Team Medals and Ebbisham League Title for Herne Hill Harriers over busy weekend

A busy and diverse weekend, encompassing a track and field league final, a cross country relay and a road relay saw Herne Hill Harriers athletes claim a league title and bring home a brand new collection of relay medals. 

Herne Hill Harriers boy’s team retained their Ebbisham League by winning the final match at Coulsdon the clinch the league title on Sunday. They won the day by 17 points from South London Harriers  despite having a number of team regulars absent  due to other sport commitments and injuries. Harriers were the winners of all three matches during the summer despite the disruption of their track at Tooting being closed for three months while being resurfaced.

The keynote to the victory was consistency in both U13 and U15 age groups with strong mutual support to compete in as many events as possible to maximise their points total. The team spirit shone through with athletes chipping in to fill unfamiliar events to them to keep the team in the lead throughout the afternoon. The Herne Hill boys team have now won the Ebbisham League for nine of the last ten years.

On Saturday at the Will Bolton Cross Country Relays at West Wickham Herne Hill youngsters claimed an impressive haul of medals. A team comprised entirely of U17 men placed a very fine third in the senior men’s relay as there was no separate category for their age group. 

New team member Mori Alimi led off very well to place sixth on first leg and tenth fastest overall on the day with 13:42 for the 4km undulating loop at Sparrows Den. Track star Keeran Sriskandarajah, who tops the UK U17 men’s rankings for 600m this year clocked 14:23 on second leg. Up and coming Harry Bell ran superbly on leg three with 14:06 to hand over to Robin Bebbington who brought the young team home with his 14:31. A Harriers men’s B team also contained no seniors and with three more U17 men and one U20 did well to finish eighth overall. Alex Jack (14:38), David Aisa Miller (15:18), Fabien Whitelock (14:46) and Evan Cowell-New (15:49) formed a good quartet.

The younger age group relays were over a 3km loop and with teams of three instead of four. This event saw Harriers U15 girls placed first and second in their age group. Orla Carroll (14:12), Sophie Jack (13:56) and Orla Wright (14:13) were the winning trio ahead of Maeve Minelly (14:57), Martha Brennan (15:10) and Lily Kitto (14:52) for the second placed B team.

The U13 girls and boys teams both won their events with the U15 boys placing third to add to the medals collection. Caspian Holmes (12:46, Edward Cunniffe (13:28) and Lucas Heath (13:45) were the gold medal U13 boys, while Jasmine Nkoso (16:55), Sofia Mendes (16:10) and Florence Mills (15:08) repeated the feat for the U13 girls. The third finishing U15 boys team was led off by 300m/400m track star Fred Hake (13:26), followed by Archy Atkinso (12:48) and Dylan Gillies (15:56). 

In a separate race for U11’s before the Relays Fabien’s younger brother Zac Whitelock and Marney Miller had picked up the first winning medals of the day for the Herne Hill squad.

The older Herne Hill athletes enjoyed a successful day and brought home some more team medals on Sunday at the Surrey Road Relays in Wimbledon Park. 

The senior women’s team were second in this county championship event, with Grace Leyland fourth on the first leg with 18:03 for the hilly three miles course in and around the park. Jenny Nandi held onto a this position, closing in on the first three teams with an impressive 17:43, before late addition Charlotte Kenyon moved up into second place on the third stage clocking 18:53. The race leaders now had a big lead, but Harriers silver medals well and truly sealed on the anchor leg through W40 Gabriel Reynolds racing strongly all the way to the finish with a fast 17:00.

In the oldest of the age categories, Herne Hill fielded two complete M60 teams of three runners each, with the A team claiming another set of silver medals. The honours went to Victor Maughn 18:49, Mark Bebbington 19:43 and sealed with a strong finish from Mike Boyle in 18:05. 

The senior men’s A team of six runners placed fifth and comprised Angus Butler with a strong start in 14:38, Ryan Willmott then clocking 15:18, M40 Jeff Cunningham 15:26, Tom Irish 16:10, M45 Jon Key 17:02, and Seve Loudon finished the job with a solo 15:59.

The  M50 team placed fourth courtesy of Mohamud Haile 18:20, Rob Nagorski 18:48, Mark Standing 21:59 and Richard Stansfield 19:56. The M60 B team was Gary Budinger 23:32, Valdis Pauzers 21:48 and Tom Conlon 19:58 and the senior men’s B team was filled by Tom Foster 17:15, Caleb Barnes 19:31, M55 Keith Newton 17:56, M60 Ian Strong 30:36, M45 Deron Fagan 17:29, with Willmott racing again and completing the second team with 15:47 for his second effort of the day. 

The women only fielded half of a B team, but featured an eye opening first leg run from U20 Kaitlin Hewitt who ran with a team athlete Leyland until the final 400m and her 18:09 demonstrates very good potential. Jemima Hayward Bhikha then held on to sixth place with 20:32 at the halfway stage but with no further team members to come.

In overseas action Brandon Dewar raced at he Copenhagen Half Marathon on Sunday and posted an excellent PB of 68:34. Dewar has recently recorded an impressive series of fast times over a range of distances from 800m, 1500m, one mile, 3000m up to the half marathon and now aims to continue his strong progression.

Geoff Jerwood