It was a glorious autumn day for the first fixture of the Met League cross country league, with firm conditions underfoot. The club’s juniors made a good start to the new season, but the seniors have left themselves with work to do.
The juniors finished the day ranked third out of the 23 clubs in the League, while the seniors were eighth out of 21 – hovering towards the bottom of division one.
The highlight of the day for the club was the second place finish for Erica Wallace, who led the U17/U15 women to fourth in this high quality league. Finishing just 50 metres behind the winner, she was followed in by Nicola Ravenhill, a further 50 metres back in sixth. Anisa Ibrahim and Cameron Thomas completed the scoring team.
The corresponding U17/U15 men’s team were ranked 11th, just outside the top third. John Fielding was first to show, in 8th, with Luke Adar and Jonathan Martin completing the team.
The U13 boys fared similarly to their older counterparts, finishing eighth out of 22 teams. Dylan Rice led them home, and half a minute later, Matteo Lamagna and Mahiis Hersi followed in close succession. Fatima Hussain was the club’s only representative in the U13 girls’ race. The popular mixed race for Under 11s saw Masaki Kanai, Najiib Hersi and Marco Lamagna acquit themselves well.
With the senior men lacking a good number of their quicker athletes, expectations were low, but the team managed to finish just above the relegation zone. League debutant Simon Shaw took the hilly terrain in his stride, finishing 32nd in a near-record field of 427, and the second veteran man in the field. Just two seconds behind in 34th, Mo Hashi produced his best League performance to date, backing up his characteristic quick start with good endurance over the 8km course. Under 20 Manish Kunwar also impressed with his first cross country outing, looking at ease as he finished in 62nd. Stalwart Luke Nicholas was also home inside the top 100.
The women’s team was boosted by the return of Alison Hopkins after a long absence from cross country, who led the club home in 56th. Nikki Shelley (far right of photo) was over the line less than half a minute later, with Shona Cowper (centre of photo) and novice Leanne Smith (left of photo) following in close succession. While the women were well placed in the thick of the record field of close to 200, they were unfortunately the wrong side of “the bulge” and lost valuable points as a result.
Full results are here
The next fixture is at Stevenage on Saturday 7th November.
ESM results summary
Senior/U20 women: 56 Alison Hopkins V40 25:50; 63 Nikki Shelley 26:11; 65 Shona Cowper 26:19; 72 Leanne Smith 26:42; 86 Carol Jones V55 27:23; 118 Christine Meek V55 28:40; 135 Patricia Thomas V50 29:43; 160 Helena French 31:39
U15/17 Girls: 2 Erica Wallace 16:29; 6 Nicola Ravenhill 16:41; 27 Anisa Ibrahim U15 18:24; 40 Cameron Thomas U15 19:18; 47 Zoe Crown U15 19:50; 54 Roisin Lynch 20:24; 55 Megan Rice U15 20:44; 58 Sarah Freegard U15 24:03
Senior/U20 men: 32 Simon Shaw V40 27:28; 34 Mo Hashi 27:30; 62 Manish Kunwar U20 28:52; 91 Luke Nicholas 29:49; 155 Mark Kencroft V45 31:23; 175 Florjan Bakalli U20 31:52; 197 Andy Dodd 32:30; 204 James Steel V45 32:45; 264 Ian Leslie V55 34:37; 285 Martin Shelley 35:25; 332 Steve Plested V60 36:56; 345 Phil York V50 37:36; 358 Keith Freegard V55 38:02; 380 Rob Howells V55 39:34; 399 Martin Wilson V60 41:29; 405 Graham French V55 42:07
U15/17 Boys: 8 John Fielding 14:31; 24 Luke Adar 15:25; 61 Jonathan Martin U15 16:31
U13 Boys: 19 Dylan Rice 12:28; 28 Matteo Lamagna 12:58; 30 Mahiis Hersi 13:04
U11 Mixed: 25 Masaki Kanai 6:32; 34 Najiib Hersi 6:53; 39 Marco Lamagna 7:00