Tue Nov 16 2021
Men's XC - Surrey League Division 3 - 14/11/2021
Following a successful start to the season at an uncharacteristically mild and dry Epsom Downs, K&P's men travelled to Denbies for the second fixture of the Surrey League.
The course at Denbies was described in the race briefing as 'challenging' due to its long drawn out hills and a few tight turns. Additional challenges also included the few hundred runners who had earlier gone round as part of the Division 2 fixture and then the unexpected downpour an hour before the start. "Trails or spikes?" quickly became everyone's question but the reality was that both were going to prove fairly ineffective when heading downhill at speed.
To add to the challenges of the course and the weather, the team were only able to turn out 8 of the 10 scoring runners required due to injury and illness. Knowing the team would receive two lots of maximum penalty points before the start acted as appropriate motivation for our 8 runners to ensure they recorded the lowest points total as possible out of the 366 runners competing in the joint divisions 3 and 4 race (164 of those being in division 3).
Michael Huntley and Matt Hyett led the charge. Matt, continuing his excellent form, went with the early pace with Michael tucked behind. Michael came home as first K&P in 8th position with Matt following in 11th.
Matt Atkins was next home in 14th place showing how he is returning to his usual form with an improvement of 32 places from the previous fixture. George Chaplin closely followed in 16th proving his previous calf issue is now behind him.
Jonathan Darby was next home in a handy 24th with Mark Reed in 35th. Full kudos goes out to Mark who had a very early start to make it to Denbies on time. An under the weather James Robertson was our seventh finisher in 42nd - it's fair to say that James would much rather have spent an afternoon in bed than in the rain.
Our eighth and final finisher was Hagop Derian making his debut for K&P. Hagop finished in a very encouraging 86th position and even had a smile on his face at the finish despite debuting on one of the toughest courses the club compete on.
All in K&P finished in a brilliant 3rd. The Team Managers had predicted 5th so were especially happy to see such a great team performance in the absence of a full squad. The 3rd placed finish has helped ensure we remain within touching distance of promotion and the team remain 3rd overall in the league standings. There is now a points gap that needs to be made up to get closer to 2nd but with a full team and some of our regular athletes back in action we should hopefully chip away at the gap and put ourselves in contention for the much coveted promotion to Divison 2.
Oaur support crew were ever present despite the horrid conditions. Thanks go out to Ant, Bob, David, Geoff, Gillian, Graham and Peter for their encouragement.
Next up for the men's team is the third Surrey League fixture at Richmond Park on 16 January. If you are interested in joining in the fun then please get in touch with Michael Huntley - everyone is welcome!