Quintin Head 2018 – J18 8+

The first of many tideway heads to come in these first few months of the year is finally upon us. Schools’ Head is less than seven weeks away, so crews will now start to make statements that their winter training has been strong. This first race will give us an initial ranking into who has actually come out on top off the back of last year leading into the next tideway event of Hammersmith Head. Non-tideway coxed need this time to revisit what line they should take seeing as they may not have steered competitively past the Bandstand since last year’s Quintin Head. Conditions on Saturday are expected to be dry but cloudy. In terms of wind, this is always difficult to predict seeing as there are the two big bends at Barnes and Hammersmith, where line is crucial, meaning the wind direction is ever-changing.


Westminster School

It seems that this year Westminster are going to race a top quad, with what I imagine is a second eight after that. What only they know, is whether this top quad has traded two oars for one and jumped into the eight for this event alongside the stronger half of their second crew, or if it is the second crew which is racing. Time will only tell. Even if this entry is their second crew that is racing, they will still be a fast boat, after all-they are starting the category.


Radley College

Radley have two entries, and, after their performance of 2nd, 6th, and 9th at Fours’ Head in mixed crews is anything to go by, it could well be the case that they are racing in matched crews again. Starting at either ends of the field, the crew setting off second-last will be hot on the heels of the second eights in the category. As it goes for the crew starting behind Westminster, they will want to chase them down, but also fend of the crew from behind.


King’s College School

This crew spent last weekend training against Goldie, from which, I gather, they did not give one inch in during a 20km piece. They also finished 3rd at Wallingford Head in this category, only behind St Paul’s School and ahead of crews such as Shiplake, Latymer and Bedford. A single entry suggests they are tight on numbers, but with they help of old boys over the Christmas break and sporting their new leggings, they should not be taken as mid-field finishers, especially with the start they have had to the season. 


St Paul’s School

With their unbeaten top eight entered into the Elite category, this is the St Paul’s second eight. However, St Paul’s have depth in their squad with many of this crew already in the possession of a GB vest. Last weekend, the two St Paul’s eights finished 1st and 2nd at the Eton BASHER, faster than the Eton and Hampton first eights.

Even though their top eight is entered into another category, it is worth mentioning the St Paul’s first eight. It seems they have changed their lineup since the Eton BASHER (where their race pace was just above 34 strokes/min for 18:29), with 5 and 7 seat swapping. Unbeaten this season, and starting alongside crews in the form of Goldie and Imperial, they will be determined to take the fight to the older crews.


Abingdon School

Rory Copus’ squad last raced at Wallingford Head in Op 4+, where they placed fourth. This may not seem that exciting, but the time posted by that crew was faster than the winning time for J18 4+ at the same event, so they do have speed. On the other hand, their second four was 40 seconds off the pace of this winning time, so it seems there is a difference in speed within the crew.


Shiplake College

There is not much I could find about this crew, but I was not planning on publishing without mentioning Shiplake. Finishing 4th and 6th in J18 8+ at Wallingford Head, and with two eights entered into this event, the Vikings also have depth in their squad, and with this comes constant competition for seats. They are starting in the bottom half of the order, and will be hoping to move up the field with some overtakes as they go down the course, where, let’s not forget, they won at the tideway head where it really matters last year.