This year’s line-up is identical to last year so it seems to be a grudge match. HOR4s is the first big event of the year in bigger boats so it is all to play for. They are set off in winning order from last year, but as it is the tideway it is all to play for. With four clubs, Thames, TSS, Vesta and Auriol Kensington on home water they will have the home advantage and the sought after knowledge of the stream. I expect with the stream as huge as it is at the moment, there will be a reshuffle of the top three crews, Lea’s throne might be threatened as the TSS and Thames coxes have been training on this stream and have learnt it’s behaviour.
The women’s club quads entry this year is considerably larger than it has been previously, which is great to see. There are multiple entries from both Molesey Boat Club and Tideway Scullers, which are clubs often seen in a late round rivalry in the women’s quads events at Henley Women’s Regatta. Each will undoubtedly be aiming to overturn the other, and set a marker at this early stage in the season. One of the tideway crews seems to be returning with talented sculler Katy Wilkinson Feller, who represented GB at the U23 championships in 2018, so its likely we’ll see them high up in the rankings. Nottingham are also in the mix here, coming back with Hicken in their crew. She was in the Nottingham composite crew which won the academic quads at HWR this year. Bath University are also bringing some sculling talent in the form of a crew including Laura Macro who achieved 6th place in the GB singles assessment last year, so it will be interesting to see how they fair against the regular high achievers. A surprising entry from the Swiss Rowing Federation, could very well disrupt expectations at the upper end of the leaderboard, and the other crews will certainly be excited for the challenge. The second band contains many crews which earlier this year, couldn’t make the cut, and were eliminated from Henley Women’s Regatta in the very early stages. Crews from Mortlake Anglian and Alpha, Cantabrigian, Lea and Peterborough will likely be aiming to use this race as a progress check, to see how effectively they are making the step on which they need, to produce a more successful summer racing season.
The coxless four category has 8 entries in Band 1, and 17 in Band 2. Starting first and looking to retain their crown are Tideway Scullers. A crew with a deep pool of talent, like Newcastle alumni Millie Perrin, they’ll be fighting against local rivals Mortlake and Anglican, and Vesta. However, it looks like their biggest rival will come from further afield, as the University of Nottingham will be looking to take over this club event as the only university entered. With strong athletes like trialists Olivia Bates, Lucy Stokes and Grace Johnson, the presence of the sports scholars indicates that this is a top boat. Nottingham’s women’s sweep had a great 2019 season, with top results at Met Regatta and BUCS Regatta, topped off with a win at their yearly trek to Xian, China. In Band 1 the only other non-Tideway crew is Marlow Rowing Club, and despite having one of the lowest CRI’s their club pedigree should carry them a bit. Band 2 has a bit more geographical variety to the entries, but given the weather I wouldn’t expect clubs like Worcester and Nottingham to be on form due to the flooding in the Midlands making the Severn nigh-unrowable, and even flooding Holme Pierrepont. Again, it’s Tideway Scullers looking to top their band with the highest CRI, and hot on their heels are Furnivall’s top women’s sweep boat, Vesta’s 2nd boat, and Curlew RC. These local crews look to lead the pack of Band 2 ahead of entries from Molesey, Cambridge City and Upper Thames to name a few.