Luck was on our side this weekend, as Saturday was blessed with mild, sunny conditions; by contrast Storm Ciara put paid to most outdoor plans the following day. That’s not to say we had it easy: there was mud aplenty, especially around some of the tight turns – Akira wasn’t alone in ending up face-down. From his vantage point at the finish funnel, John Falvey also heard reports of shoes lost en route. (More on the shoe-hungry mud below).
There was a modest turnout from the young athletes, who have their own North West London League next weekend, of course. U13 Ed Flewitt distinguished himself with his best finish so far: fourth, and in a relatively large field of 62.
The ever-competitive Lucy Henson placed twelfth (sixth U15) in the combined U17/U15 race.
The men’s team concluded a successful season back in Division One as Team Manager Jamie Taylor-Caldwell reports:
“The ESM Senior Men arrived at Trent Park in sixth place in the league standings, but with Serpentine only a few points ahead, a top five finish for the first time since 2005 certainly seemed possible.
“The team were led again by U20 Elias Ahmed, with his best race of the season, finishing in the top 20 for the first time. Mo Hashi’s 31st place secured him the club XC title, another consistent season, completing all five league races in the top 40. Tim Lawrence made his debut for the club after a transfer from Kent AC. He and John Robertson picked up some much needed points for the team in 78th and 82nd.
“Pete Flewitt has been hampered by a hamstring injury all season, and started cautiously but moved through the field to 99th. He passed Luke Nicholas in the last few hundred metres, who as always defied his lack of training to finish 106th.
“At halfway Sean, Akira, Reece and Mukhtar found themselves together, locked in a team battle with three Serpentine runners. I made it very clear that they wouldn’t get a lift home unless they beat them, and they duly delivered. They reached the top of the final hill still just behind the Serpentine group, but swept past them on the boggy section and held them off down the home straight.
“The scoring 12 was closed out by Ian Leslie, with his highest finish of the season, 326th. It ended up a comfortable victory over Serpentine and so a final fifth place finish in the league was secured.
“The Vets team was also in an important league battle, with a chance of promotion to Division 1. Ricky Grimes (390th) and Steve Plested (450th) picked up important points, but unfortunately the team fell just short. Certainly a big goal for the Vets next season to get into that top two in Division 2!
“Overall, an excellent season for the Senior Men’s Team and certainly a promising future with some useful talent coming up from the U17s in 2020/21!”
The women are capable of promotion into Division One, but their campaign got off to a poor start this season, with a disappointing turnout at the first match. The team did well thereafter, but it was always a game of catch-up… and we didn’t quite catch up! At this last match, Team Manager and reliable points-scorer Shona Cowper was elsewhere, wearing her triathlon cap, but we had a nice surprise waiting for us in the form of U20 Angel Grimes McTavish, down for the weekend from Glasgow University.
The race didn’t go to plan for everyone, however, with Sarah Gerrie hurting her foot early on and hanging on grimly for the points. Sarah Harris has taken to cross country like a duck to water this season, and it was her turn to lead the team home – also cementing her position as the club’s veteran cross country champion. Fiona Kennedy was second scorer and first W60 across the line, her left leg bloodied from a fall onto a stray piece of barbed wire. Pat Thomas had a private nightmare with the mud repeatedly sucking the shoes off her feet, but at least we all benefited from enthusiastic support round the course from Amira Nuseibeh’s mum and Angel’s parents. We finished third overall in Division Two, while our veterans were mid-table in Division One. Congratulations to Shona, who had already done enough to be crowned overall women’s cross country champion.
Thanks to all who represented the club in the League this season and good luck to those whose season continues, especially those travelling up to the Nationals on Saturday 22nd.
ESM results summary:
U11B (1.5K): 19 Mika Stripp 5:54, 20 Elliot Edgar 5:55, 36 Bilal Yusif 6:21
U13B (3K): 4 Edward Flewitt 11:08, 17 Alec Edgar 12:04
U13G (3K): 43 Isabela Dussaillant 15:46, 46 Spencer Shaw 17:05
U17M/U15B (4K): 49 Thomas Edgar 16:24, 83 Hussein Zaaiter (U15) 20:07
U17W/U15G (4K): 12 Lucy Henson (U15) 17:16, 57 Sonia Ouzhene (U15) 21:58, 63 Anna Dussaillant (U15) 23:33
SW/U20W (7.8K): 48 Sarah Harris (V40) 35:09, 61 Fiona Kennedy (V60) 35:58, 63 Sarah Gerrie 36:07, 101 Angel Grimes McTavish (U20) 39:07, 132 Patricia Thomas (V55) 41:04, 149 Amira Nuseibeh (U20) 42:29, 162 Carol Jones (V60) 43:25
SW/U20W (7.8K): 19 Elias Ahmed (U20) 27:13, 31 Mohamed Hashi 27:51, 76 Tim Lawrence 29:09, 80 John Robertson (V40) 29:13, 84 Christopher Hepworth 29:17, 102 Peter Flewitt (V45) 29:52, 104 Luke Nicholas 29:57, 176 Sean Hanrahan 31:40, 179 Akira Anzai-Jackson 31:46, 180 Reece Asik 31:47, 181 Mukhtar Farah 31:49, 324 Ian Leslie (V60) 36:15, 388 Ricky Grimes (V55) 39:12, 403 Steve Plested (V65) 40:03
Full results on power of 10