Monday, 23 October 2017

Metropolitan League XC 2017-18 – Race 1 Claybury, October 14th

VPH&THAC get X Country season off to a cracking start with a record-breaking turnout at Claybury!

Saturday’s Met League saw over 100 club members tackle the bone-dry undulating Claybury course. The results across the board led Neil Cook (Met League Pressure Group Administrator) to hail the VPH team performance as, “one of the greatest days for our fine club.” This was even more impressive due to the record number of participants, 506 men and 211 women, the corresponding fixture last year saw 472 and 160 respectively.

The juniors kicked things off and led by example, the Under 11s finishing 1st with Louis Reynolds putting in an exceptional individual performance to achieve 2nd!  It was also a 2nd for the Under 13 girls and 3rd place for U11 and U15/U17 girls, continuing their dominance from last season and topping the junior league overall.

Annie in action for the women

Inspired by the juniors, the women also put in a strong team performance, the Women’s A team finishing in 4th place in Division 1 (above Heathside). Buoyed by newcomers Helena Eastham (16th), Annie Byrne (27th) and Hannah Somai (36th) who on their met league debuts were able to catapult the women 6 places from last year! The remainder of the A team was filled by Rachel Thomas (12th), Sophie Donges (28th) and Holly Weir (34th).

Gritty runs from Charlie Maling, (42nd) Sue Bint (43), Emma Dunk (47th)  and Rachel Rowling (57th and first post baby Met League) saw the Women’s B team finish top of Division 3 making the B team favourites for promotion and demonstrating our great depth. New joiners Nat Forester, Amelia Evans and Emma Robinson (first X country for club) all had great runs and showed great promise for the future fixtures.

The VETs also asserted themselves on the league with some fantastic running from Holly, Sue, ‘Come back Queen’ Catherine McLaughlin (82nd) and Agata Slota (117th) to finish 4th a mere 16 points adrift of third place. With some key VETS out of action this weekend, the women will be looking to build on this placing at the next fixture and keep up the VPH charge.

The men’s race witnessed the second stand out performance of the day from Paul Martiletti with an astounding run, after sitting in 11th position after the first lap he was masterfully able to work his way up the strong field to finish in 3rd position overall. The great work did not stop there and fresh from his Isle of Wight success Joe Dale came home in a very impressive 33rd, followed by the reigning Chingford League champion James Cordwell (48th) and Fabien Lassonde (63rd). Alun Myers on his first x country outing in a while proved that his talents were not just on the roads finishing just behind in (64th), showing great promise for the rest of the season. Steve Hobbs (68th), Michael Channing (74th), Tony MacDowall (90th), and Ewan Cameron (95th) continued their fine form and were scorers for the A team. Special mention must also goes to newcomers William Kirk (76th), William Woodcock (78th), and Aaron McGrudy (80th) who played a vital role in helping the men’s A team finish in an incredible 3rd place overall in Division 1 streaks above our local friends and rivals Barnet and Heathside.

There were also some fine performances in our B team with David Jones (99th), Neil Cook (117th), Gareth Evans (119th), Anthony Withstandley (122nd), Craig Norris (124th), Simeon Bennett (157th), Andre Dahlkamp (171st), Duncan Steen (175th) and Jordi Mila (195th) which rocketed them into 1st place of Division 3 cementing themselves as serious promotion contenders. 

The Men’s Vets also proved there was still some life left in the ‘old gits’ and surged to third place in Division 1 respectively.

Men's cheer squad

Undoubtedly, it was a truly memorable day and evening for VPH&THAC and a massive thank you must go to all the supporters, new kit designers, baby/dog sitters, brownie makers, photo snappers, marquee erecters, Club captains, junior coaches and number distributors that were key in helping to contribute to a fantastic team performance across the board. Not forgetting Cheryl Evans who organised a brilliant team social and at the same time managed to do some recruiting for the next track season. 

I urge you now to get the next Met league fixture in the diary, November 11th at Welwyn Garden City, at the picturesque Stanborough Park (great day out for the kids too), let’s keep up the strength in numbers as that is what makes the difference. #VPH4EVA

Post race & Brownie photo

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