Senior British Rowing Championships – Preview

This weekend is the Senior British Championships at the National Watersports Centre in Holme Pierrpont, Nottingham (the site of my first ever regatta win, J14 8’s at the National School’s almost 30 years ago!!)…anyway enough of that little trip down “amnesia lane”. What makes these championships interesting is that the national squad have been allowed to come out and play for their clubs. Normally the only time the national team athletes get to race for their clubs is the Head of the River or the Fuller Head of the River Fours. But with the 1st World Cup in Sydney clashing with this year’s 8’s head event they didn’t get that opportunity. At Henley the guys appear in club colours, but in the combinations they race internationally. This weekend they are racing for their clubs and it’s thrown up some really interesting and exciting combinations.
But, it’s not just about the national squad, there are also lots of entries from clubs and universities and those who are hoping to represent their country in the future.

so here we go…

Open Mens2X
21 crews. With no single scull division the “big boy” scullers start off in the doubles. Pick of the bunch will be the Tideway Scullers/London RC composite of Alan Campbell and Bill Lucas…Olympic medals, world cup medals, world championship medals…they’ve got them all. But, ranged against them are the might of Leander (a phrase that will be all to common in this preview I think). 5 Leander entries with the “A” boat containing Lucas’s doubles partner from this season, Matt Langridge. He’s joined by World Championship bronze medalist, Charlie Cousins. The battle between these boats is going to be epic. Elsewhere there are some interesting combinations of heavyweights and lightweights, experience and youth. Look out for Agecrofts Zak Lee-Green (U23 BLM1X finalist) and M4X world bronze medalist Graeme Thomas (if they can find a boat that is!)
Another light/heavy combo are the Reading University duo of Adam Freeman-Pask and Sam Townsend. Leander D contain a couple of guys more renowned for their sweep rather than sculling, Dan Ritchie and Alan Sinclair (although Ritchie did race the quad at the European Championships in 2012). Also watch out for the U23 pairing of Barnaby Stentiford and Stewart Innes.
I have a feeling the “A” final will be TSS/LRC v Reading Uni v Leander, Leander, Leander and umm…Leander!
The winner….Campbell and Lucas

Open LM2X
Only 5 entries. The clear favourite will be Leander, Chris Boddy and Jamie Kirkwood, both extremely experienced internationals. Behind them the pick of the rest may well be Reading University with U23 international John Preston along with Bruce Simpson.
Leander for the win (comfortably)

Open U23 M2X
21 doubles. Clear favourites (again) are Leander, Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom. Both were in the GB U23 4X this year that just missed out on a medal. Pick of the rest may well be Cardiff’s Tom Barras and Robbie Massey (both of whom raced at the European Universities Championships. Also watch out for Reading Uni’s Andrew Joel and Dominic Tope. Joel raced at the world junior championships and Tope at the Coupe de La Jeunesse.
Leander for the clear victory ahead of Cardiff and Reading.

Open U23 LM2X
12 entries. Another Leander boat starting as likely favourites. Ollie Morgan and Sam Mottram. Mottram raced for England at the Home International regatta and Ollie Morgan is a GB trialist. They will face a stiff challenge from Bristol Uni, with GB Junior international Callum Gathercole along with Jim Allen. Also watch out for Imperial College’s Myles Holbrough and Paul Jones.
Leander for the win ahead of IC

U19 M2X
Just 4 entries and again, it’s the Leander boat that start as favourites. Sholto Carnegie and Seb Devereux. This pairing were 5th at the World Junior Championships and should be well clear of the Windsor Boys double of Hugh & James White in 2nd

Women’s 2X
24 doubles. The inter-club competition at Leander is going to be exciting in this event. The “A” crew of Fran Houghton and Vicky Meyer-Laker will start as favourites (hopefully they will both remain above water unlike at the Wingfield Sculls!)
One of the most exciting combinations at the whole regatta are Leander “D”, Jess Leyden and Vicky Thornley. Leyden is the first British woman to win an open weight W1X gold medal at any age group and is a definite name to watch in the next few years. Thornley has been the senior team’s top single sculler this season with an excellent performance winning the “B” final at the World Championships. It”s going to be very, very interesting to see how these two get on.
Another interesting Leander boat is Paralympic and World Champion Pam Relph along with GB trialist Christina Heemskerk. Relph’s sister Monica, is also racing along with W4X team mate Ros Bradbury.
Outside of the Pink Palace there are some good combos from Pangbourne Nautics; Olympian and former World Champion Beth Rodford and rising star Georgia Francis who raced for GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Reading University have a strong young double with U23 international Lottie Burgess and Emma Spruce, winner of a silver at the European Universities Championships. Wallingford have a sister act with experienced international Katie Greves joined by her sister, U23 trialist Caroline.
Finally look out for Tees…with the only Olympic Champion in the event…Kat Copeland is making a welcome appearance along with GB W4X member Kristina Stiller. These two could be quite rapid! Another light/heavy combo are the London duo of Imogen Walsh and Mel Wilson both of whom raced at the World championships at Chungju.
As you can see, it’s quite a line-up. I think Houghton and Meyer-laker will take the win with Leyden and Thornley in silver.

LW2X
9 entries. Goodness me, an event which Leander won’t win because they haven’t entered! Instead it’s the high performance centre at Wallingford Rowing Club who dominate the field with 3 entries. The pick of these is probably Brianna Stubbs and Kath Twyman. Another example of youth and experiences. Stubbs won gold at the U23 World Championships and Twyman was 4th at the senior event. The main challenge is likely to come from the Mortlake/Putney composite of Fran Rawlins and Charlotte Taylor. Rawlins is another England representative from the Home International regatta and Taylor is on the verge of breaking into the GB team with a 5th place finish at the senior trials earlier this year. Marks was a winner of the Senior Lightweight 1X at Henley Women’s regatta this summer.
I’ll pick Stubbs & Twyman for the win ahead of Rawlins and Taylor

U23 W2X
9 crews.Another event without Leander.My pick will be the Agecroft/Northwich composite of Lucy Burgess and Ellie Lewis. Lewis is an U23 medalists and Burgess raced at the world junior championships last year. They will be challenged by Newcastle’s former Junior international, Emily Ford and Helen O’Riordan who raced at the Coupe de La Jeunesse.
Molesey get their first mention so far with the double of 2009 Junior silver medalist, Amber Anderson (who is in the Class of 2014 at Yale) and Olivia Marshall who is on the World Class Start programme.
So, Burgess & Lewis for the win just ahead of Molesey.

U23 LW2X
5 entries. Reading University have Lucy Cruxton and Jessica Lewis. Cruxton competed at the Youth Olympic Festival in Australia earlier this year. But the strongest entry is probably that of UL/Kings College. Rosa Atkinson and Emily Craig were both in the GB U23 LW4X that won bronze earlier this year. They should dominate the field in this event.

Open M4-
28 entries. Now it gets really interesting! Leander have the best crew on paper…Alex Gregory, Tom Ransley, Pete Reed and Will Satch….half the World Championship winning M8…not to mention the 3 Olympic gold and 2 Olympic Bronze medals. This is going to be a very exciting crew to watch. The traditional rivalry with Molesey is muted somewhat this year as the “men in black” can’t call upon the services of the “Worlds no.1 male rower” Andy Hodge. Mr Hodge is taking some well earned time off having become a father this week! Without Hodgey Molesey still have a pretty fearsome line up with world champions Mo Sibhi and George Nash joined by Olympic medalist, James Foad and Phil Congdon who raced in the GB2 M8 at the World Cups and won the Ladies Plate at Henley.
ULBC have rolled out their internationals as well, lead by Nathanial Reilly-O’Donnell and joined by Parmigiani Spirit Award winner, James Cook, 2013 Oxford Blue, Paul Bennett and U23 LM2- silver medalist Matt Bedford.
Oxford Brookes have 2 boats entered with the 2nd boat containing Olympic medalist, Peter Chambers. He’s joined by U23 silver medalist Joel Cassells and fellow U23 international James Martyn Smith.
The 1st Brookes boat contains half of the GB M4- that came 5th at the World Championships, Scott Durant and Matt Tarrant. They are joined by Scott’s twin brother Mason (who won the Ladies plate and raced as GB2 at the World Cups) and Tim Grant who was 5th in the U23 M8 this year.
Another fearsome line-up from Oxford (Isis this time, not Brookes) sees the first public race this season of Olympic medalist Stan Louloudis. He’s joined by 2013 Oxford President, Karl Hudspith and the bow pair from the 2013 Isis crew, Iain Mandale and Nik Hazell.
Its going to be a fascinating race but I think the Leander A crew will win with possibly Brookes in 2nd and Molesey 3rd.

LM4-
11 crews. Leander the clear favourites yet again, they have 3 of the crew that won bronze at the World Championships with the 4th seat being filled by Olympic silver medalist Richard Chambers. This could well be the GB LM4- for next year.I fully expect this crew to be well ahead of the competition (frankly it would be a bit worrying if they weren’t). But “best of the rest” is likely to be the Imperial/London composite with a crew of world bronze medalists Mark Aldred and Sam Scrimgeour along with U23 medalists Tim Richards and Wilf Kimberley.
Leander with a clear water victory overr IC/LRC.

W4-
8 crews. It’s Leander v a composite. The Leander boat has world champion Polly Swann along with Lucinda Gooderham from the GB W4X and Lou Reeve and Caragh McMurty from the 4th place GB W8. The composite of Imperial/Oxford Brookes & Minerva Bath had Olympic Champion and all-round “National Treasure” Helen Glover joined by GB W8 members Olivia Carnegie Brown and Zoe Lee along with U23 medalist Yasmin Tredell. These two should be well clear of the field but it’s very difficult to pick a winner….I’ll go with the composite as boats with Helen Glover in seldom lose!

M4X
12 crews….Leander v Tideway Scullers is what this race is all about. The top Leander boat has John Collins, Charlie Cousins, Matt Langridge and Jonny Walton. Up against them Scullers have Mark Aldred, Alan Campbell, Eugene Coakley & Bill Lucas. All 8 of these scullers have represented their country on the World Stage (Coakley for Ireland). Best of the rest is likely to be Reading, with Sam Townsend, Adam Freeman-Pask, Dominic Tope and Andrew Joel and the 2nd Leander boat of Tom Clark, Stewart Innes, Nick Middleton and Barnaby Stentiford. Watch out also for the Scottish composite of Jack Burns, Henry Gieseler, Lewis McCue & Gary Wilson.
I’m going to pick Leander to beat TSS.

LM4X
Leander again…it’s difficult to pick anyone else when the Leander line up consists of Chris Boddy, Richard Chambers, Will Fletchaer and Jamie Kirkwood. Imperial will possibly get the closest with their crew of Myles Holbrough, Paul Jones, DS Loveday and Sam Scrimgeour.

U23 M4X
And another Leander victory is on the cards with Beaumont, Carnegie,Devereux & Groom. They will be chased by the Cardiff/Bath Uni composite of Tom Barras, Frazier Christie, Robert Massey & Sam Whittaker and also Edinburgh; Kieren Brown, Tom Claxton, David Graham and Graham Ord.
Leander for an easy win

as the time is now approaching 2am on Saturday morning I’m rapidly running out of time to complete this preview so if you’ll forgive me I’ll skip to the 8’s!

M8
Leander “A” have 5 of the World Championship winning 8 on board (6 if you include Phelan Hill coxing). They are joined by Alan Sinclair from the GB M4- and the GB2 M8 crew members Lance Tredell and Matt Gotrel. Up against them are the “Men in black” with world champions Mo Sibhi & George Nash along with Dave Bell, Phil Congdon, James Foad, Alistair Gregory, Chris Rae & cox Henry Fieldman. Its a good strong crew, but no match I think for the big guns at Leander. Molesey may themselves come under pressure from Oxford Brookes with the Durant brothers, Matt Tarrant, Pete Chambers, Joel Cassells, Morgan Bolding, Sybren Hoogland and cox Rory Copus.
Leander A for the win but I think Brookes will sneak past Molesey for silver.

W8
7 crews. But this is all about the squad girls split into 2 boats. Leander v the rest! Leander, coxed by Zoe de Toledo, have Katie Greves, Fran Houghton, Caragh McMurty, Vicky Meyer-Laker, Lou Reeve, Monica Relph, Polly Swann & Vicky Thornley. Up against them is them is the composite containing cox Morgan Baynham-Williams, Olivia Carnegie-Brown, Helen Glover, Zoe Lee, Beth Rodford, Yasmin Tredell, Imogen Walsh, Mel Wilson & Helen Wood. I don’t think any of the other crews will get a look in. For once I’m not going to pick a crew with Helen Glover in it for the win. Leander look too good. Another pink victory!

Finally just a quick comment on the Women Uni 8 as I really must go to bed! It’s the first chance to see the Oxford and Cambridge crews go head to head, although Cambridge look to have two matched 8’s and Oxford have half their sqaud racing at the HEad of the Charles in Boston this weekend, so it’ll be difficult to read too much into the result. But they may not get the win as both Reading and Newcastle have put out strong line-ups. In fact I’m going to pick Newcastle for the win.

Now that really is all I have time for. I hope the weather gods are kind and the racing is fair. Goodnight!

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