Written by Les H for Susanne D
You wouldn’t believe it.
Sunday morning, we all got into our cars down in Kingston, with the sun shining, birds singing innocently, a light breeze, and all was fine.
We arrived up on the Epsom Downs. Upon opening, the car doors were whipped out of our hands, we struggled to stand upright, and we made plans for what’d happen when you were blown into the horse fence, clinging on to a fence post… The wind was just too strong. Yet out teams were absolutely amazing, and some athletes even got PBs!!!
Susanne Dietrich reports …
Our U11s were led home by Olly Wilson, who, coming back from his hockey injury, finished a strong 4th. Benjamin Taplin and Louis Ordovac ran new PBs and came 10th and 11th, respectively, followed by Tom Wilson in 13th place. Michael Webb-Bourne (new PB), Lydia Louw and Gemma Watts (also new PB) were the next home in 23rd, 24th and 25th place, then Flo Polwin (34th), Max Dickson (new PB, 35th), Samual Hall (39th), Arthur Louw (43rd) and Tom Williams (46th). We lacked a few runners who helped to win Match2, and so the team had to settle for 2nd place. Yet Olly (2nd boy), Benjamin (5th boy), Louis (8th boy) and Gemma (3rd girl) are well placed in the individual rankings, with good chances to improve on that or win a medal in the final match.
Our U13s again proved to be a formidable force, and with a win of Match3, they are in an almost unassailable lead. Sam Shaw won the race in a new PB of 12.01 min, which would have made him a competitive runner even in the U15s. Matthew Hall has improved enormously over the season, and secured a fine 4th place. Darcy Bourne kindly slotted in the race before a hockey match later that afternoon, and also she proved her great form by coming home 5th (1st girl). Further strong runs by Daniel Merighi (7th), Hannah Lester, (9th), Kathryn Bartle (11th, new PB), Annabel Hobday (12th), Amelia Bell (12th), Jack Westley (19th) ensured that we put 100points between our team and the next-placed Stragglers. In the individual boys rankings, Sam leads and Jack is 5th (persistence pays off!); on the girls list, Hannah is 2nd, Annabel 3rd, and Amelia 4th. I am struggling to pick the most outstanding performance, because all were just great. But possibly I should give the praise to Hettie Arnfield who, despite breathing difficulties, brought herself to finish the race (21st-and not even last!), and to Hannah Lester who, coming from behind, simply would not give up and won the sprint finish over the runner ahead of her (incidentally the current leader of the girls’ rankings…).
My expectation for the U15 were somewhat subdued because over the season, we struggled to bring out of the full force in particular for the boys. But our runners were so strong that they turned the page. Fantastic Josh Hall won the race in superb 11:35 min. Next were Molie O’Sullivan in 4th; Lucie Fletcher in a magnificent finish secured 8thplace, James Hinton came 11th, Rebecca Keddie 15th and Alexandra Shaw 20th. Mollie gave herself a fine birthday present, leading the girls’ rankings with three straight 1st girl places; Lucie is 3rd girl, and Rebecca 5th. On the boys’ side, only James ran all races, and he is 8th. The team won on the day and is now only 10 points behind leader Sutton. It will be all to play for in the last match!
So - what is the prospect for the final match on Sunday 9th March? With a decent turn out, we will get a fat medal haul! So I ask you to put the day into your diaries. Rain or shine, let’s convene on the Downs for the last time this winter, and celebrate our athletes’ achievements! I am looking forward to seeing you.
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