Herne Hill Harriers men have moved 4 points clear at the top of Division 2, the 3rd tier of the British Athletics League and are now firmly on course to win the league title and promotion with only one match remaining. We extended our lead by winning our 3rd league encounter at Abingdon on Saturday 13th August. Multi-event star and our man of the match, Thomas Ashby (coach Piotr Spas), gave the club an early lead accumulating points with wins in the A-string discus (47.74m) and the B-string high jump (1.85m), while his younger brother Blade, also coached by Piotr, won the B-string in the long jump (6.96m). In a busy afternoon Thomas also placed 2nd in the A shot (13.75m) and 6th in the A pole vault (3.60m)and also crossed the line first in the B 110m hurdles, only to be disqualified on a technicality. Blade ran a great PB in the B 400 hurdles, clocking 55.95 for 2nd and he also place 3rd equal in both A high jump (1.95m) and B pole vault (2.60m).
With no event wins on the track, it was our strength in the field events which ultimately gave our team the edge over their league rivals, with further wins courtesy of Ashley Ralph in the B-string discus (38.87m) and Paul Oluyemi in the A-string long jump (7.03m) despite pulling up with a hamstring injury in the warm up and only being able to take one jump before being carried off for treatment. In the A triple jump Shola John-Olojo backed up his recent breakthrough 15m+ PB with a 14.86m for 2nd place and a good series. Gavin Johnson-Assoon threw a fine PB for 3rd in the javelin (57.37m) and was also 3rd in the B shot (11.21m) while Allandre Johnson was welcomed back after 2 years out of BAL competition due to injury with his 2nd in B javelin (51.10m).
The closest we came to winning on the track was in the A 110m hurdles, where Matthew Walcott narrowly lost by only 2 1/100ths in a titanic battle against Basingstoke’s Andy Blow, a man so far unbeaten in either 400m hurdles or high hurdles in BAL this season. Lewis Lloyd also placed 2nd in a very close race in the A 800m as he ran a mature tactical race to catch the Inter Counties senior mile champion on the line, finishing only just behind a 1.51 English Schools medallist. Indeed had Lew won the race this would have surely been the biggest surprise A-string win in this division this season and he so nearly pulled it off after what had been a wretched season until Abingdon.
Our 4 x 400m relay team closed the proceedings with another close 2nd place in which Sam Parsons (52.3 split), Nicholas Atwell (49.7) and Tobi Adeyemi (48.3) sent Peter Phillips off in hot pursuit of Basingstoke and Derby. Peter cruised the first 200m then went into overdrive in the final furlong and his superb charge down the home straight caught main match rivals Basingstoke just before the line and only just ran out of track to catch the winners as well, with a great 47.4 split. Peter had earlier finished 2nd in the A 400m in 47.98, while Tobi was also 2nd in the B race in 49.52. Not to be outdone, Nicholas won an additional guest 400m race in a PB of 49.08.
Idris Ojuriye ran B string sprints on the advice of his coach, Lorna Boothe following injury problems and he came 2nd in both 100m and 200m B races. Sam Parsons was 3rd in the A 400m hurdles in 55.60 and ran his best electronic time of 51.79 in the guest 400m. Our sprint relay quartet of Byron Robinson, Jeffrey Ocrah, Idris and Robert Graham teamed up to place 3rd in 42.35. On a day when most things went our way, we nevertheless suffered 2 disqualifications on the track and in form Mike Cummings was unfortunately tripped in the B 800m and was reduced to jogging in for a point. Our 15 points winning margin could therefore have been at least twice that, but the closeness of our head to head battle with Basingstoke throughout the afternoon made our first BAL match win since July 2009 all the more exciting.
Securing promotion to BAL National 1 would place HHH in our highest ever position in the national track and field league in the 122 years history of the club. Our senior women’s team have already been promoted to Division 2 of the UK Women’s League, recording their highest placing to date.
Final match scores were HHH 331, Basingstoke 316, Exeter 291, Derby 284, TVH 280, Notts 270, Trafford 229 and Southend 192.
BAL Div. 2 league standings with one match remaining:
1)Herne Hill Harriers – 21, 2)Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC – 17, 3)Thames Valley Harriers – 16, 4)Exeter Harriers – 16, 5)Notts AC – 13, 6)Southend AC – 10, 7)Trafford AC – 8, 8)Derby AC – 7.
Full results can be found at this link: