Herne Hill Harriers got off to an excellent start in defence of the veterans league championship trophy, winning just over half of the events to take the match by an impressive 23 points.
Last season’s main challengers, Hillingdon came second but were below par. Serpentine, bottom of the division last year, were third. Their new team manager, Andrew Maynard, is developing a stronger team, which is a welcome boost to the division.
Our win was virtually sealed after the first few events. Kwei Sankofa, Bobby Cooper, Akin Oyediran and Allan Long swept the board in the 100m races, something the club last achieved in the league final in 2009.
We also did well in the early field events, Garry Power comfortably winning the M35 discus despite being below his best following a recent knee operation.
The team has benefited over the years from stars of the club’s past re-emerging. The latest is Tom Conlon, who celebrated his arrival in style with a winning double in the M50 high and long jumps. Tom’s versatility will be a great asset.
Two non-scorers showed that the league attracts a variety of talents. Glen Keegan is an ultra-distance runner who incorporates some walking in his 24-hour races. He used the 2000m walk to develop his technique. Neil Barnes is a tri-athlete who competed in three track events in order to work on his running.
Serpentine’s potential was demonstrated in the later track races. In the 400 they hadn’t done well, with their best runners hidden among the non-scorers. They then won three of the four 1500s. Their Andy Reeves, a non-scorer in the 400, sat on Vic Maughn’s shoulder in the 1500 before bursting past him on the final bend. Serpentine also beat a decent HHH team in the 4 x 400, Kwei having too much ground to make up on the anchor leg.
My concern going into the match was that we might be over-stretched, with several of the team agreeing to do multiple events, including ones they don’t normally cover. Obviously I needn’t have worried. In Akin’s case I should have known better – he managed one track and three field events, all starting within an hour of one another, and never finished below second place.
Full match results with details on Herne Hill performances can be downloaded here: