Fours Head 2017 – Junior Quads Part 2

Fours Head is potentially the biggest race of the season so far and therefore many of these crews entered will be looking to put in as strong a performance as possible to scare off some of the competition, to show their competitors what they are made of and the results they can achieve. The junior quads category is particularly competitive this year with some of the biggest names entered, and we are therefore looking at an incredibly tense race with exciting results. In this post, I will be previewing some of the potentially strongest crews in this category, with BowLoader covering the rest of the predictions in Part 1 of this preview.


Leander Boat Club “A”

Leander are deemed to be one of the most professional clubs when looking across all of the rowing clubs in the UK and they produce incredibly strong crews year upon year in both adult and junior events. Last year was no exception to this trend as Leander’s junior quad made it to the Semi Finals of Henley Royal Regatta where they lost out to the eventual winners, The Windsor Boys School, by only a couple of feet. Matt Peters was part of this well-drilled outfit and will be representing Leander in their A quad next Sunday. He will certainly be looking to take revenge on the Windsor Boys School for their performance at Henley Royal Regatta last summer. The A quad also consists of Eilers, Smeeton and Willis, who have recently raced and performed extremely well at Reading Small Boats Head, with all three members disguised behind the name of “Star and Arrow Club”.  Eilers and Peters performed exceptionally at Reading Small Boats Head, placing 1st and 2nd in J18 1x respectively, with Willis and Smeeton not far behind in 6th and 11th place. This crew will therefore be fighting next Sunday for the fastest time in the category, however they will have many other incredibly fast crews chasing them down every inch of the 6.8km course, for example the Leander B crew, who will also be reasonably strong.


Shiplake College School Boat Club

This Shiplake J18 4x consists of four extremely talented scullers. Both Oli Newton and Fred Peck represented Shiplake in their championship eight last year, which placed 1st at Schools Head, 3rd at National Schools and reached Semi Finals Day of Henley Royal. To only add to these successes, Newton represented England at the Home International Regatta last summer. These two athletes will only be looking to build upon their previous success at the event next Sunday. Furthermore, Dominic Brown represented the school in their J16 championship eight last season and also rowed in the eight which represented Great Britain at the J16 GB vs France match. After coming away with a gold medal representing GB, Brown will not be pleased with a low position in the rankings and will therefore be pushing his hardest down the 6.8km course to ensure that his crew come away with a strong result. Finally, Holbrough represented the club last season in their senior second eight and after securing a medal at National Schools Regatta last May, he will only be looking to improve upon his previous results and post a fast time in his crew next Sunday.


The Tideway Scullers School

Living up to their name, Tideway will be looking to scull their way to as high as possible in the rankings next Sunday. Tideway Scullers have been slightly deceptive with their entries into this event, as the quad listed as their “A” crew appears to be made up of J15 and J16 rowers and this is therefore more likely to be a development crew. However, the quad listed as their B crew will be looking to make an impact on the rest of the field and deliver a strong performance. This crew is likely to consists of four very strong scullers and includes Jonas, Fattouh and Hill, who represented the club at National Schools Regatta last season in the J16 quads category, where they narrowly missed out on a bronze medal position. Furthermore, Alex Jonas placed 3rd at Junior 16 trials for the Great Britain team and he also qualified for Henley Royal Regatta with Tideway Scullers in a quad. Whilst I don’t have any information on the fourth member of the quad, Humphery-Evans, this quad is likely to be a very well-drilled crew, with great technical ability, a lot of previous experience and a fast speed. This quad should be able to post a strong time next Sunday, although I don’t think they will be as high up in the rankings as some of the other strong crews entered, such as Maidenhead, St Paul’s or Windsor Boys, who may have a much larger amount of experience than this quad.


Royal Grammar School High Wycombe Boat Club

RGS High Wycombe are relatively unknown in the junior sculling scene, potentially making them the underdogs in this event as recently they have put in some unexpected, however nevertheless strong performances. Last summer at National Schools Regatta, the club’s J16 4x narrowly missed out on a place in the A final. The quad competing next Sunday consists of three of the same members who represented the club in their J16 quad last season, Forster, Hinves and Huntley. Despite this quad missing one of the crew members from its nationally competing quad last season, I am inclined to believe these athletes have only been getting stronger and faster due to their recent performance at Reading Small Boats Head, where they won J17 quads, beating a very strong Shiplake College crew by 7 seconds. This crew will certainly be looking to place as high in the rankings as possible next Sunday and could potentially be on a fair few other strong crew’s heels, such as Shiplake College.


Eton College School Boat Club

Whilst Eton are one of the most well-known names in the Junior Rowing Scene, the boat club specialises in sweep rowing and I therefore think that Eton may struggle next Sunday when competing against so many strong sculling crews. The crew entered contains Carr-Middleton, who represented the school in their championship eight last season, which obtained a silver medal at National Schools and breezed its way through to the semi-finals of Henley Royal Regatta. Taylor, Hall and Warley were all members of the club’s second eight last season, however the recent performance of these athletes at Reading Small Boats Head would suggest that the four crew members entered into this quad are the top four scullers Eton has to offer. All four of the scullers entered into this crew placed in the top 15 in J18 1x at Reading Small Boats Head, an impressive performance, however it must not be discounted that all four of these scullers times were a way off the times from the top Leander junior athletes. Therefore, I think that whilst this quad may have some decent speed to it, they may well struggle against the rest of the insanely competitive field.


Henley Rowing Club

Henley Rowing Club are known to be at the top of junior women’s rowing, with Headington and Henley fighting it out year upon year for the title at National Schools Regatta, however they tend to be less well-known when it comes to junior men’s sculling. I would therefore say they are expected to do less well in this event, however they have entered in force, entering a total of 3 quads and they will therefore be trying to make an impact on the rest of the field. Despite not having a championship quad last season, Henley RC had an incredibly successful J16 quad, which won a gold medal at National Schools Regatta. The members of last year’s successful J16 crew will now be moving up into the senior squad at Henley and they will therefore be looking to build on last years successes by producing a strong championship quad this season. Both Issa and Turnell have moved up from last year’s J16 4x and will be representing the club in their A quad next Sunday. These two crew members will therefore have a lot of experience racing and will be able to move a boat well. Furthermore, they will be joined by another incredibly strong sculler, O’Connor, who has recently moved from Maidenhead and he is likely to bring a lot of experience and speed to this crew. Whilst Henley’s A quad may not be expected to do that well next Sunday and they potentially may struggle against such a competitive field, this quad is made up of four strong scullers and they therefore may be a threat to some of the other competing crews. I don’t think Henley has what it takes to be placing towards the top of the category, however they should be able to deliver a solid performance and achieve a fast time.


St Paul’s School Boat Club

This year, St Paul’s are potentially the biggest threat in the whole of the junior rowing scene. With most of their national winning championship eight returning for a second year, they will only be looking to get stronger and faster this year, knocking as many of their competitors out of their way as they can. St Paul’s have entered an impressive 3 quads into this category, however it will be the top quad in particular who will be looking to defeat the rest of the competition and post one of the fastest times in this category. This A quad consists of De Graaf, Tarczy and Langstone-Bolt, who all represented St Paul’s in the championship eight last year, which secured a gold medal at National Schools Regatta and reached the Friday of Henley Royal Regatta last season. Additionally to this, De Graaf represented Great Britain in the Junior World Championship’s four, where his four completely dominated the race and he managed to win another gold medal. Finally, the fourth member of this quad is Parish, who was in the club’s J16 championship eight last season. This eight managed to achieve a silver medal in the final of National Schools Regatta last season and this clearly indicates that Parish is a very strong rower.  The only thing in question about this crew is whether they will be able to transfer their sweeping ability into sculling speed. St Paul’s A quad should certainly post an extremely fast time, however only time will tell whether they are able to defeat some of the top junior sculling schools and clubs in the country, like Maidenhead and Windsor Boys.


It is also worth mentioning Latymer Upper School and American School in London, who are likely to have produced powerful and technically strong quads and these two crews are therefore also likely to post reasonably fast times next Sunday, although I don’t expect them to be contesting against some of the strongest sculling crews in this category.


Final Prediction

It is particularly difficult to predict who will place at the top of this category due to the high amount of strong crews entered, however I think that the top three crews will be Maidenhead, Windsor Boys and Leander “A”, in no particular order, with St Paul’s extremely close behind and fighting for a top three finish.