With only 4 eights entered into this category, and no entry from Westminster or Paul's who came 1st and 2nd at NSR last summer, it gives the opportunity for other crews to show their speed after the cancellation of Hampton Head.
With ex-Hampton boatman Tim Liversage now working at Reading Blue Coat, he will be hoping to use his expertise as England Manager last year at Home International's to boost the programme. Along with Allan French (Ex-Brookes women's coach), they will most likely be targeting the fours at National Schools and other events due to their slightly smaller boat club size than other schools. It would've been interesting to see how their speed in the eight compared to the likes of Hampton's two matched J16 eights, but they will be comparable with the likes of Kingston Rowing Club whose top four last year claimed bronze at NSR.
Following on from a strong performance at NSR in the summer, the boys will be looking to overtake the Radnor/Twickenham composite that controversially raced under Radnor House at NSR. With news of some transferred athletes from Guildford Rowing Club, this can only strengthen the depth already, adding to the power of the likes of Josh Greiner and Rufus Bibbs. With aspirations of medals at School's Head, NSR and possible qualification at Henley Royal, this crew will undoubtedly be wanting to lay down a marker early on in the season. Helping to show their potential speed come summer, whatever boat classes they choose to race in.
With Headington's 2 entries and Henley RC both up for this event, the entries for this category closely reflect that of the WJ18 eights - as all crews also dominated last year at National Schools Regatta, so it will be interesting to see the results.
Both squads have proven the depth of their girls as they both send a group of J16’s to early ID’s last year...there is sure to be a strong contest! Henley won WJ16 8's at Wallingford by more than a minute in the absence of a set Headington 8, with them opting to enter three festive-themed eights into the W8+ category rather than directly compete. Also, as with all of head racing, this event will be good to reflect upon squads so early in the season to see what development could be taken into the upcoming season, building up to a long awaited summer season.
Lots of entries; lots of action? Last year Kingston dominated the J15 scene heavily with many national wins and consistent performances, so a strong performance is to be expected.
However, Henley and Headington have also proved that their junior squads are contenders, with incredible pedigree throughout the years, and Henley RC beating Kingston's presumably matched 4s by a considerable margin at Wallingford Head....but not to be missed is the Llandaff RC crew. They have a good stretch of water and likely wouldn't make the 3 hour journey if they didn't think they could compete, throwing an unknown factor into an already unsettled category.