Thrills, Spills and a Women’s Win as Herne Hill Veterans work off some Steam at Battersea Millenium Track. Mid-London T&F Division, Match 3 on Monday 27th June 2022.

Back on Track, indeed, and yes so were the results, almost!

A sunny and balmy Battersea evening greeted both athletes and officials at our HHH club organised ‘home’ Match 3. Attending athletes didn’t disappoint and a BIG thanks to all officials and helpers who were garnered by Dan Hallam & Steve Bosley to complete this event seemingly without difficulties, but behind the scenes required Herculean efforts. And Richard Stansfield and Jess Winfield, running the results, both placing first in their respective genders in equally critical roles.

Pride of place goes to our women who won their match with zealous covering and determination whilst competing without any W70 category athletes and limiting themselves to nine competitors. Equally, intended covering and racing took our men oh so close to victory, but finally losing out by 5 points to Hillingdon, our key divisional rivals, to come second in this highly competitive division.

Yet again, it transpired that our Women showed that collective team spirit with Gillian Wheeldon co-ordinating competitors on the day as the HHH Team Manager took one for the team (for the sake of the meeting itself) and covered the meeting marksman’s duties for the evening. Consequently, report descriptions may be more hearsay than actual fact, but that seems to be a societal norm nowadays on more serious matters than this! Likewise, men’s team meeting organisational responsibilities were shared by Garth Francis and Garries Ironmonger and Budinger, a ‘3-G’ combo for the day. (One more ‘G’ to give us an upgraded ‘4-G’ system and we might have won, Glen!)

Track 100m’s yielded 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st for men and 2nd, 2nd, 1st and 1st for our women, so setting a consistent trend between our teams. Those firsts gained by Kwei Sankofa, Patti Gnoato and Gillian Wheeldon respectively. No disrespect to Tom Irish and Gary Ironmonger, middle distance men, or our successful women but we do lack sprinters and field eventers, particularly at the younger (35y.o age range, both M & F). Tom performed in four track events and it really showed in effort and will on that last 400m relay leg of his, and yet wonderfully holding on to 1st place for HHH after Ben Paviour, Derek Lee and Mo Ismail had put in their determined legs for the lead. The subsequent women’s 4x400m saw a reversal where Alex Marginean, Inga Bellahn, Patti Gnoato just couldn’t give Nikki Sturzaker a superable deficit on that final leg, though, of course, there was no want of trying from Nikki, closing in on every step !

The marksman’s duties deprived me of competing, and yet at 2000m Walk we still came strong with (M60) Andy Millbank 1st M35, Glen Keegan 2nd M50 and (M60) Rob Healey 3rd. Jess Winfield and Ellen Walsh covered the event most competently to get those women’s team points in.

In the field, a more than welcome return of Barbara Macanas got the women two 1sts in both Discus and Javelin, ably supported by Nikki and Ellen. Manwise, those events garnered 2nd s, 3rd s and 4th s between the age groups with Garth Francis, Des Austin, Chris Carden and Phil Parrish with Andy Lea-Gerrard covering at non-scorer. Not a single one under 55 with Garth taking the youngster M35 role (and heavier implements) for the night!

The individual 400m races brought Tom Irish, Andy Simms, Derek Lee, Gary Ironmonger, Mike Mann, Alex Marginean, Alex Shamloll, Patti Gnoato and Gillian Wheeldon into play.

All good points, with 1st place points picked up by Gary I, Alex’s M & S, Patti G, Gillian W, a superior maximum yield from 4 races for the women.

Early on, women’s High Jump started the jumps where Nikki S and Patti G similarly both got those firsts leading out that women’s winning habit. A total of eleven first’s were achieved: Barbara M taking two from two, Patti G three from 4, Gillian W two from 3, Alex M also two from 3, whereas Alex S and Nikki took a win apiece. Alex M Triple Jumped her victory, whilst Patti G took a 2nd place in this event, maybe tiring a little for a change. Jumping men (Triple and High) consisted of Dan Hallam, Dion Panambalana, Chris Carden, Andy Simms and Garth Francis but the moon wasn’t reached this time, Chris C’s 2nd being our best male placing. .. . but all more than essential to compete for team superiority.

Neither were our men’s 1500’s of usual top standard, though competitive effort abounded. Ben Paviour 2nd, despite having run a hard 10 miles trail race the previous day, both Derek Lee and Mark Bebbington 3rd, though Mark’s M60 competition was highly loaded and he managed under 5m30s for the season. Finally, the ever faithful Mike Mann made amends by placing 1st M70, taking men’s 1st to a total of three before the team also took that 4x400m relay.

The women’s 1500m complement also struggled somewhat, but probably from the number of events and duties taken on by the individuals! Thanks for that and those necessary points Jess W, Inga B, Ellen W and Gillian W which brought a well-deserved match victory to our HHH women. Well Done, Ladies, be proud, you all put the work in for it to happen.

Just reaffirms the fact we have the capability and the athletes to win matches, both men’s and women’s. And we have others who can commit and augment this great amenable competition. (Perhaps if I had been managing on the day, instead of taking on essential marksman duties, we men could have had the ability to recover the few points missing for a win and join the girls in victory. But we still need our willing best to turn up, compete and be part of our all-inclusive and congenial squads.

Good luck to Giuseppe Minetti and Paul Marriott, both in Tampere, Finland for the World Vets! (No wonder our sprinters were a little slower this match.) Hope I haven’t overlooked anyone.

Perivale next, Wednesday 13th July! I shall be away, out in Latvia, so would love to hear from a volunteer(s) to help run the team(s), whilst of course, I shall be preparing the ‘call up’ and preliminaries before I go. Let’s finish with a flourish, can we get a win or two again? !

Waldy Pauzers,
Vets Team Manager.

Results Link :