Herne Hill wrap up season with 40 point win as sprint relays catch the eye.

The SAL team closed the season in the match at Tooting with a big 40 point win; HHH 193, Thanet 151, London City 138 and Lewes 82.  It was an unusual match in so far as athletes turned up unannounced! Many of them were potential A string selections. However all were able to compete, even if only in the non-scoring events. The lesson is clear – Declare your intention to compete,  through the Team Manager and do so at least a week prior to the meeting. There are some that think it is still necessary to contact Steve Bosley – Steve gets so many messages that it is inevitable that not all of them are going to get through to me and I am the one who needs to know. It should also be remembered that I am not going to de-select someone who has made themselves available and has been allocated a slot.

Before I describe the successes of the day, we should note that this was a relatively weak set of opponents and we needed the athletes that turned out to have turned out in Matches 3 and 4. Furthermore, as a club we need to cover the hurdles races, we need to find pole vaulters and where are the younger throwers; our women throwers were both M60 and the men M50s! The throwers picked up invaluable points all afternoon and despite their ages, contributed half of our winning total. A huge personal thanks to Des Austin who has done all five matches.

At the tail end of the meeting, all four relay teams produced big wins with the short sprints catching the eye.  Cathan Marcell produced the most blistering start and first leg I have seen this year and that was race over! In the womens short relay, Michaela Pottinger gave us a great start but it was a blistering 3rd leg from Manon Bukasa – Muteba who really destroyed all the opposition and handed over to Jade Phillips, who was making a welcome return to competition. The 4 x 400 teams won handily;  Kehinde put in a workmanlike first leg and Te Sing bombed out over the first 150m – a gamble that paid off. He was dying on his feet as he handed the lead over to Isaac and team captain, Memphis  who ran an uncatchable 51.7 and 53.0 respectively. The winning time was 3.34.7. The ladies were equally dominating; Katie Balme handed over a good lead with her 64.4 effort. Michaela Mensah, who filled in at the last minute, hung on to the lead with 73.1, whereupon Lily Newton decided the race with her 66.1. If that wasn’t enough,  Mollie O’Sullivan finished off with the fastest leg of the day with 59.8.

The sprinters really claimed nearly all the points. Cathan and Tobi claimed A and B string wins, both running 11.6. Tobi then claimed 2nd in the 200 with 23.3 while Kehinde won the B in 24.1. New man Isaac Ogunlade (52.6)  blazed out in the 400, but was run down in a well- judged effort by Memphis (52.2). Both comfortable winners.  The boys only dropped a point in 6 races.  In the womens match, Manon and Michaela P produced  a win / win (times missing at the moment). Over 200, Manon came 2nd in 27.8 and Michaela won the B again with 28.8.

The jumps group has been the most stable part of the team and the regulars  were out again. Memphis won the high jump as usual with 1m70 and his support yet again came from Micah in second with 1.45. BAL man, Seb has done 3 matches for us and he won the long jump with 6.58 and the ever-present Aaron Brown won the B in 5.41. Odia Daley (one of those who did not contact me directly) jumped a PB 6.08 as a non scorer. Aaron won the A string triple for the third match in a rwo, this time with a relatively weak 12.02 and with regular B string partner  Micah winning the B string with 11.46. Ladies captain Joyce Kalombo, Oyinde and Michaela Mensah shared the jumping duties for the girls again. Joyce won the A string Long with 4.44 and 2nd in the B string Triple 9.63. Michaela jumped well for 2nd in the B with 8.84.

Lily Newton had a busy afternoon starting with an A string 400 in 66.8,  a strong B string win in the 800 with 2.31.5 as well as her winning leg in the 4 x 400. In the A string 800, Mollie O’Sullivan powered round to win the A string 800 by 6 seconds  in 2.16.4. Remember that she then ran a storming leg in the 4 x 400 later. Katie Balme produced a fine last lap to win the 1500 inn 4.54.9 and the ever-present but ailing Natasha won the B string in 5.02.4. In the 3k, triathlete Lara Langston filled in at the last minute for an ailing Shannon Sinclair, Lara came second in the A string with a PB 11.12.3 and  a sick Shannon held on for a solid 11.22 non-scoring. Monika Gajek returned to the track after a severe foot injury, having only trained once a week for 4 weeks; she produced a B string win with a surprising PB of 11.42.1.

The middle distance men were equally successful. 45 year old Simon Coombes (off to the Masters World Champs very soon) showed that he is currently one of the best in the world in his age group. Simon produced his best 800 / 1500 double for 12 years with 2nd in the 800 in 2.05.7 and a 1500 win in 4.12.4. M40 Dan Hallam won the B string 800 in a PB 800 with a well executed 2.13.7. Ultra distance man Eric Dol came second in the 1500 with another PB of 4.49. There were a number of other HH men in the 1500 but at this time, I do not have the non-scoring times. Jack Brotchie had his third 5k outing for the team, coming second in the A string with a well judged 16.16.1 and Mo Ismail won the B in 16.18.9, a good run after injury. Further down the field, there were also plenty of HH men and the only time I know for certain at this time is that Conor Donaghy ran a PB 17.32 and John Foxall ran a PB 5k. See Common Runner for details as they appear. Not too long after, John then won the B string 2k chase in another PB while his partner Jeff Cunningham won the A string in 7.04.6.

So in summary, a number of real quality performances with some  terrific relay racing. A huge thankyou to all the officials that turn out week after week and a particular thanks to my young captains, Memphis and Joyce.

Relay stars Cathan and Manon

Steve Knight

Team Manager

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