Great Marlow School and Wycliffe College dominate at 2024 Oarsport Junior Sculling Head

The 2024 race saw hundreds of crews take to Dorney Lake on Friday, 22 March, for two laps of the 2012 Olympic track


Windsor Boys' School's Open J15 8x+ approaches the start line at the 2024 Oarsport Junior Sculling Head

In one of the shocks of the season so far, Great Marlow School came out on top of the Open junior quad rankings, posting the fastest time of the day as the only crew to duck under 12 minutes. They won their division by 13.3 seconds, beating a host of boats who had placed highly at the Schools’ Head of the River 48 hours earlier.

Great Marlow School quad Great Marlow School Open School/Junior 4x-

Not to be outdone, the school’s Women’s junior 15 coxed quad also roared home in first place, ahead of 56 other crews. Again, the winning margin of 12 seconds represented relative comfort for a junior squad that is clearly building impressive momentum.

Piers Barnett, Director of Rowing at Great Marlow School, commented: “It is great to take the J4x title. However, we are under no illusions that due to trials, there were a lot of big hitters missing. We have a really determined group with lots of competition for seats and we would love to be mixing it in with the big boys come the summer.”

On the women’s side, Wycliffe College picked up where they left off on the Tideway, demolishing the field with another stunning row. They were nearly 30 seconds clear of the next-fastest crew and have now compiled wins at both the Schools’ Head and the Junior Sculling Head in their quest to secure an elusive ‘quadruple’ of junior sculling titles.

Wycliffe College girls' quad racing Wycliffe College Women’s School/Junior 4x-

The Windsor Boys’ School were in fine form too, securing two wins in the Open junior 16 quads and Open junior 15 octuples. Their strength in junior rowing is the stuff of legend and the current cohort show no signs of letting that legacy down.

Mark Wilkinson, Director of Rowing, commented: “It was an excellent day’s racing after a very difficult winter. Most of the boys have only been on the water a handful of times since October. Our J16 boys raced in Amsterdam last week and did really well in winning, but we paid for the trip with crew illness through the week. For them to bounce back and perform as they did was excellent to see.”

Typically renowned for their prowess in a sweep boat, Shiplake secured victory in the Open junior 17 quads by over 15 seconds ahead of Trentham BC. Their women also placed second in the Women’s junior quad category. It will be interesting to see which boats they prioritise this summer after promising results in both disciplines for their men and women.

Putney High School, who represented Great Britain at the GB-France match last summer, put in a brilliant display to clinch the Women’s junior 17 quad title ahead of crews from Kingston Grammar School and fierce rivals Henley Rowing Club. Their time would have placed them sixth in the open category.

“It was a fantastic result for our senior squad,” said PHS Senior Coach Rachel Saunders. “The J17 girls have really stepped on since last year and it feels great to finally see gold after what felt like a perpetual season of silver in 2023. We are also beginning to see some sparks of new talent developing in our younger years with our J15s showing huge depth both in sweep and sculling.”

Other winners included Henley RC, who wrested back the Women’s junior 16 title with a confident scull to see off contenders-in-chief from Wallingford and Maidenhead, whilst Surbiton High School collected the Women’s junior 15 octuple title in a 14-boat field. Walbrook RC saw off 50 other crews to collect the Open junior 15 coxed quad title. Grange School dominated the Women’s junior 14 octuple division to win by nearly 20 seconds. George Watson’s College won both the Open and Women’s junior 14 coxed quads in a proficient showing whilst Hampton School won the open junior 14 octuple.

Altogether, 507 crews raced across 14 events in the 2-part 3,600m time trial. The honours went to a good spread of 11 clubs – only George Watsons from Scotland, and Great Marlow School and Windsor Boys (both state school programmes) won two events – but just two open/non-school clubs went home with pennants. Perhaps surprisingly, nine of the events were won by more than five seconds (and seven by more than 10 seconds). Lack of water time for many clubs due to flooding may be one reason for this; with stream conditions now subsiding, racing will hopefully be closer at this summer’s regattas.

Read the full results here >>