words by Eleanor Brinkhoff
photo by Ben Rodford at Pairs Head
Alongside the easing of restrictions came the first sense of normality with racing finally returning in the form of Pairs Head last Sunday (11th October 2020).
As COVID-19 remains ever present, new protocols and restrictions were in place. Most notably: no visiting crews eligible to race, no spectators allowed, and all competitors were required to complete a self-assessment health declaration prior to the event.
Barnes Bridge Ladies Rowing Club welcomed 96 crews to its event which saw racing occur in either the pair or double, with categories ranging from Junior to Masters events. For many taking to the Tideway it was the first race in months, and an opportunity to showcase the training gains made during the locked-down summer months.
With some hard fought racing over the 4.5-kilometre course it was fantastic to see Tideway Scullers School, whose women's squad Square Blades has sponsored for almost a year, take 9 wins. These included both the Open championship double and pair, as well as the Women’s championship pair.
Across the junior categories St Pauls School Boat Club dominated the Open events with wins in both the pair and double, whilst Tideway Scullers cleaned up in the Women’s categories. Mortlake Anglican & Alpha Rowing Club made their stake in the Masters events accumulating four wins ahead of Putney Town’s three.
Unfortunately, due to ongoing restrictions no prize giving could be held. This, however, didn’t take away from what was a fantastic event with the most important element of being out on the water racing happening once again.