Narrow win puts Herne Hill Vets in strong position

It often seems to rain for HHH Southern Vet’s League match at St Mary’s University College. Neither the drizzle nor the counter-attraction of England playing European Championship football stopped a team of eleven vets turning out. However, injuries to key people made that our smallest team for over two years.

In the end it was a close-run thing. Our 4 x 100 anchor-man crossed the line first in the final event, only for the team to be disqualified. That effectively gave Hillingdon a seven point bonus in their tussle with us. We had to wait until the Wednesday after the Monday fixture to discover that we’d won the match, by just four points.

We were below strength in the middle distance races, with the exception of resurgent Andy Millbank, who won the M50 3000. It was a case of all hands to the pump as all four 800/3000 entrants, including the team manager, doubled up. The average age of John Garber and Waldis Pauzers, who filled the M35 slots, is 64! On paper, the club has more than 15 middle distance runners in the 35-49 age bracket, but none were available for this match.

Fortunately, our strength in the sprints and field events made up for the middle-distance weakness. Not for the first time, we achieved a clean sweep of the four 200 races. Steve Flain made his first scoring appearance in the league and showed that he excels in the 200 as well as 100. Allan Long narrowly defeated “young” M60 Cliff Hide of Serpentine, having also beaten him in the 100 in the last match. Pablo Sisca, whose time seems to keep improving, and Bobby Cooper were the other 200 winners.

After taking part in the SML two days previously, Akin Oyediran secured double wins in the M50 long jump/M35 triple jump, and was second in the shot. Steve Flain completed his own double, winning the M35 long jump with his only valid jump. Allan Long ably filled the gap in the M50 triple.

Garry Power had covered three throws in the SML match, going over 10m in the shot. At St Mary’s he won both hammer and shot. Derek Prentice gained seconds in the M60 shot and M50 hammer.

Two league wins out of two means that we are strongly placed to get through to the final on 2 September. We now travel to Hillingdon on 25 June for our third match.

Dave Wilson.