J16s... we're sorry our team are busy with their GCSEs. After so many nice messages we simply feel too bad, let's run through those J16 events!
The boys J16 coxless fours will see many of the athletes racing in the eights on Saturday move into the four. This might make this a little difficult to predict, as this all depends on how strong the top end of each crew is, which might not necessarily reflect on their eight as a whole.
One to watch will be the St. Paul's four, who won the coxed fours at Wallingford Regatta a few weeks back in a nail-biting race against South African Schools Rowing Association, despite a bit of a lack-lustre performance in the eight. Hampton's four were only four seconds behind them at Wallingford and we'd expect them alongside the other big players in the eight- Abingdon, Westminster, Shiplake and Radley- pushing the top end, but we may have to wait and see for the Saturday results before we get a better idea. Radley and Westminster were only a second behind Abingdon who topped J16 eights at Wallingford, so there could be some very tight racing to come.
The J16 2- always makes for exciting racing also and especially with little opportunity to race the pairs before National Schools, it's a very tricky now to call. Walton won both Hampton Heads in the pair, so we'd very much expect them to put in a strong performance, following in the footsteps of last season's J16 pair that raced at GB- France last year. Aberdeen had success up at Strathclyde Park Regatta and we'd expect both Norwich School and Shiplake to be up at the top end of finishers.
The girls' J16 2- will be a similar situation in being a tough result to call. Kingston RC's success in the coxed four puts them in a good position to do well here which would be lovely to see from a smaller club. The other contenders look to be perhaps of Surbiton RC, given their strength across the board that we've seen so far this season and with Henley who have dominated the eights out of the picture in this category this could be a fantastic opportunity for them. Nottinghamshire County, LEH and Sir William Perkins have had solid starts to this year and should also look to be up there.
Last but by no means least, in the girls GJ164x, Marlow look to be a standout crew, topping School's Head and the recent Junior Sculling Regatta, but we think the big ones to watch will be Headington School, who took the win at Wallingford Regatta by ten seconds over Latymer Upper. Latymer consistently produce excellent girls quads so this looks to be a big performance from the Oxford girls. Of course, Henley are another high performing club and with their strength in the eight this year, and knowing how seamlessly they seem to switch from one blade to two, they will be another crew looking to top the medals. Surbiton, Putney, LEH, Hinksey, St Paul's Girls and Maidenhead are other crews we'd expect to be competing for spots in the all-important A final, with a fight we've grown used to in the junior girls scene between Headington and Henley for that top spot.
With less racing to go off throughout the year in these categories the only thing we can really do is wait for the results in these categories, which simply makes for more exciting racing for us all!