There are 38 crews entered into the blue riband event of junior girls rowing, looking on to those coveted 16 spaces in the draw of the Diamond Jubilee at Henley Royal Regatta in July.
It has been a season of mixed results, making it pretty fair game coming into NSR. Henley RC seemed to be on top in the winter, winning at both Fours Head and the Junior Sculling Head, and we can assume they would have done the same had Schools’ Head gone ahead as planned. They look well placed to perform well on Sunday here at NSR. Current holders of the Sherriff Cup, this crew contains Daisy Bellamy, a transfer from Marlow RC, and 3 others from their 1st Eight. Sophia Hahn was the racing spare for the US team at junior worlds in Račice last year and will be looking to continue her success as she heads to Yale next year as a recruit for women’s crew.
At the Junior Sculling Regatta, Marlow took the win, with their two crews taking both the gold and bronze medals. This shows an extraordinary strength in depth from Marlow, and although there is only one quad entered here we can assume that they will do very well here. A completely different quad to their Diamond Jubilee finalists last year, with Daisy Bellamy and Izzie Bird making the move over to Henley RC. But with current athletes like Emma Dabinett who has just come back from Munich, and Katya Robbins and Eve Lombardo with GB vs France experience, there’s no shortage of talent over at Marlow.
Lea RC have been in the mix all season, placing fourth at JSH, and second at both JSR and Wallingford Regatta. They could well be capable of pulling off something spectacular here and upsetting some of this season’s previous winners. Stroked by Rosa Millard of GB vs France fame alongside crew mate Laura Ellington, Lea will reaffirm to many that it isn’t just their senior squads who consistently perform well.
Headington have two crews entered, and although these combinations have not raced together yet this year, their international racing experience and club history of putting together some quick quads at this stage in the season should stand them in a good position. Their A crew features Trudie Marks who raced the JW2x at GB vs France last year, as well as Alice van Onselen, who raced at Coupe in the four and the eight.
Tideway Scullers have had some strong junior girls sculling results so far this season, with some very strong performances from their trialists and most recently taking the win at Wallingford Regatta, so they can be expected to do well here. Izzy Lack had a strong season last year, finishing the season with a strong performance in the Coupe quad as only a J16. Jessie Goodall captained the junior women at HIRR. Ruby O’Keefe is preparing to trial as a junior in Australia and won the U192x and Schoolgirl 1x at Sydney International Regatta. All four girls have a lot to bring to this crew and they will want to build on that win at wallingford.
Latymer Upper School, frequently dominant in this boat class with three crews qualifying for Henley last year, recently won School Quads at Wallingford Regatta, and a very impressive 3rd in Challenge Quads as well. With a number of returners and international racing experience from the likes of Mia Andersen who stroked the Junior Worlds 4-, Latymer are undoubtedly fast.
There are plenty of other crews who have been slightly under the radar so far, but have the potential to do well here. They include Royal Shrewsbury School, winners at Nottingham City Regatta ahead of Hinksey Sculling School, who have also shown some potential after their good run at JSR. Lastly, Bedford Modern School, featuring GB athlete Jess Read who raced at Munich, recently beat Emanuel School in the WJ18 Quads final at Bedford Regatta.
The draw for the women’s pairs this year features a lot of strong competitors, including a fair few people returning from last year’s event.
From Kingston, there is the pair of Hannah Medcalf and Amber Harwood. Both were in one of the two Kingston pairs that came second and third in J16 pairs last year. They also won the GB France match last year in the 4- as well as coming second in J18 champ pairs at Pairs Head. After winning WJ18 2- at GB trials, this duo is looking very promising despite only being in lower 6th and up against some older athletes in this event.
We also see some strong competition from St. Pauls Girls whose pair competed at Wallingford regatta and won the open champ pairs. Avery Louis has proven herself a fierce competitor, representing GB as a fencer. Their Wallingford win and solid performance at GB trials really puts these girls in the running. Henley have two pairs entered both composed of members of the 8+ that won 1st girls 8s at Schools head (however, they have not appeared to race much in the pairs).
Shiplake and Nottingham seem to have the same crews entered that placed 5th and 7th in Ch G2- last year. Yarm and Aberdeen schools also each have a rower returning from last years A final, having placed 4th and 6th respectively. Sarah Portsmouth of Yarm raced the pair at Coupe last year with partner Katie Anderson who went on to stroke Osiris at the Boat Race this year. We also have some crews that are a little harder to judge which will hopefully lead to some exciting racing on the day. St. Michaels (Limerick) have a pair racing from the 8+ that recently won Skibbereen Regatta and are one of the stronger clubs from Ireland.
It’s going to be quite hard to judge what the result will be on the day as there are quite a few wildcards in the mix and we could very well get a surprise from one of the quieter schools. However, Kingston are looking very strong so they’re definitely strong contenders for first place with St Pauls, Henley and St. Michaels probably battling it out for those next two medal positions. This will definitely be an exciting race to watch.
Occurring the day before Champ Girls Quads, the blue riband event in junior girls rowing, many clubs are using the double event as a preparatory race to lay their cards out on the table for the next day, while some girls are racing in the eights and making the switch to the quad on Sunday.
There are 52 crews entered, making this one of the largest events at the regatta, and with the cancellation of minor finals for this event this year, it rests on the all-important time trial for these girls to see who can progress to the side by side racing that the summer season is all about.
At the Junior Sculling Regatta, the Gloucester Hartpury double of Charlotte Enright and Rhiannon Morgan, the latter with a Coupe lycra in her possession, took the win by 7 seconds over Walton RC, both of whom are very established and successful crews in this category. However, this Walton crew are not racing at NSR but their WJ17 crew are, winners of the WJ17 event at JSR, followed by RGS Worcester and Fulham Reach.
Sir William Perkins’s School, very well established in the younger years, have paired their Munich athlete Emily Keen with Annabelle Taylor in what will be a double with plenty of experience. Seeing their quads progression from 26th at the Scullery to 4th at the Junior Sculling Regatta, they must be doing something right.
Lea, Mossbourne and St George's College also did well at JSR in the WJ18 event. St George’s also won the WJ18 doubles at Nottingham City Regatta, a few lengths ahead of Hinksey, who have also had three other doubles entered here at NSR.
Other clubs that have had successes in sculling this season entered here include Royal Shrewsbury School and Tideway Scullers as well as Worcester Rowing club who have consistently good performances in this double. This is a large, competitive event and so we can expect to see a closely fought final with any number of crews who could come out on top on Saturday.
It’s great to see that this year the ChG 1x is the 4th largest category with a whopping 48 entries! Looking at the names in the draw, there are many girls are already involved in the GB circuit - for example, Olivia Morgan from Shiplake College, who finished 4th in this event last year, and Jess Read from Bedford Modern School. Both of these girls recently raced together in Munich. In fact, 4 of the 6 JW Sculling team from Munich will be battling it out alongside sweep teammates Megan Hewison from ASRA.
Molly Curry from Coleraine Grammar School, Northern Ireland, won the B Final here last year very comfortably with a time that would’ve put her 3rd in the A final. She has international experience after winning Bronze with Ireland at Coupe De La Jeunesse last year and also won Irish trials this year. A very strong sculler who has flown right under the British radar, expect an A-Final and more from her.
Of course, you can’t mention the Champ singles nowadays without mentioning Lauren Henry, the sculler who has taken trials by storm, winning the most recent round by 6.5 seconds, and winning both silver and bronze medals at Munich. Only last week, she raced at the European Junior Championships, finishing 6th in Europe. Her first-time racing in this category, she will want to come away with the win and I imagine nothing less will satisfy her. She faces some tough competition, but with a current forecast of a light tailwind, could she even break the regatta record?
Again, looking at Wallingford regatta to gauge a few potential athletes to look out for - Lily Abbott of Kingston Grammar placed 1st by a comfortable 6 second margin over Emma Kohlmayer from Westminster School. Additionally, both girls had promising margins over their competitors - potentially to be recreated at Dorney at NSR 2019.