Now for the fifth and final part of my Henley 2016 preview; the Junior events. There are three;
The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup for Schoolboy 8’s
The Fawley Challenge Cup for Junior men’s quads
The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup for Junior women’s quads
The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup
8 crews have been Selected, five from the UK, two from the USA and one from Australia.
The first of the Selected crews are Eton College. Since the second world war Eton have won this event 12 times, more than double the number of the next best (Ridley College Canada and St Paul’s if you’re interested, both of whom have won 5 times) with their last victory coming two years ago. Rowing is an incredibly popular sport at England’s premier school and they boast that they have more active members and more boats than any other rowing club in the world! This year’s crew finished 4th at the School’s Head of the River and were runners-up at the National School’s Regatta. They did, however get the win in Senior 8’s at The Metropolitan Regatta ahead of St Paul’s
Hampton School are another boat club with a proud history in this event. They’ve won four times and dominated the event in the late 80’s winning in 1985,86, 88 and 89 with crews that included future Olympic gold medallists Greg & Johnny Searle. Recent years have been a bit leaner for them with their best result coming in 1995 when they lost in the final to Eton. This season they placed 5th at the National Schools in Championship 8’s but half the crew then went on to win silver in the CH4-. The 8 is stroked by GB junior international Chris Zahn.
The third of the British Selected crews are St Paul’s. Last year was their 5th win in the event and was a little against the run of form as Westminster were expected to do the double having already won the National Schools. Coach Bobby Thatcher has 6 of last year’s crew back to defend their title. But, so far this season their form has been a little patchy having finished a disappointing 5th at the National Schools. However at the Metropolitan Regatta they came 2nd in Senior 8’s to Eton and won IM1 8’s at Marlow.
Shiplake College are the fourth of the UK Selected crews. This is probably the best Shiplake crew for a number of years under Coach Hugh Mackworth-Praed and new Director of Rowing Dave Currie. Shiplake have never won this event and their best result was reaching the final back in 1989. This year’s crew has already produced some outstanding results with a 2nd place at the School’s Head of The River and 4th at the National Schools. They then split into 4’s for the Sunday of Nat schools and took bronze in the 4- and 5th in the 4+.
The final UK Selected crew are Westminster School, last year’s defeated finalists. They have four of last year’s crew back to try again, including the Plaut twins, James and Nick who were both in the GB JM8 that finished 5th at last year’s Junior World Championships. Also returning from the 2015 crew is GB Junior international Oswald Stocker. At the National Schools Regatta the Westminster 8 won the championship boys division and then also the Championship 4-, the 4+ finished in 4th. At Marlow they finished 2nd in senior 8’s. They will be coming into the regatta with great confidence of taking the title for the first time since the war.
Among the foreign Selected crews the strongest challenger is likely to be Melbourne Grammar School from Australia. They are the top ranked school crew in the State of Victoria. They will be very strong although there is always the question of timing for Australian schools as there season normally finishes in March. The first round draw seems them take on the Regatta chairman’s Old school, Great Marlow. An Australian crew hasn’t won this event since the awesome Kings Paramatta crew of 2001, but Melbourne are a lot of peoples favourites to do the best of the overseas crews.
Groton School of Massachusetts were beaten finalists in the PE in 1964 and 2000 (both all American finals). They are a small rowing school and traditionally only race in 4’s. Their first race in an 8 was after they arrived in the UK and raced at Reading Amateur Regatta, although they clearly took to the change to the bigger boat as they won IM3 and IM2. Back in the USA in 4’s they medalled at the NEIRA Championships. They face a tough first round draw against Radley College, themselves winners of this event three times.
The final selected crew are St Paul’s School, Concord New Hampshire. They have won this three times since 1947 (the last being in 2004) and been runners-up three times as well. At the New England champs they finished 3rd.
Outside of the selected crews it’s worth commenting on Abingdon School, winners four times this century and runners-up twice, they have taken the bold decision to prioritise the Fawley Quad over the PE 8 for the first time in the school’s history. Consequently they needed to reach the main draw through the Qualifiers.
Other schools to mention include Brunswick School of the USA, winners of the Youth 8’s at the Head of the Schuylkill and Choate Rosemary Hall, also of the USA, who came 3rd at Scholastic Nationals.
My picks…Westminster for the win.
Unfortunately I have run out of time to do a proper review of the Junior Quads so apologies for the somewhat truncated nature of the following…
The Fawley Challenge Cup
Selected crews are:
Claires Court School: Unbeaten at J18 level this season, winners of the National Schools and 2nd in Elite 4X at the Metropolitan Regatta
Frankfurter Rudergesellchaft Germania 1869: Unfortunately my spies have let me down with this crew and I have no information.
Glasgow Schools Rowing Club: came 2nd at Marlow and 4th at the Schools Head of the River
Leander Club: Winners of the J18 4X at Marlow and 3rd at National Schools
Maidenhead: 4th place at Marlow and 5th at Nat Schools
Maritime Rowing Club “A”: US Rowing National champions, includes 3 US Junior team athletes
Maritime Rowing Club “B”: 2nd at the US Rowing National Championships
Marlow Rowing Club: 3rd place at Marlow Regatta and 4th at Nat Schools
Other crews to watch: Windsor Boys, losing finalists in 2014, 2nd at Nat Schools and won at the Metropolitan and Ghent Regattas – somewhat surprising that they weren’t selected.
Northwich: Winners of J18 4X at the Head of The River Fours and 6th at the National Schools
Abingdon: Moved 4 from the first 8 including Junior World silver medallist Tom Digby. 5th in J18 quads at Marlow.
I’m going for Claires Court for their first Henley win
The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup.
Originally this was intended to be just 8 crews but because of the size and quality of the entries the Stewards increased this to 16
Glasgow Schools: Silver at the National Schools and winners of Junior Quads at Henley Women’s Regatta
Isle of Ely: 8th at the National Schools and made the semi final of the Henley women’s regatta
Molesey Boat Club: 4th at Nat Schools and 2nd at the Schools Head
Nottingham rowing Club: 6th at Nat Schools
Ruyton Girls School Australia: Undefeated since February 2015. Won 4X+ at NSW State Champs and Australian Championships. Kim Brennan (nee Crow) the reigning W1X World Champions is a Ruyton alumni.
Shiplake Vikings: 3rd at National Schools and won JW4X at the Metropolitan regatta, Disappointed to break a blade during a race at Henley Women’s regatta.
Thames Rowing club: 3rd JW4X at the Metropolitan Regatta. Crew members Chloe Knight and Charlie Ball won bronze in the CHG2X at the National Schools
Warrington Rowing Club: Winners of the National Schools Regatta and runners up at Henley Women’s (with one change to the crew). Lucy Glover didn’t race the JW4X at HWR and did the JW2X instead winning gold, she also won JW1X at the National Schools.
So that’s it, once again, apologies for the truncated quads previews, but as I write the time is approaching 1am and racing starts in a little over 7 hours. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all these previews and if you see a slightly frazzled Fatsculler at the Regatta I’m sure a Pimms will work wonders! Enjoy the racing whether you’re a competitor or a spectator and I hope the weather gods play nice.