There are 25 crews entered into this event, the Women’s Junior Challenge Quads. This is the first year that different bands have been introduced for junior categories at Four’s Head. This means that with another 14 crews entered into the slightly faster Champ Quads category, we should see some very exciting racing with the victory all to play for now that some of the more established crews are not in this event. That being said, we are going to try and dissect the entries to see who may be able to fill that top spot.
Hinksey have had a strong start to the season, winning both the WJ18 quad and double at Upper Thames head, their first event of the season. With multiple entries into both events at Upper Thames, Hinksey clearly have depth this season, and so we can expect their top boat to be speedy, and it will be good to see how they perform in the first real challenge they face under a new coaching team this season.
Sir William Borlase's Grammar School
Sir William Borlase's Grammar School are another crew to watch out for. This is their only girls' crew entered, and so we can expect this top crew to put out a good performance, stepping on from a close 4th place at Upper Thames, and a 2nd place in the doubles at Weybridge too.
Tideway based clubs will benefit from the home advantage and knowing the course inside out. Tideway Scullers have had a strong junior girls squad in recent years, and so we can expect TSS Marwood to do well on home water, despite not necessarily being the TSS junior girls first boat.
Putney High School
Putney HS have two crews entered, and this depth and the home advantage will hopefully help them to go one better from their second place at Bedford Head recently.
St. Pauls Girls and Thames RC each have one crew entered, with Thames doing well to place 7th at Upper Thames, albeit close behind Hinksey’s second crew. Shrewsbury School, Great Marlow School, City of Oxford and Wimbledon High School all have second crews entered, and this will lead to some close racing for all crews as they aim to prove themselves early in the season.
The creation of this second Junior Women’s band has provided a refreshingly open mix of crews, as some of the larger names that have dominated junior women’s rowing recently are absent here. This is a really important change, as creating more closely matched racing will open it up to newer, smaller clubs and schools, and to hopefully continue growth, participation and talent in junior women's rowing.