Monday 19/06/2017 Mid-London Division Match 3 SVT&F. Battersea Park, Millennium Arena.
Another sweltering day led to another solid victory to our veterans men’s track and field team at Battersea Park. Ably deputising as Team Manager, Steve Knight ensured the right result supported by minimal late changes from the squad and a solid number of R’n’B Hoopers in attendance. As a consequence to not having a window seat and his binoculars on his BA flight from Stuttgart, the match report by TM Valdis Pauzers will apologetically have a bit of a ‘virtual attendance’ quality to it.
The javelin was the starting event, which had a slightly surreal HHH team selection, as all three representatives (for M35, M50 & M60) all qualified as M60 athletes. Yet, Garth Francis, Nick Nicola and welcomingly returned ex-HHH T&F captain of yesteryear Chris Carden still managed to score more points than other teams in the discipline by recording 2nd, 2nd & 3rd respectively for those age groups. Whilst Andy Simms tested out the event as a non-scorer with aplomb.
Middle distance men Mohammed Ismail and Gary Ironmonger covered our M35A & B slots in the 100m placing solid 3rd and 4th places. Whilst sprinters Paul Marriott and Allan Long both took 2nd places to ensure our events points were not surpassed by any other team. Non-scoring representation had newcomer M50 Dion Panambalana showing his potential and enthusiasm after over 30 years of athletics abstinence. Welcome aboard and let’s enjoy together. M75 John Garber’s return was equally heartening where he took both 100m and 1500m distances in his stride.
The M35 triple jump was well covered by M50 Paul Marriott. Whilst new men Dion Panambalana at M50 and Chris Carden scored maximum first points for the club and a 2nd place respectively. Thus, limiting the event’s loss to a single point to Hillingdon. Allan Long kept the representation up with a fine back up jump of 8-06m only 2 cm off his season’s best in preparation for BMAF competition the coming weekend.
The Harriers marched to victory next, with two 1st’s and a 2nd. Andy Millbank, Glen Keegan and Bob Healey covering the M35, M50 and M60 two kilometre walk. Glen with a significant 40 seconds improvement on his pb. The score differential with Hillingdon was improved by 8 match points in HHH’s favour.
But the High Jump allowed Hillingdon to regain 7 match points on us despite willing team efforts from Tony Macdowall, Paul Marriott and Derek Prentice, none of whom would consider the High Jump their preferred event. This pragmatic coverage of events is still where matches are won or lost, so all credit to those three sound and solid team players.
Once again, endurance men Mohammad Ismail and Tony Macdowall also covered M35A & B slots, faring better in the long sprint for two second places. Gary Ironmonger and Mike Mann took 1st and 5th to consolidate the team scoring but losing out to very effective Hillingdon representation. HHH back up helped us sustain numerical supremacy as befitting our home fixture. Solid shows from Jon Key, Dan Hallam, Fergus Power and Duncan Rimmer (all of whom doubled up with a 1500m or a relay leg.)
The Harriers favourite, the 1500m did not disappoint in victories, quality or quantity. Four fine firsts, from Simon Coombes, Mohammed Ismail, Gary Ironmonger and Mike Mann put three of them in good stead for their BMAF champs preparation at Sutton Coldfield the coming weekend. Hillingdon clung on to take four seconds and only drop 4 points, reflecting their strength in middle distance and the sprints. Assuringly, Red & Back Hoops dominated in head count, with Raj Paranandi (first and a very able first vets race), a returning Fergus Power, Keith Newton, Jon Key, Andy Simms, Duncan Rimmer, Gary Budinger & John Garber making it twelve HHH men out of a total of thirty partaking in the metric mile event.
Back on the field our ever reliable throwers put in their usual solid shift. Stuart Thurgood, back from injury and another athlete preparing for the BMAF championships was disappointed with just under 50 metres but got a competition workout much needed for good fortune this weekend (as well as the match points so essential for team victory). Another grateful 1st from Des Austin at M50, whilst Chris Carden showed his versatility for an M60 2nd place, for the Hammer to be just shy of a ‘full house’, as was achieved for the 1500m.
The closing 4 x 400m relay had us chasing for 3rd place which was ample for overall victory. Hillingdon and Thames Valley made the race their own but hearty legs, in running order from Dan Hallam (62-3s), Jon Key (62-0s), Simon Coombes (60-1s) and Tony Macdowall (64-4s), safely brought the baton and match points home in 4mins 08.8s.
Looking at the match result, it is clear we cannot take anything for granted. Failing to cover a couple of slots and we will not be so dominant. (In fact careful perusal of the results shows this is how/where Hillingdon slipped up in this match. So let us beware.)
Well done to all and great to see new talent, enthusiasm and returners from injuries. And of course thanks to the many who rallied and recovered a difficult adjudicating and officials situation in our home fixture, without you we are not an athletics club. Those at the pub afterwards looked pretty happy as they calmed their enthusiasm, relaxed their aching muscles and quenched their thirst. But the thirst for victory must remain for Perivale on Wednesday 12th July. And beyond to the final.
Match Result: HHH 191, Hillingdon 180, Serpentine 160, Thames Valley H 80, Metros 77, Ealing Southall & M 44, Highgate 40, British Airways 7.
Link to FULL RESULTS: Results Match 3 Men 2017 Final
Up the Hill,
(In absentia, though I got to the pub eventually.)