Southern Men’s League ends with a 2nd place at Crawley

The Southern Men’s League team completed their season down at Crawley’s impressive K2 Stadium last weekend with another second place finish, this time behind a strong Horsham Blue Star outfit. Overall, this result means Herne Hill finished third in the division, missing out on promotion by a whisker. However, several young men made promising SML debuts, demonstrating the club’s strength in depth as the BAL team took care of business at Abingdon.

Of late, the throwers have been the powerhouse performers (no pun intended!) of the team and Garry Power and Des Austin claimed a double win in the discus. They could not dominate absolutely but scored solidly and Des deserves an honourable mention for competing despite heavy jet lag. Alex Bonnick contributed the other win the in the field, leaping furthest in the B-string Long Jump.

On this occasion though, the sprinters shone brightest. U17 debutants Ornette Matthews and Marcus Kwakwa sewed up A and B-strings wins in the 100m and first and second respectively in the 200m; fine runs in windy conditions. Kennoy Lindsay and Daniel Brown emulated the latter result in the 400m. Experienced distance men Keith Newton and Raj Singh were victorious in the 5000m and then had their arms twisted into running the 3000m Steeplechase. Raj, annoyed at messing up his race plan earlier in the day, stormed through to win outright whilst Keith was the comfortable B-string winner.

As usual, it is important that an athlete is willing to step outside his comfort zone to win crucial points. Keith earlier chipped in with useful points in the Pole Vault and High Jump, partnering Sam Knight who also endured the 110m Hurdles for a couple of points. The latter was second in the 800m, as was another U17 debutant, Jake Wendon. Jake got into the spirit of things with a competitive third place in the A-string Triple Jump. His training partner Alex Wheeldon, also a debutant, performed equally admirably. He completed his first 400m Hurdles race in third place with a not-too-shabby 68.6 seconds, ran a 400m relay leg and won the B-string 1500m! Old stager Vic Maughn also showed us how it’s done to win the A-string 1500m.

When the appointed time for the relays came around, the outcome of the match had been pretty much decided but the 4 x 100m quartet were determined to win, despite the one obligatory dodgy handover, and a makeshift 4 x 400m team battled to second.

So, that’s it for another year. Well done to all the athletes who competed so hard and selflessly this campaign. Equally, Geoff Jerwood and James Ward deserve acknowledgement for organising us and special thanks go to Rupert Mainwaring and Steve Bosley for driving the minibus. Here’s hoping we can fulfil our promotion potential next season.

Sam Knight