The third Men’s Southern League at Kingsmeadow was peculiarly quiet affair, despite being a local fixture and Herne Hill’s ladies also participating in a joint fixture. In the end, this lack of turn out meant that we were pipped to the post by South London Harriers, leaving our promotion ambitions in a precarious position.
Herne Hill’s throwers – Des Austin, Garry Power, Matthew Conway and Ashley Ralph – were too much for the opposition, snaffling maximum points in all but the A-string Discus. There were other notable moments in the match. The 5,000 metres resembled a HHH Open. Ben Paviour won the race comfortably, whilst Tim Elsey took the B-string win and were joined by no less than five non-scorers. Between them they occupied the top six places. Ben also won the A-string 1, 500 metres in a thrilling sprint finish against non-scorer Mike Cummings (following a sub-4 min BAL 1500m). Sam Knight won the B-string to round off a hat-trick of wins in the 800 metres and Pole Vault. Simon Coombes was second in the A-string 800 metres and collaborated with Sarwar Khan to for a double victory in the Steeplechase. Tayo Andrews and Conor Thomas leaped to outright wins in the high jump.
Unfortunately, other shortcomings meant things slipped away. The absence of specialist hurdlers meant points were forfeited and the vertical jumps were not quite as profitable as might be hoped for. The sprinting unit did perform very solidly: Anthony Mah and Kennoy Lindsay (both 2nd) in the 100 metres, likewise Vaughan McPherson and that man Mah again in the 200m. The sprint relays team both came a narrow second behind SLH, which was the afternoon in a microcosm. Extra emphasis is now placed on the next fixture at Parliament Hill Fields, where really only a win will do to ensure that promotion from this division is still feasible. These matches usually bring out the ruthless, competitive best in Herne Hill athletes; let’s do it again next time out.
Last but no means least, BAL long jumper Paul Oluyemi made a guest appearance at the match and proceeded to demolish the long-standing club record, landing a jump of 7.71 metres. A great achievement and hopefully more huge jumps will follow this one. (Sam Knight)