MISSION ACCOMPLISHED AS WE REGAIN SURREY LEAGUE TITLE Men’s Surrey League Cross Country, Lloyd Park, Feb 8 Kent AC’s senior men’s team achieved what they set out to do at the beginning of the season; reclaim the Surrey league title. They did so in some style as despite their previous winning streak when the club had won the league six times in a row, in those winning seasons we’d never actually won all four fixtures. We put that right this season – winning the fixtures in a convincing manner. The previous season had been a bit of a wake up call. We’d got very used to winning and then a strong, determined Hercules Wimbledon team gathered momentum and showed us a clean pair of heels. After the defeat we knew we had to regroup and come back stronger which is exactly what we did. By the time of the final fixture we were in a commanding position. However, we wanted to finish on a high note so another very strong team was on the start line, again, like last year held at Lloyd Park. The race was a thoroughly enjoyable one from a Kent AC supporters’ point of view. Although it didn’t quite finish up in the order, it was exciting to see a Kent trio cresting the steep bank on the final lap in 1,2, 3 order. At that stage in was more or less John Gilbert, Owen Hind and Max Nicholls together. Early on in the race, in his inimitable style, John Gilbert was pushing the pace which led to a quite a large group breaking up. In the company of our trio was Clapham’s Johnny Van Deventer who’d come second at the Beckenham fixture. They were closely pursued by a group containing two Hercules runners, Cornish and Milne and South London’s consistent Gary Laybourne. While a little back from them was our own Jim Allchin. After having seen our trio together on the early part of the lap those at the main spectating point were eager to see if there had been any change when the runners appeared again. And there had been a change as Owen Hind had now got a clear lead with Max Nicholls in second. With a little more than half a mile of down- hill running to go, John Gilbert was in third but being hotly pursued. Despite John’s best efforts his pursuers just got the better of him. John finished fifth but had the consolation of being the individual winner of the match series. Owen won the race with a little bit to spare from Max. He described his winning move more as stretching out, rather than putting in a big effort. Max’s was another fine run following his excellent effort at the Southern’s. After John our next in was Jim Allchin who has paid such a prominent part in our success this season. Jim’s eighth place meant he was just behind John in the overall competition for top runner. Just behind Jim was regular second claimer Nick Torry. Pre -race it was anticipated that Joe Vis would be running and as he’d run in three fixtures it was felt he should be given the opportunity to score in the last fixture. Joe didn’t actually run and it proved too late to get Nick down as a second claim scorer. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too greedy as even without the contribution that Nick would have made, we still had a very decent winning margin. I have previously highlighted how consistent Jim Allchin has been, but this season Ben Harding probably comes into the same category. Ben was eleventh with another fine run. Only a couple of seconds behind Ben was Cedric Hauben who’s made such a positive contribution to our cause this season. Just inside twenty and showing his form is steadily improving was Chris Greenwood (19th). Although they came in more or less together our eighth and ninth scorers employ very different styles of racing. Dave Morgan (33rd) just got the better of Dame Dibaba (34th). Closing the ten to score and showing very good form in his first year as a V40 was Neil Phillips. Neil took the V 40 award for best performance in all four fixtures by a V40. As was the case with the previous fixtures, at Lloyd Park our B team ran out very convincing winners. Some of the B team scorers were well known regulars, but there were several performances that I thought worth highlighting. It was tremendously encouraging to see our two under 20’s, Isaac Maxwell (63rd) and Matthew Maginn (67th) doing so well, surrounded as they were, by good calibre club runners. Will Pitt had another solid run. As many of you will have seen, congratulations must go to Will and a number of our other vets who have gained selection to represent England Masters in a forthcoming half marathon. It was good to see Adrian Lowther making the scoring B team. After quite a lengthy period out, Adrian’s on the come- back trail. I’m sure if he can stay injury free, we’ll see him being very competitive again. Fittingly, the last fixture turned out to be a great way for us to regain the league title – claiming it with another clear race victory. Like we had done at the final fixture last year, Hercules Wimbledon runners came over to us to hand over the trophy and offer congratulations. Whilst they were magnanimous, we were left in no doubt they will be up for the challenge next season. So, while we have to enjoy the moment, we’ll clearly have to be ready to put the same effort and commitment in if we want to try and retain the title.
1st Owen Hind 27 00 2nd Max Nicholls 27 14 5th John Gilbert 27 22 8th Jim Allchin 27 46 9th Nick Torry (n/s) 27 59 12th Ben Harding 28 24 13th Cedric Hauben 28 26 19th Chris Greenwood 28 34 34th Dave Morgan 29 21 35th Dame Dibaba 29 22 39th Neil Phillips 29 29 46th Sean Fitzpatrick 29 47 56th George Russell 30 14 60th Joe Hartley 30 15 63rd Isaac Maxwell 30 33 2nd U20 67th Matthew Maginn 30 45 3rd U20 75th Barny Day 30 57 79th Jonathan Tipper 31 07 83rd Will Pitt 31 18 87th Adrian Lowther 31 25 88th Jake English 31 25 89th Richard Giles 31 43 101st Calum Fraser 32 00 109th Tomas Sloan 32 18 111th Arif Merali 32 23 112th Jordan Weaver 32 24 115th Cameron Forrest 32 29 116th Dan Ansell 32 32 130th Pete Lighting 33 08 150th Mark Crabtree 34 07 163rd Khawaja Shahabuddin 35 02 176th Ed Matthews 36 05 177th Chris McGurk 36 08 190th David Devlin 37 53 203rd Gary Sullivan 40 47 206th John Greene
Teams: 10 to score
1st (162) KENT AC 2nd (270) Hercules Wimbledon 3rd ((387) Thames H & H 4th Herne Hill H 5th South London H 6th Belgrave H 7th Clapham Chasers 8th Guildford & G 9th Dulwich Runners
B Teams: 10 to score
1st (98) KENT AC 2nd (193) Herne Hill H 3rd (347) Hercules Wimbledon 4th South London H 5th Belgrave H 6th Clapham Chasers 7th Dulwich Runners 8th Guildford & G 9th Thames Hare & H
42 17 210 finished