Southern Vets T&F Final, Ashford, Kent. Sunday 1st September 2019.
There was no point in rueing the day for want of ‘The Missing’. The team coaxed, cajoled and wooed a few more bodies and approached the Ashford Veterans Final with gusto and aplomb. Maybe the overall result wasn’t quite to our standards or to our liking, but the team spirit and positive attitude dispelled any lingering sense of inadequacy. Both Men’s and Women’s team had earnt qualification for the Final the hard way and we were determined to make the most of a warm blustery rain free day at the Julie Rose Stadium, Ashford.
Dana Williamson set the theme for the day, starting the first two women’s races of the day, setting PB’s in 100m to 800m and closing with relay legs, being insistent she was fine for her total of six events! Steph Mitchell, needing a cautious return to running and track, was equally committed. We decided B-strings races to start, where Steph won two from four events. This gave Steph the elation of a track return yet not over-risking in her comeback. And then Steph added a 400m relay leg for good measure to finish the day.
Barbara Macanas covered the four throws, earning a season’s best in the Hammer. Seandelle Haley took on three of the W35 throws as Kath Moeller took on the Javelin earning a season’s best (and a Long Jump).
A Grand Welcome to our Newcomers Nicky Perry and Liz Begley, who got the gist to ‘muck in’ straight away. Nicky covering W60 sprints and High Jump whilst Liz confronted the W60 Long Jump after her fine PB in the 1500m. And they took on relay legs as a matter of course. A new world of athletics beckons for these young lasses, to enjoy and seek excellence in grand company. We hope to see you training over the winter and competing next year. The same goes for returnees Nicola Richmond and Cindy Godwin who respectively took on the 3000m and 1500m after several years of track abstinence.
Last, but not least were our stalwarts Penelope Cummings, Lucy Clapp, Mandy Brown and Gillian Wheeldon.
Penelope walked to her 2000m personal best before going to the EuroVets in Italy (enjoy and set another PB)! Lucy gave us two solid results to which we have become accustomed yet still remain grateful, in the W50 1500m and 3000m coming 2nd and 3rd respectively. Mandy sacrificed all to cover W50 sprints, Shot and a relay whilst Gillian redeployed her efforts to an 800m, High Jump and Javelin throw due to her intended sprinting action leading to significant pain. The option of a garden BBQ was ruled out to be at Ashford with the team, commendable.
Meanwhile, similar Matchday constraints and deployment of ingenuity was being pursued in the parallel men’s match. New veterans Mike Tay, Wayne Lashley and Mike Cummings augmented our depleted squad, as did M50 Rob Nagorski. I trust the match was enough to entice you to further competition next year, where I promise you we shall all be better!
Pride of place go to the two Mikes, Cummings for winning his 1500m sharpener for EuroVets in Italy the day after his veteran qualifying 35th birthday and Tay for having the courage to take on 100m, 200m and both relays under the team manager’s assurance that he’s trained 800m but is a recent ex-footballer which should suffice! (The man did grand and relished the challenge, well done.)
Rob covered the M50 800m, where we had lost at least five athletes for that role and so earnt himself a 400m relay leg to close out a long day! Wayne Lashley revelled in his 800m, 400m individual and 400m relay leg to close out his welcome to representing HHH on the track. Whilst Jon Key took time out to gain a season’s best in the M35 B string 800m to justify his trip to Ashford.
Fortunately, the middle distance remains our happy hunting ground with Simon Coombes contributing an M35B string 1500m 1st and M35A 3000m 2nd (due to just being caught napping on the line). Simon was most ably supported by Raj Paranandi getting the 3000m B string 1st place. Contrariwise to Simon, Gary Ironmonger just failed to outsprint the leading athlete to a win, so coming 2nd in his M50 1500m. With Gary’s determination, his fitness will surely return to past glories. Andy Weir forsook the winter Saltire for summer RnB Hoops but was still intimidated into a keen 2nd place by his M50 winter stable mate, Ben Reynolds in the M50 3000m.
Our big men were a little ‘light’, but Des Austin, Chris Carden and Garth Francis ably kept up the team commitment. Des took on all the four throws, Chris the M60 Shot and Javelin whilst Garth dropped in age group to throw Discus and Javelin while still finding the will to enjoy the M60 High Jump for a season’s best.
To complete the remaining M60 events the ever faithful Allan Long, M75, cadged a lift to Ashford in sympathy for team manager Waldy Pauzers, who had originally been entered to compete M60 at 100m, 400m, 1500m and the M35 2000m walk. Allan had a real close battle for 2nd in the 100m and then replaced the injured Chris Carden in the eponymous (Long) Jump for a 3rd place. I trust that his Ashford exploits don’t detract from Allan’s EuroVet events to which he was to travel very early the next day.
Glen Keegan had the dubious honour to ‘double up’ with Waldy in the consecutive 400m & 2km Walk, but Glen fortunately avoided a 1500m treble with these two events (which Waldy had to forgo).
The campaign cannot overlook the unstinting efforts of Paul Marriott, Dan Hallam and Dion Panambalana. Paul, without discourse or complaint took on under age competition and a total of six events (100m, 200m, HJ, LJ, TJ & 100m relay). Dion gave his all (110m, 200, LJ) before succumbing to aggravated hamstrings, whereas Dan addressed both Triple and High Jumps in between his favourite 400m individual event and his 400m relay leg.
We weren’t at our best, and neither were we the best, but one would have thought from our superior vociferous support we were chasing for the lead throughout the duration of the competition. It’s that fine team spirit and enthusiasm which bodes well for our winter and next season on the track.
Good competition, good company, a good laugh and something to build on for next season.
Thanks to all who got us qualified for the final, competed at the final, officiated or assisted at any time throughout the season, Much Appreciated. We close out with our timeless call to competition, ‘Up the Hill !’.
HHH Veterans Team Manager.
Event results are available on Power of 10.
Team Results are missing and have been requested from the organisers.
I am pretty sure Tonbridge won both Men & Women’s Matches.
I suspect our men came 5th and our women came 6th on the day.