but at the same time could not have rowed with him last summer. Not a wealth of experience steering on the Tideway also applies here.


St Pauls School – Hanson-Puffer and Taylor

All four of these scullers competed at NSR last year in the winning J15 Championship 8, and thus, should be of a high standard of performance. They are an unknown quantity in regards to sculling, but do have an advantage as they will have had plenty of opportunities to practice steering, which could prove crucial in a tight race like this one.


Westminster School – Smith

No information for this entry in regards to NSR performance, but they do appear to be Westminster’s top sculling boat, with others competing in club and novice categories. Home advantage and steering could also play a part.


Walton – O’Neill

These two both competed in the J15 4+ at National Schools, and finished a very commendable second. This demonstrates they both have boat moving ability, but questions remain over whether this can be transferred to sculling as well as dealing with Tideway conditions.


Maidenhead – Overturf

These two scullers both competed in J15 4x+ at NSR, and finished ninth. This has the plausibility to be successful, with the recent successes Maidenhead has had with sculling. It is anyone’s guess as to how they will deal with conditions, as well as having limited Tideway steering experience.


Worcester Rowing Club – Fouweather

Neither of these two raced at NSR, and neither did they race at the recent Worcester Small Boats Head so these two are definitely a mystery package.


Globe – Hughes

No great mass of information on these two but their experience on the Thames could prove invaluable in this race.



The two St Pauls boats battling it out at the top, closely followed by Norwich and Peterborough.