Match 3 SVT&F mid-London Division Battersea Park Stadium, Monday 24th June 2019.
The make or break day arrived and so had the temperate weather promised by the team manager. Missing were the definitive results for Match 2 (of 2 weeks ago) which would clarify and confirm our position. Provisional mark-up results of Match 2 predicted HHH men winning the match and HHH women a confoundingly close second, despite their lack of numbers, those there were magnificently committed. Maybe the appalling weather that day put off more competitors than our own athletes! But, Match 2 results still remains to be confirmed!
And so, we skip a report and move back to Battersea to reaffirm our winning capabilities, where, in Match 1, both teams were solid winners. Neither squad disappointed in the end, though a much closer result ensued. Another two wins were gleaned from the match but not without doubts and discrepancies to overcome. Yet now, we both (M & F) have a ‘title fight’ on our hands at Perivale on Wednesday 10th July. And we don’t want the complacency or distraction to do an ‘Anthony Joshua’, now do we. It can happen!
Magnificent work from our officials: Steve Bosley, Steve Knight, Jak Stegner, Eric Dol, Andrew Grigg, John Appleton, Nigel Stone, Barbara Macanas, Dan Hallam, Marlyn Walker, Shaun Lightman, Carl Lauton without whom any of these events could not even be possible. (Round of applause and gratitiude.)
HHH women were out in good numbers, Alexandra Shamloll, Dana Williamson, Gillian Wheedon, Patti Gnoato earning grand points in both 100m and 400m, earning four 1sts whilst gamely Barbara Macanas ensured W60 sprint points would not be entirely lost. Barbara then got on with her ‘core business’, winning W60 Discus and Javelin, and allowing Sharon St. Luce to reflect the same winning duet of throws in the W50 category. Winning throws did not stop there either, Nikki Sturzaker whipped in a javelin for a W35 first, Kathleen Moeller helping out with a competitive third in the Discus. Gillian Wheeldon doubled up to win the W50 2km walk where ever-dependable Penelope Cummings showed all male & female competitors a clean pair of heals to yet again win the event outright and of course the W35.
The 1500m was yet again won by multi-talented Nikki Sturzaker, with Lucy Clapp filing a hard fought 4th at W50. (But omission of a B-string W35 and W60 could have cost us dearly, fortunately not.)
Mairi Maclean’s coach oversaw her two W50 wins in High and Triple Jumps. (Quote: ‘The girl’s got a bit to learn, but I’ll be patient. There may be some talent in the genes which should see her readily progress. If she puts her mind to it,’ said son Jamie after the match.) Patti Gnoato bagged her 2nd win at W35 High Jump and 2nd place for the triple jump.
The final flourish was the four by 400m relay Patti, Dana and Lucy allowing Nikki the deserved smiling no pressure lap to close out the team’s final victory.
So, you may well ask, why is the victory so marginal? The main reason is simple, we do not have W60 track runners. This alone leaves us with a deficit of at least 12 points over our 2 main rivals to overcome. So a five point victory was hard earnt and so deserved by the committed who were here again giving it all!
Secondly, we can compete but still remain considerably deplete of W35 athletes. We can win and cover in these ‘half matches’ with our talented small group (mainly W50’s now !) We demand the win to earn the title at Perivale. But that and the final MUST recruit W35’s that are there to help and cover a full track meeting, and we have some talented ones in the club, too! (Sunday 1st September.) Then we do need W60 runners, time will certainly bring us some from our ranks, but we need some eager and willing ladies now! (Heaven forbid, Mr team manager, what are you saying! Editor comment.)
Well done to all, a fine day out and a fair result out of the competitive fun and edge we give this section. Well done to all! And onward to Perivale (and beyond, one hopes)!
1 Herne Hill Harriers 119
2 Serpentine R C 114
3 Hillingdon A C 102.5
4 Ealing & S M 75.5
5 Metros 48
6 British Airways 22
Same weather, same place, same old (crocked) team manager but different circumstances to our winning Ladies. The greatest joy I had was after the long task of compiling the results to be quite surprised how our HHH men managed to win this one, too! If it is three from three already we will be in the final, barring capitulation at Perivale! Well done all, we have consistently put ourselves out and where one upper hand subsided another opportunity elsewhere covered, sometimes by intent and sometimes by chance, but we can all pull together for Perivale and the 1st September final.
The great sprint start saw three seconds and a fourth place between Guiseppe Minetti, Paul Marriott, Kwei Sankofa and Allan Long, backed up with Dion Panambalana and Glen Keegan posting good times, too. However, the speed battle for M35A left Giuseppe struggling so we lost our top man for the 400m event and relay. (Get well & sorted, Giuseppe, we need you.)
Well. The walk yielded top points available though without crocked M60 team manager and no replacement, we got two firsts out of two, thanks to Mark Preskett and Andy Millbank but missed out on the previous 3 wins from 3 which we had with Bob Healey covering at M60.
Meanwhile, fieldwise the core of our covering and overall success was in surreptitious dominance. Des Austin Garth Francis & Chris Carden put the Javelin scores away to grand effect. Then big and constant club man Stuart Thurgood whipped out a 35 metre throw in the Discus for Des Austin and Chris Carden to make it three 1st ‘s from three! Rock solid in performance and commitment!
Trackside, things were somewhat more pear-shaped, at 400m we had no specialists and a couple of ‘fill-ins’. But magnificently Duncan RImmer, Dan Hallam, Mike Mann and Gary Ironmonger stepped up to the mark to put much needed covering points on the scoreboard. (So less pear-shaped than I perceived.) My dubious concerns were somewhat relieved, Mo Ismail’s unexpected appearance and wipeout of the competition to win the M35 and the overall 1500m race, helped overcome the loss of our two top 1500m runners. What a boost to winner Andy Weir at M50, who used aggressive attrition to escape his sprint capable pursuer, M55 Gary Ironmonger filling in at M35B again for a no show and poor James Ward, trying to compete but unable even to warm up properly. We will see you shorty, racing well again. And the gallant Mike Mann committing again to get those essential points, at both 400m and 1500m. Obviously, the will is there, this is a squad which works together! Out of adversity, we made a good fist of it.
And yet again, stalwarts of the team committed to the jumps; Dan Hallam joining the Triple Jump with Paul Marriott, Chris Carden, Allan Long, Kwei Sankofa who all took on further events with aplomb to get us those essential points.
And we were left with the 4 x 400m relay, with what I and others perceived as fighting for second place in the match result. For this relay in Match 1 we were 6th. Without Giuseppe, only hope gave us expectation to score reasonably. And yet, out of a seemingly fill-in relay selection, our tourer of tracks, Derek Lee (at least he knows how to get to Perivale now), Gary Ironmonger, the comeback man Kwei Sankofa (who looked real class with only a month away from hitting his new age group M60) were exemplary. But our most welcome and most needed surprise, Mo Ismail took the glory and despite doing a tempo run between the relay and his 400m final leg, was still magnificent, closing out in 2nd for the 400m relay.
Is it strange things happen when you wear Red And Blacks Hoops, or are strange people gravitated to Red & Black Hoops? (Discussion point after Perivale and thereafter.)
What a night of challenge and fun. And what a pleasant surprise to see the result I hadn’t anticipated as I finalised the compilation.
No let up, and ensure we have Sunday 1st September on our mind, let alone Perivale. The final being the perfect workout for Venice’s European Championships. We know what we have to do !
1 Herne Hill Harriers 153
2 Hillingdon A C 142
3 Serpentine R C 140
4 Metros 97
5 Thames Valley H 84
6 Ealing Southall & M 27
7 British Airways 19
8 Highgate Harriers 0
Valdis Pauzers (Waldy).