Following on from the SHORR dress rehearsal in Hammersmith Head last week, crews racing at Reading will see this as their last chance to see where they stand in comparison to their rivals. This head will be held in the last weekend before Schools’ Head, and the competition has well and truly started to heat up with many J16 frontrunners jockeying for positions.
Shiplake have had some decent performances with top 3 finishes at Quintin and Hammersmith; also winning at Henley Head with a mixed eight. Shiplake will have their sights firmly set on attaining a medal at Schools Head, and will look to assert their status as real contenders this weekend with a win at Reading Head, a head in close proximity to their school. They will certainly will want to show that they own their region, straddling between Henley and Reading, and after having won at Henley, they will definitely want to win at Reading too and mark their territory!
St Edwards will look to jockey Shiplake for the win this weekend: they will want to carry their momentum and show everyone that their speed at Hammersmith Head wasn’t anomalous. Teddies’ Master of Rowing, Adam Moffatt, is one of the best coaches in Britain and a true motivator who the boys know they can trust. Radley are known to consistently produce strong crews; despite being off the pace in recent races, Radley should still be taken seriously and will look to make ground on their opponents this weekend.
Eton College shocked many people at Hammersmith, placing 2nd, and there is no reason why Radley can’t do the same. They have entered two crews into the J16 event, there is a possibility that these crews could be matched, but it would be an interesting decision by the coaches as Schools Head is near; if it is matched eights could Radley be hiding their true speed and look to surprise people at SHORR?
Bedford School have found themselves to be in the middle of the pack at Hammersmith Head, and will look to maximise their race experience to best prepare them for Schools’ Head. Bedford Modern didn’t field a J16 8+ last weekend, but will be desperate to get one over their bitter rivals and win bragging rights. This could be an interesting duel!
This may well be the shortest category prediction ever. Reading Rowing Club have entered J16 4x as the only crew present. We wish them good luck in their guaranteed victory.
Reading Uni head lies just ahead of the impending weekend of doom- School's Head, Women’s Head and Junior Sculling Head in one weekend, which means that there is a limited entry to the WJ16 categories, as many clubs have decided to focus on prep. With a 4600m course it’s going to present a final chance for Lady Eleanor Holles and Marlow Rowing Club to see where they sit in the eights. These two crews have raced each other a couple of times on the Tideway, so this new course allows them to test their pure speed as opposed to the coxes’ ability to hold a good course (which can decide the result or time gap of many of the races – though all crews will have to will have to watch out for the islands at the beginning of the course, where there are limits on overtaking, which can affect your final time if you are forced to slow down or stop.) Marlow will hopefully reflect their senior women's recent results and push LEH all the way.
There is a slightly larger field in WJ16 4x with 7 crews entered. With prep for the big weekend in full swing all the competitors should be reaching a high level of fitness, and this course provides a good chance for these crews to push their long-distance limits... There are a couple of big names entered, like Marlow, SWPS, LEH and Bedford Modern, who haven’t yet faced each other, so could be interesting to see what the results look like. It is likely that the Marlow quad will put down a good time as three of their athletes performed well at the recent GB trials, but it is likely that LEH and SWPS will put up a good fight, with legacies of strong quads, this will be a good opportunity to see where these crews place before we enter the head-to-head season in a few weeks. While Bedford Modern are perhaps lacking in that legacy, they have sent girls to trials this year for the first time in a while and come out with a good performance, so maybe there's some hidden speed waiting to surprise the other quads.