After seven months of no competitive races, Emanuel rowing club were fortunate to be allocated four crew places at last week’s Pairs Head of the River.

The race ran over 4.5km between Kew railway bridge and just upstream of Hammersmith Bridge. To allow the event to take place there was reduced entry with local clubs being allocated set boats to enter, and health checks and questionnaires before the event and on the day. Thankfully the weather was near perfect for racing with blue skies and only a light wind. This only added to the excitement in the air as schools and clubs got afloat ready to race.

Emanuel entered two boys’ double sculls; Xavier and Jackson (J17), Ben R and Ben F (J16), and two girls J18 double sculls; Lauren and Anna (J18) and Maddy and Maya (J17). All four crews raced in the Junior 18 category and raced strong opposition from both local clubs and schools.

Miss Blaikie (Director of Rowing)

Junior Boys 2x

‘We started off with an early meetup at the boathouse, where we went off for a pre-race paddle. We then set off an hour later to the start of the race and had a frantic row up to the start. We started the race and were instantly followed by Kew School. We stuck with them throughout the whole course and pushed away at the end to beat them by 1.8 seconds. Overall, we came third in the division. Not bad for our first race in eight months.’ (Xavier and Jackson, Lower Sixth)

‘This past weekend the J16 boys had a good race at Pairs Head. On the day, the water was beautifully flat and because of this the boys were able to put in maximum effort coming fifth in a J18 race. This was a great achievement and really showed what the J16s can do, even when matched against more experienced boats. During the race we held good speed and pulled away from the crew behind, finishing off with an impressive sprint through the finish line. Overall, the day was a great success.’ (Ben and Ben, Year 11)

Junior Girls 2x

‘After seven months of lockdown and missing the summer racing it was an exciting challenge competing again. Although it was a different Pairs Head experience compared to previous years, it was still a successful return to the 2020 season. We took advantage of the limited training we had, frequently doing pieces against the J17 double, who were also in our category. The conditions on Sunday were ideal – blue skies and a quick stream, which is fairly unusual on the unpredictable tideway. We set off behind the quick Scullers crew with Team Keane hot on our heels and overtaking us in the first section of the race. Coming past our boathouse under Barnes Bridge we solidified our rhythm and started inching our way back. A final burst at the island, past Chiswick pier, led us to overtaking them again with clear water. This was a solid start to racing, coming third in our category and we are looking forward to future competitions, despite the circumstances.’ (Lauren and Anna, Upper Sixth)

‘We raced in a double at Pairs head last Sunday. We have been training consistently for the race and working hard and were very excited. This was the first race back since February and we ended up coming fourth and were very happy with the time we got. Maddy was stroke and Maya was bow; we worked very well in this combination. The conditions were perfect for racing (apart from a bit of wind in the middle of the course!). We both enjoyed the excitement of racing again and hope to race again soon.’ (Maya and Maddy, Year 12)