Baptism of fire for our men in BAL Premiership while Saskia sets new club U15 girls record

A clutch of strong individual performances gave Herne Hill Harriers hope that we may compete at the highest level of British athletics, despite a disappointing overall team position in our first national league match of this season. Newly promoted Herne Hill made their debut in the premiership of the British Athletics League (BAL) on Saturday, facing clubs of the ilk of Birchfield Harriers, Sale Harriers and City of Sheffield AC.

Our team had several key athletes unavailable and we finished eighth at the Lee Valley meeting, but we expect to have a squad that will be stronger in upcoming league fixtures. Individual showings from athletes including long jumper Jonathan Grant, 100m specialist Robert Graham and 800m runner Lewis Lloyd was proof of Harriers’ intent to challenge the best in Britain..

In the higher scoring A string events, Grant finished third with a jump of 7.03m, 16cm behind the eventual winner. Graham was fourth in the 100m, clocking 10.92, while Lloyd was also fourth over 800m in 1:56.84. Harriers performed solidly in the relay events, coming third in the 4 x 400m event and fourth in the 4 x 100m. Other notable A string event performances included Simon Wurr (fifth in the 3000m steeplechase), Jorge Raso Gea (fifth in the 5000m in his HHH track debut), under 20 athlete Tayo Andrews (fifth in the high jump) and Peter Philips (fifth in the 400m).

In the B string events, Michael Dyer (800m), David Mulvee (5000m), Thomas Ashby (high jump) and John Tayleur (pole vault) secured third place finishes. Tobi Adeyemi placed fourth in the B 400m in a PB of 48.85, despite poor weather at the time of the one lap races. Tobi also ran a very good lead off leg for our 3rd placed 4 x 400m relay team and Nicholas Atwell ran an even faster split on leg 2 with an eye opening 47.9, which illustrates good depth in this event.

Team manager Geoff Jerwood singled out Ashby, who competed in seven events, for special praise, as well as David Mulvee who ran a PB 5000m after being called into the team at short notice and Jeff Cunningham, who completed the unusual treble of the 400m hurdles, triple jump and 3000m steeplechase. Our next BAL fixture will take place in Manchester on June 8.

While our senior men were at Lee Valley our younger female athletes were also in action at the Lily B Girl’s League match at Carshalton where they finished runners-up behind Kingston and Poly Harriers. The highlight for HHH was Saskia Millard’s runaway victory with a great clocking of 4:44.6 in the 1500m, which is a new U15 girl’s club record over the distance.

Our other individual event winners included Michelle Obijiaku (U17 200m), Skye O’Shaunessey (U17 800m), Catriona McSorley (U15 75m hurdles), Suzanne Manon Busaka (U13 200m), Kayah Wilkes (U13 800m), Lily Newton (U13 1500m), Similda Turay (U13 70m hurdles) and Ore Anderson (U13 long jump). A very worthy non winning performance was the new PB for Denisha Marshall Brown in placing a very close second in the U15 100m. Her time of 12.8, the same as the winner is a qualifying standard for the English Schools Championship.