The ‘underdogs’ of local rowing had an unexpected victory with their junior team at a recent race.

Team Keane’s Sculling School, which is based opposite the National Archives at Kew, got first place in Hampton Head on February 3, despite being one of only two clubs out of 47 to work with beginners locally.

Founder of the rowing club, Paul Keane, said he was thrilled with the result which was deserving of a club focused on inclusivity and friendship.

He said: “I was really happy. It’s one of those moments where you can say ‘I’ve done something right'.

“I went for the Olympics team in 2008 and 2009. It got to 2010 and I’d had enough with stuck-up rowing clubs – I decided to start my own.

“I had to beg, steal and borrow to get to where we are now.”

The club is a registered charity and offers beginners rowing lessons and subsidised curriculum rowing to local comprehensive schools.

The Keane J14 team beat established independent schools in the race; Hampton school, in second place, was 15 seconds behind and Westminster School was 30 seconds later.

Jackie Marie, a member of the women’s racing crew and a parent rep, describes Team Keane as the 'underdogs' of the sport.

She first heard of the club when they started offering curriculum rowing to her son’s school, West London Free School in Hammersmith.

She said: “It was a bit of a surprise for all of us and working with kids from state schools is quite unusual.

“We live in Mortlake and saw the Oxford and Cambridge race every year - that was our perception of the sport until my son got this opportunity.”