Valiant HHH veteran men 3rd in league final

After having the worst of set-backs early on the Men’s Masters Team never really recovered from losing the ‘glue’ of team manager Dave Wilson. Those of who managed to make Ashford showed excellence both in terms of quality and in the commitment shown to the team effort. The real story lies in the 13 points minimum that remained uncontested by Herne Hill Harriers. Merely by finishing last in the events we did not fill we could have been within one point of the eventual winners Blackheath & Bromley. We could of course finished better than last and taken the match had we been more mindful of those not present. But to those who made it well done and thank you!

To finish 3rd in this competition was in itself worthy of some note. All those present filled events they were not scheduled for often at the expense of their own performance. No cajoling, no pressure but in true HHH spirit athletes volunteering. Special mention must go at this point to Mike Mann, Bobby Cooper, Masakatsu Kondo, David Millard, Garth Francis, Kofi Agyei, Valdis Pauzers and Dave Peters who all did extra events at short notice for the point and often secured many more.

There were of course some notable performances of which we can be proud. In the M35 age group Dave Peters, arguably the name that was heard most often over the day’s commentary – I am sure at one point I heard Alistair Aiken commentating on Dave eating his lunch. Dave secured a fine double of the 1500m / 400m the latter at late notice following an injury to Steve Flain. Dave also managed a very close second in the 800m. These were very good scorers for us as Kofi Agyei backed up Dave in the 400 & 800m with two fine second places. Winston Parkinson also doubled in the 1500 and 3000 where he finished 4th and 2nd respectively.

Steve Flain won the M35 long jump – but injured a rib – yet still ran a very creditable 100m & 200m before heading off to hospital. Matakatsu won the B 100m in the M35 age and scored 2nd in the 200m and triple jump with a very respectable 11.34m. In winning the 2000m walk Waldy almost moved quicker than he ran for the points in the (M50) 3000m ‘warm-down’. David Millard a late-comer to the sport of athletics threw a very respectable 37m metres in the javelin before matching his 12 year old daughter best in the high jump. We wish David all the best on his forth-coming hip surgery. (High jump and javelin not responsible – needs to be stated for legal reasons). Our World Masters medal winner Stuart Thurgood threw well in the hammer to win in spite of no recent training. Stuart’s fitness must be badly affected as the walk to the shot circle exhausted him and the shot landed closer to his feet than he would have liked. Des Austin threw well in the discus with a season’s best at the end of the day.

The M50 age group was badly affected by some gaps that we were unable to fill. Bobby Cooper ran all three sprints winning the 100m and finishing 2nd in the 200m. His 400m was a well-judged 5th. It was in the jumps and the middle distance that we failed to score well. We are however grateful to Mike Mann for dropping down an age group to run the 1500m just for the club and likewise Waldy’s ‘warm down’ in 3000m. These points that ensure we finished in the top three and not further down. These performances are indicative of people putting the club before personal performances on the day. We are all grateful. We fared a bit better in the throws with the highlight of Garth throwing well in the javelin for 3rd.

The three man M60 did superbly. Allan Long, Mike Mann and Derek Prentice performed superbly in all their events for perhaps our most successful age group. Allan Long came second in the 200m with an amazing last 40m and then went on to win the long jump in a tightly contested competition. Mike Mann came second in both the 800m and the 3000m (probably compromised by also running the M50 1500m). An excellent set of results showing Mike versatility and commitment to the club. In the field Derek scored well in shot, javelin and high jump – the latter two taking place simultaneously. Like many other events in Ashford, Derek was competing against national champions.

We can regain our title next season with a few more people making the first Sunday in September a priority. We have within the club the resources to make this prestigious competition a winning one for Herne Hill Harriers. Let us make the 2013 season finale result more fitting that the 3rd we secured this year.

Garry Power.