Wallingford Head 2017 – J18 8+


With end of term 5k erg test looming, many schools have chosen to race different combinations in this event and in the Op8+ category. This puts an extra pressure on the crews not only to perform well against the competition, but also against their peers. Weather is predicted to be cold but clear on Sunday, meaning the unofficial competition for which school has the fanciest leggings will begin. Personally, this is one of my favourite courses to race all season. Not only is there the infamous tree on the exit of the S-bends which has caught out many crews, there is the endless ‘Brookes Straight’, and then suddenly the exit under the bridge into the final 1k flies by.


Bedford Modern

Half of this crew finished 18th out of 30 crews at Four’s Head in J18 4+, placing them behind other crews entered in this event which are: St Paul’s, KCS, Shiplake, and Norwich. It is the only senior BMS boat to race entered therefore likely that they are struggling with numbers at the moment.



Bedford’s top coxed four scratched at Four’s Head and their second boat placed 20th, which means it is hard to gauge their speed. That being said, two of their eights won against local rivals Bedford Modern and also Norwich School at Star Winter Head. Given that they have two eights entered, I imagine it will be these two boats. With only a handful of returnees from last year’s Henley eight, I imagine some athletes which took bronze in J16 1st8+ last year will race in the top eight. They will want to make an early statement for the Child Beale this year after having come so close to taking gold in previous years.



By the looks of it, Dulwich have entered two mixed eights. They are an up and coming school and should certainly feature in this event. The strength of their program showed at the recent GB EIDs in Boston, where Paddy Craig placed 18th in the JM1x.



KCS have entered a first eight and two J16 eights. Some injuries among the rugby players in the squad allow a few J17s to get the call up to the top boat they have been waiting for. The lions are no stranger to the course, they raced at Long Distance Sculls here earlier on in a fleet of singles and doubles and placed strongly. The experience of the course gained will be invaluable when it comes down to race management.

Three of their athletes had a successful weekend at GB trials, with Rufus King  and Tom Byran-Isaacs in the 2- finishing 5th, and Oscar Olsen 36th in the 1x. King’s are racing a coxed four as well. The priority in the morning is the 8+, which then switches to the four in the afternoon as the categories switch from J18 to Open and vice-versa.


St Paul’s

St Paul’s have shown consistent speed throughout the past few weeks, picking up wins at the Pairs’ Head, Fours’ Head, EIDs and the elusive Head of the Charles Regatta. Whether these crews are mixed crews or not shouldn’t matter. The boys in black and white have been dominant so far and will be looking to continue the trend.


Winchester & Shiplake

We know that Winchester have lost all of last years crew except for their cox. This race will therefore be important for them in establishing themselves as contenders for this year. The same goes for Shiplake, who also have only one returner from last year’s eight. However, there are signs that things are going well over at Shiplake. Recent performances at the GB EIDs were very promising and showed strong depth. Their standout result came from Oli Newton who placed 19th.


It’s all to play for this Sunday!


 OarsomeBows & NinthSeat