On 13 July HHH Women’s Vets made club history again, not just by winning a second match but by winning a place in the SCVAC finals. It was a tight competition with HHH finishing on 134 event points, just 7 ahead of Serpentine 127, Hillingdon only 2 points behind them with 125, ESM 102, Metros 33, BA 13 and TVH 9. We are therefore through to the finals by one match point.
The gloomy evening couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm and spirit, and the first track event saw Nikki Sturzaker and Nicola Richmond starting out how they meant to continue – double firsts in the W35 A and B strings including a pb for Nikki of 2.30.5 and a season’s best for Nicola. Non-scoring Alexandra Shamloll would also have won the B string, demonstrating our strength in this category. Mandy Brown interrupted her debut in the hammer event to cover this distance for the first time in years, taking on a tough bunch to finish third in the W50. Claire Steward seems to have taken well to track competition (!) with an excellent 2nd in the W60 race.
Patrizia Gnoato fought off the competition for first place in the W35B 200m, and A string Alexandra was pipped into 2nd by .4 second in her first time at this distance for four years. Multi-talented Sharon St Luce took 3rd in the W50 and my saviour Claire took 2nd in the W60.
The competition’s hearts must sink when they see Nikki and Nicola at the starting line – this time for the 3000m A and B strings where they reigned supreme yet again. Non-scoring Natalie Zara would have come in 2nd by a minute in the B string, again showing our strength at these longer distances. Mandy took 6.7 seconds off her pb in 4th for the W50 and Claire took 4.2 seconds off her time to clinch 2nd in the W60.
We have become a bit smug about our relays lately but for the 4 x 100m my heart was in my mouth as Hillingdon closed in on the last leg. Alexandra held them off and with the great contribution from Sharon, Patrizia and Nikki we equalled our pb of 61.1 from last year.
I was glad to do something reasonably decent in the hammer for a change, taking 1st for the W60. Mandy’s debut throw of 15.80m (against 30m and 40m throwers) took 3rd spot in the W50 and Kathleen Moeller throwing the heavier implement in the W35 clocked up more 3rd place points. Kathleen and Sharon split focus between high jump and javelin at either end of the field, Kathleen taking 3rd in W35 and Sharon lingering long enough to clear another 5cm to ensure 1st in W50. The distraction didn’t prevent Ms St Luce from a 1st in the W50 javelin with 22.7m and Kathleen was up against 20m+ throwers in the W35, still managing a pb with 14.41m in 4th.
Sharon nipped over from javelin to win the W50 long jump (so glad this superwoman is on our team!) and Patrizia just missed W35 3rd place by 1cm. I gleaned some extra points in 4th place in W60 and non-scoring Kathleen would have come 3rd in W35.
Each and every point we snatched meant the total won the match. We often covered for absent colleagues this season – now we must get everyone together in the same place at the same time for the final: 6 September, Ashford, Kent. We will be covering full match events, so any HHH women over 35 who would like to participate in this momentous occasion – please get in touch.
We look forward to the tussle next year – Serpentine remains strong and Hillingdon goes from strength to strength with ESM not far behind. Metros, BA and TVH are poignant reminders of the days not so long ago when we began to build the team. We can’t foresee what challenges will present themselves, but I can tell you the HHH Women’s team will meet them with determination and grit!
I salute you, ladies! – we have proven a lot to ourselves this season and there is a lot more to come.
HHH Women’s Vets T&F