Pre race it looked a good team on paper – and so it proved when it came to the race. With the returning Chris Greenwood, along with two excellent second claimers the team certainly had a strong look about it. And in the race the team proceeded to prove just how strong by coming away with a convincing win.
It might not be everybody’s favorite course, but Mitcham Common has something about it that’s quite appealing. Although quite a short course, most runners felt it has enough variety to make it a true test.
One wondered beforehand how much the previous weeks county victory had taken out of John Gilbert as by any standard it had been a tough race. However, there didn’t seem to be much of a hang over as he was soon disputing the early lead with Clapham’s Andy Maud. Interestingly Maud had chosen to run the Surrey League rather than represent Highgate, now his first claim club in the Met league. Having come to running relatively late Maud has made a real impact. John was disputing the lead in the early stages, but with his deceptively easy style Maud was able to pull away around mid race. John held second behind a chasing pack that included previous league winner, John Pepper. Also up in the leading group for much of the race was Max Nicholls, who the previous week had been battling it out with John in the Kent County race. Although Max is a Tonbridge 1st claimer he often trains with Ken’s group and his association with us goes back some while. For much of the race Max was vying for third or fourth. In the end he was overhauled by a couple of runners. But nevertheless seventh place was an impressive Surrey league debut. Behind Max was Richard Phillips again making a terrific contribution to our cause. For a while Richard was running with Neil Phillips ( no relation) but Richard really pushed on in the last quarter to finish a fine (8th). Then it was the turn of the returning hero – well some might say that. Yes, making a welcome return to the fray was Chris Greenwood sidelined by injury and perhaps a period of what might be termed contemplation. Chris showed he’s lost none of his racing nous by starting fairly conservatively and coming right through for 11th spot. Our fifth scorer in (13th) was the ever reliable Neil Phillips. Only just outside the top twenty (21st)was Jordan Weaver providing further proof of what a great find he is for the club.
Our seventh and eighth scorers are both on the come back trail after injury and the pair – Gareth Anderson(27th) and Ben Harding (28th) had extremely encouraging runs. Then closing the team in were James Bowler (34th) and Jonathan Tipper (35th).
Unsurprisingly, having three in the first ten and closing the team at 34 meant a very clear cut victory. In addition to the victory we also had cause to celebrate the fact that a record number of runners turned out in a Surrey League race – an incredible 36. A brief perusal of the full results will show the quality of the runs of many of those in our colours who didn’t make the scoring ten. Skipper Beaney has hopes of even exceeding the Mitcham numbers for the final fixture at Wimbledon.
Of course this is a fixture where we will be looking to secure another league title. So let’s pull all the stops out to get a really top team for the fourth fixture, as well as one that even beats the turnout we had at Mitcham.
Apologies for errors or omissions
Teams: Kent;186: Ranelagh Harriers;313: Thames Hare & Hounds; 348