On Saturday the youngsters from Herne Hill Harriers illustrated the importance of good team spirit, some making personal sacrifices and turning out for the club in the first round of this season’s Surrey League cross country fixtures in unseasonably warm weather.
At the women’s and girls’ league match on Wimbledon Common Hebe Hunter made the train journey all the way from Sherborne School in Dorset and was rewarded with a fabulous second place before returning to the school that evening. Zakia Azim O’Neill gave up her Saturday job for the day and her nineteenth place enabled Harriers to beat a very strong Guildford team in the under 15 girls’ category. The winning Herne Hill line up featured Hunter (2nd), Poppy Craig McFeely (4th), Sophie Williams (7th) and O’Neill (19th) as the team scorers with Imogen Fenner-Scally a little further down the field and unfortunately Maisie Collis was forced to withdraw after having led the race for 2km.
The under 13 girls packed well, but finished second team, spearheaded by Johanna Nicholson who finished powerfully in second place, with under 11 girl Lily Rose Brown making her debut in sixth, but was too young to be allowed to score. Eva O’Hanlon who placed 11th, Madison Ogilvie 18th and Rosalie Laban 19th were the other scorers. Further down the field Vivi Marshall (25th), (Grace O’Hanlon (29th), Annabella Bailey (30th), Izzy Perry (31st) and Freja Fenner-Scally (39th).
At the boys’ league match in Richmond Park, Christo Chilton was first under 13 boy and 20th overall in a field of some 160 boys of all age groups under 17 racing together. Behind Chilton among the Harriers runners, Oak Buchan was seventh, Fabien Whitelock ninth and Harry Bell 26th to place the under 13 boys’ team second with 205 points to Epsom and Ewell’s 206. Other under 13 boys were Evan Cowell (34th), Diego Lister (35th), Myles Fenner-Scally (36th), Beaux Timmins Martin (46th), Zak Crowther (56th) and Robin Bebbington (63rd).
In the joint U15/U17 boys race, Jacob Harrison was first Herne Hill finisher in seventh, Charlie Krammer was 12th, Joe Roberts 16th and Ben Harrison 29th, which paced third team behind South London Harriers and Walton AC. Behind the scoring team athletes were Jacob Taylor 35th, Harvey Kande 42nd,Sam Camenzuli 47th, and David Aisa Miler 108th.
In the senior races, Herne Hill women’s A team placed fifth of fifteen, led home by Fiona de Mauny in 20th, but well backed up by under 20 Zoe Tompkins in 23rd as she continues to be a road and XC revelation. Katie Kedward returned to London from her studies in Leeds to record her best Surrey League finish so far in 29th, while Stacy Macpherson’s 39th was also her highest so far. The A team of five runners was closed by another under 20 as Katie Balme placed a good 48th.
The women’s B team placed 4th among B teams courtesy of Lara Langston 52nd, Julia Wedmore 55th in her first race after over a year of injury woes, Suzanne Swaine 66th, new member Aimee Hargreaves 113th and Jess Winfield 136th.
The men have a tough battle this season in probably the most competitive Division 1 for many a year. Saturday’s sixth place for the A team kicked things off quite well, while the B team in the ten to score competition placed a good third. Harriers were led home on a firm surface by track men Mike Cummings 23rd and Andrew Clarke 28th, with Chris Busaileh just behind in 29th.
Rich Henderson had been the leading Herne Hill man for much of the race but suffered badly in the final mile to finish 46th. Henderson was followed in by two over 45s as Ben Paviour placed 50th and Simon Coombes 53rd, then the scoring ten was closed in by Matt Robertson in 58th, Jeff Cunningham 75th, Jack Brotchie 79th and Angus Butler 100th in his team debut.
The B team packed well to place third, demonstrating strength a little further down the field. The team scorers were Jonathan Ratcliffe 114th, Olly Morrison 116th, Gav Newsum 121st, Simon Thompson 122nd another returnee after a long time out, Fraser Hagell 128th, Richard Keeble 133rd, Derek Lee 138th, James Ward 141st, Jon Key 155th and Trevor Chilton 158th as a total of sixteen Herne Hill women and twenty four men finished the two races.