Middlesex XC Champs – Wormwood Scrubs – Sat 09 Jan 2016

The Under 20 men’s squad led the way for ESM at the Middlesex Cross Country Champs at Wormwood Scrubs on Saturday, winning the team trophy. While there were no individual wins in any of the races, the club left with a good clutch of awards: three more sets of team medals and four individual medals. Also pleasing was the generally high turnout from ESM, which fielded 59 athletes in total: a full team in all the races entered bar one, and the only club to field a B team in the U20 men’s race.

The afternoon got off to a great start in the U11 category, introduced for the first time this year. Three ESM boys joined the field of 31, and Najiib Hersi produced a thrilling sprint finish to move from sixth to third, holding on by a whisker to grab himself a bronze medal. Mohammed Ibrahim and nine-year-old Harvey Williams also acquitted themselves well.

The club’s U13 boys were out in force, a full 10 toeing the line. The first three came home almost in succession, led by Felix Mountford in 11th, then Matteo Lamagna in 13th and Dylan Rice in 14th. The squad took silver team medals.

Fiona Coutts and newcomer Estelle Belgrave were the only two ESM representatives in the U13 girls’ race, so they did not close a team.

In the U15 category, the five boys ran well but with Jack Whittaker the first to show in 20th, they were well out of the medals. The girls finished in a respectable fourth place, but it was perhaps a lost opportunity to medal: it is a strong training group but only three of the girls completed the race. They were led home with a fine tenth place from 13-year-old Anisa Ibrahim, who has been showing good form of late, followed up by Cameron Thomas and Sarah Freegard.

Both the girls and the boys collected medals in the U17 races. John Fielding took bronze in the men’s race and the squad won team silver, thanks also to club stalwarts George Kerry and Luke Adar. Nicola Ravenhill finished third in her race too, behind the redoubtable Weir twins of TVH. Laura Stewart made a welcome return from injury in 11th, while Roisin Lynch helped the team to bronze medals.

The U20 men’s race was the highlight of the afternoon for ESM. Mukhtar Farah and Manish Kunwar set off in the leading group, though Manish lost contact halfway round the first lap. In the second lap, the leader pulled away from Mukhtar, who was pushed back to third with half a mile to go, but he rallied on the home straight to take second. Mukhtar (pictured above with the trophy) is still only 17 so it was an excellent performance. Florjan Bakalli was another to produce a storming finish, taking the athlete ahead in the finishing straight. The team win was by no means certain, as the team from St Mary’s started strongly, but lost ground as the race progressed.

The senior men were well represented, with 16 athletes. There is a subsidiary 12-to-score men’s competition open to all clubs finishing outside the top three. Although Serpentine won this year, it is always good to know that ESM can field enough athletes to be in contention. In the six-to-score race, the club finished sixth. Sam Ashcroft and Ben Waterman ran well considering it was only Sam’s second cross country of the season and Ben’s first. Simon Shaw was next to show, perhaps finding the course a little flat for his liking, followed a minute or two later by Luke Nicholas and Angelo John. The battle for sixth – the final scoring place – was intense. Mark Delahunty and Rob Brown (pictured left) could hardly be separated during the race and both are renowned for their gutsy finishes, but Rob won this particular battle with a two second advantage.

The women’s team finished fourth, led home by Kath Mertens in 16th. Grazina Narviliene, Sarah Richardson and Sarah Gerrie completed the scoring team.

Next week we host the Met League at Horsenden Hill. It’s on our doorstep, so let’s turn out in force. Whether you’re up at the front of the field, fighting for places towards the back, or part of the army of volunteers, your club needs you!


ESM results summary

Men Senior (12km): 21 Sam Ashcroft 43:01; 44 Ben Waterman 45:57; 52 Simon Shaw 46:47; 63 Luke Nicolas 48:04; 65 Angelo John 48:23; 71 Robert Brown 49:03; 72 Mark Delahunty 49:05; 88 Santosh Rai 50:34; 95 Martin Shelley 51:15; 128 Craig Miller 54:54; 144 Steve Plested 56:56; 145 Krishna Garbuja 57:04; 153 Phil York 59:13; 156 Clive Richardson 59:23; 167 Martin Wilson 63:50; 170 Rob Howells 65:58 . U20 (8km): 2 Mukhtar Farah 27:56; 8 Manish Kunwar 29:19; 9 Florjan Bakalli 29:39; 15 Charlie Sillett 32:18; 16 Billy Kelly 32:32; 17 Raunak Mainali 32:57; 18 Conor McCarthy 33:17. U17 (6km): 3 John Fielding 24:25; 13 George Kerry 25:57; 23 Luke Adar 28:02. U15 (4km): 20 Jack Whittaker 15:44; 21 Naoki Kanai 15:46; 22 Ilyes Iman 16:04; 24 Sudeys Hersi 16:10; 0 Jonathan Martin 16:38. U13 (3km): 11 Felix Mountford 13:39; 13 Matteo Lamagna 13:46; 14 Dylan Rice 13:47; 36 Mahiis Hersi 14:36; 37 Finn Combe 14:37; 45 Mikey Kouwiloyan 15:39; 51 Masaki Kanai 16:21; 54 Marcus West 16:44; 55 Marco Lamagna 16:45. U11 (1500m): 3 Najiib Hersi 06:55; 14 Mohammed Ibrahim 07:36; 20 Harvey Williams 08:00.

Women Senior (8km): 16 Katherine Mertens 34:22; 23 Grazina Narviliene 34:54; 27 Sarah Richardson 35:15; 30 Sarah Gerrie 35:51; 41 Lynn Wilson 38:15; 46 Carol Jones 38:46; 58 Patricia Thomas 42:05. U17 (5km): 3 Nicola Ravenhill 21:50; 11 Laura Stewart 23:17; 20 Roisin Lynch 26:59. U15 (4km): 10 Anisa Ibrahim 16:14; 31 Cameron Thomas 18:53; 33 Sarah Freegard 20:03. U13 (3km): 24 Fiona Coutts 15:41; 42 Estelle Belgrave 16:45.

Full results here.