Herne Hill Harriers men were 6th of the 8 teams in our opening British Athletics League fixture at Eton, only just ahead of host club Windsor, but quite close behind Blackheath and TVH who were 4th and 5th and “only” 27 behind Kent who were 3rd. Woodford Green were a huge margin in front and Glasgow were clear in 2nd place and are in pole position to challenge for promotion to the Premiership. HHH scored pretty well on the track, but we were weak in the field events with a couple of notable exceptions (worst of the 8 clubs) and this dragged us down and leaves us with a good deal of work to do.
Our highlights were in the final field event, where our javelin men not only won both A and B string, but Gavin Johnson-Assoon and Allandre Johnson were actually 1st and 2nd overall in the competition. This was followed by the final track event where we saw another revision of our club 4 x 400m record as Peter Phillips (split 48.1), Blade Ashby (49.1), Isaac Ogunlade (48.7 in his debut for HHH) and Nicholas Atwell (47.15) combined to clock 3.13.08 placing 3rd behind strong teams from Glasgow and Woodford Green.
Top running by our 1500m runners and our 400m hurdlers (not too often I have been able to say that in terms of points scored!) as Lewis Lloyd followed his 4th in the A 800m with a fine 2nd in the A string and Mike Cummings won the B in a tactical 1500m race, while Blade Ashby was 2nd in the one lap hurdles A string with 52.87 and Isaac Ogunlade was 3rd in the B in 55.42. As well as good 200m running courtesy of Dwayne Dowding (A string 4th in 21.67) and Jamal Rhoden-Stevens (4th B string in a windy 21.80) our 400m men ran superbly, with Nicholas Atwell 5th in the A with 48.33 and Peter Phillips 2nd in the B in 48.23 and our sprint relay team of Jamal, Byron Robinson, Dwayne and Idris Ojuriye were a good 3rd in their race.
Our two new HCA team members, 17 year old Charlie Maw and Sean Hall made their mark too, as Charlie was a brilliant 2nd in the A pole vault, calmly clearing 4.20m in weather conditions that were unhelpful to any event, but least of all the vault, while Sean Hall will have learned from his first experience of racing at this level following his 5th in the B 800m. Michael Wheeler continued his very encouraging start to the season placing 3rd in the A string shot with 15.51m and young Tayo Andrews also coped well in weather that saw his event abandoned for a while before they were able to complete it, as he cleared 1.90m to finish 5th in the A high jump. Although only picking up 6th place points, Irishman Mark Dooley ran a decent PB in the A 3000m given the windy conditions.
Overall our day could and probably should have had a better outcome, but these individual performances in contributing to our team score give us cause for some optimism that we can move towards the right end of the table in our remaining three fixtures, starting with a trip to Gateshead on 7th June.