Atwell stands out, Youngsters stand up and the Holes in Herne Hill team Hurt!

The new league season got under way Saturday, in a much stronger division and Herne Hill sadly had a team savagely depleted by Easter absentees and other issues of availability, which will need to rectified if we are to be where we should in this league. We finished third in a four team match behind Windsor Slough and Eton, 210 and Radley AC with 164. We scored 143, 10 ahead of Wycombe Phoenix.

It has to be said that we wanted to do so much better than that in a home match and the places in the team that we could not fill really hurt! We had no serious hurdlers and no triple jumpers. The points dropped in these events were the difference between a distant third place and running Windsor very close.

So much for the negatives. There were a lot of positives as well. The young sprint squad with Coach Ivor Northey making sure we covered as many bases as possible, really stepped up to the plate. Nicholas Atwell, regular BAL star, turned out and ran two 49 second 400s in the same afternoon, ran both relays and a non-scoring 100m in 11.2. He showed a team spirit which epitomised the attitude of all those who were there and demonstrated the old adage that there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘team’. However what really stood out for me was the way that all our younger athletes were really quite fearless in stepping up to compete for the club, in a scoring match, against senior and more experienced athletes.

The throwers had a field day! They seemed to go around in a herd, supporting one another with avuncular Uncle Gary taking pictures, left right and centre. What the results and the photos don’t show is a string of PBs, great throws with bigger implements from the youngsters and Stuart Thurgood getting within 10cms of a club record, with his best work in 4 years! The two Under 17 javelin throwers both look to be athletes of real promise.

The results (check the club website for details) show at a cursory glance that a significant percentage of our athletes gained wins or good 2nd place performances. There were A string wins for Nick Atwell (400), a fine solo run for Mike Cummings, a very long, long jump for Jevonni McFaralane and Discus and Hammer wins for Gary Power and Stuart Thurgood respectively.

Alex Hobley (1500), Simon Messenger (5000), Dejean Marshall-Brown, Reiss Senior (HT) and Matt Rawson (JT) all registered B string wins.

There was also a significant number of good 2nd place performances. Latario Brown ran a excellent A string 100, Anuraag Vaziarani ran a creditable 52.0 in the 400 and Feysel Nadew ran a very aggressive 800, getting pipped very late on. In the same race, at the other end of the age spectrum, vet Mo Ismail ran into 2nd place in the B string 800 with 2.10.9, having been ill all week. Sam Knight, skipped hurdling, rather that attempting to jump the hurdles, looked like he could have something that he could be really good at (much work to be put in over the water jump though)! Meanwhile in the field, Thurgood, Marshall-Brown and Alex Tischler all got good points in the Shot, Discus and Javelin respectively.

In the women’s events, Cheyanne Evans-Grey got a great win in a highly competitive 100m and Vanessa Grant won a similarly tight 200m as well as a 2nd place in the 100m B string. Natasha Lodge continued her comeback trail with a solid but detached 2nd in the 1500m and Beth Callaghan and Joyce Kalumbo both got good points in the High Jump and Long Jump respectively. I think I am right in saying that Florrie Craddock competed continuously all afternoon and got hard earned 2nd places in the Pole Vault and High Jump along the way. Katie Balme ran a imperious 2k chase and won by a country mile. As with Sam Knight, there is so much to do on water jump technique, but Katie is a real talent.

Pride of place from the ladies must go to our super long jumper Ore Adamson. Ore turned out for the club, recovering from an injury (with the offending muscles duly taped) and jumped a massive 5.79. This is the second best jump in the country by a an Under 17; the only better jump is her own 5.89, when she won the National Indoor title. A top level performance.

Speaking of which, a little nugget, tucked away in the mens 5000m race was the battle of the V55s, Tom Conlon and Gary Ironmonger. Gary is a British Masters champion over the country, the road and won titles this year over 800m to 10k on the road. Tom is a man with international pedigree. He was a late entry and those who know Tom, know when he shows up out of the blue to race, he’s in good nick – so beware. Gary led their two- man battle and Tom sat until the last knockings before easing away for a 3sec. victory. It is times that are of great significance however. There are few 5ks run this year so far but checking the 2016 rankings revealed that the best of last years efforts came from a guy called Julian Crichlow, a Masters International, with 16.55.9. Tom ran only a 10th slower than that with 16.56 while Gary ran 16.59. The second best performance in 2016 was 17.23. These two men could stand as 1st and 2nd in the rankings at the end of the season with these times and would most certainly make the top 10 in Europe.

Finally, let me thank everyone that turned out for us! They were so responsive and positive on the day. Despite the disappointing final result, which cannot be laid at their door, I am proud and delighted with their efforts.

Steve Knight

HHH SAL Team Manager