Wallingford Head 2017 – J18 4+

Raced on the same stretch of river that the long distance sculls is raced over, the 4s and 8s head is the first time that many of the big names in the junior rowing sweep scene show their hand. Albeit, many choose to race in matched crews so as not to give too much away and give coaches the chance to see how their crews manage with close racing between crews. One of the harder courses to steer, with a challenging section of S bends within the first 2k so finding a bulletproof rhythm early is crucial as the cox will have to be doing a lot of steering. The J18 4+ has an entry of 11 crews all out to prove themselves and put themselves in the frame for the top boats come the new year.

 

St Georges College Boat Club

St Georges have two boats entered into this event. The first crew is entered under the name of Stewart a part of the St Georges’ J16 1st 8 that raced at the National Schools’ regatta last year. This crew placed a credible 5th in the B final and as J17s will want to establish themselves on the senior scene. The second St Georges’ crew is under the name of Moore. Whilst it has been difficult to source information on this particular crew, the stretch of river these crews train on is a tricky stretch of river in terms of steering with sharp bends and moored boats so the steering from their coxes should enable them to produce solid rows.

 

Winchester College Boat Club

Winchester have made a two boat entry into this event, and these two crew will be keen to put in a good performance. Winchester have lost all except the cox of last years 1st 8 so have a masssive rebuilding job to do this year to perform at the level we have seen over the last two years. The first crew is entered under the name of Chapman who raced a double towards the end of last year, winning the Walton and Weybridge Regatta and racing at National Schools’ albeit finding the pace a little hot to handle. The second boat is entered under the name of Garlick who raced at J16 GB trials in February and last week at early IDs in Boston. He is also down as the stroke of the Winchester 8 so this may mean this is the faster 4. However I think these crew will be very close in terms of time and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

 

Dulwich College Boat Club

Another two boat entry however, these two crew are entred under the names Polaris and Noggers. As these crews aren’t entered under the name of the stroke seat it makes it impossible to make any sort of prediction about the individual crews. However as a whole, Dulwich are a club on the rise, and I feel it won’t be long until they really challenge for the Child Beale cup at National Schools. They have qualified for the PE at Henley twice in a row now as well and will want to continue that momentum into this year.

 

Reading Blue Coat School Boat Club

Another two boats entered here and they are under the names of Blue and Coat. Again a school not wanting to show their hand at this stage of the season but Reading Blue Coat are a well established Child Beale outfit and have been unlucky drawing some big American crews at Henley on the last couple of seasons. This season there was a 3 boat entry to J17 4+ at Reading Small Boats Head placing 3rd 4th and 5th out of 5 and a 4 boat entry to Pangbourne Junior Sculls with the top result being 2nd. This suggests good form and as a result I would expect a good result.

 

Other Crews

The other entries here come from Kings College Wimbledon, who will be confident following a good showing at the Head of the Charles, Oratory School who’s strokeman won JSch 1x at the recent Pangbourne Sculls and St Paul’s, who have two Op8’s racing in the same divison so I imagine this 4 will be from the lower reaches of the squad, however the depth Paul’s have this year is astounding so they will no doubt be capable of producing a good row.

 

Prediction

With no stand out crew and other crews entering under a different name, this is a tricky prediction. Given trials experience Winchester-Garlick may take the win, followed by a crew from Reading Blue Coat with Dulwich College not far behind. However this event is wide open and steering will be an important factor so most crews should feel they have the ability to win.

 

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