It was a wild and windy afternoon for the second Met League at Stevenage on Saturday 7th November. Waves of heavy rain with strong winds were forecast up till mid afternoon. Combined with heavy traffic on the North Circular because of roadworks, and QPR playing at home, this made for a tediously miserable journey up to Stevenage with not a lot of time to spare. Fortunately the second car of ladies made it, although with various team members unable to attend meant the team was one short for the Seniors and two short for the Veterans. Nonetheless they set off valiantly in intermittently driving rain for two laps of the course.
This year the Powers That Be would not allow running through the woods, so the course was a circuit of the long meadow, with a switch back in the return to make up the distance. The rain had softened up the ground to make it soft enough to be hard work, without being a shoe-sucker, and spikes were definitely an advantage for a good way around. U20 Isabel Dye ran an excellent race to finish at 22nd, with Leanne Lyons also a U20 making her debut Cross Country at 69th, with Siana Jones snapping at her heels most of the way around to finish just 5 seconds later at 70. Barbara Maddison found the going heavy work coming in at 208 with Christine Munden working very hard at 217. This valiant effort brought the team in 8th in Division 1, but the sorry state of points from Claybury leaves the team languishing in 10th with lots of work to do in the remaining 3 races.
The ladies finished in a very heavy shower which had the men cowering in Phil Wetton’s very handy and much appreciated yurt till literally the last minute before their start. Amazingly the weather forecast came good and half way through the first lap, the clouds blew away leaving a bright blue sky and low sun illuminating the course. This was three hard laps, with the south westerly blasting up the length of the course and the sun directly in the eyes, although the wind provided some relief on the return leg.
In a men’s Met League record turnout of 447, Andrew Mitchell did not disappoint and finished in an excellent 60th, and was first in his V45 race category. Fahad Abdi also ran extremely well for his best ever finish in a Met League at 69, just 19 seconds after Andrew. Kieron Sexton showed that his hard work on the track is paying dividends to finish as the 3rd Valley man inside the top 100 at 93. Paul Heaphy turned in an excellent performance at 123 considering it was only his 2nd race back this winter after a long absence over the summer with injury, with Calum Nicol once again showing some good form to be next home at 175. Nathan Egan chose a tough race to make his TVH and cross country debut, having only recently come over from Australia he did well to finish at 243, just ahead of a large group of Valley men finishing thick and fast. Richard Hooley enjoyed a good race in a new pair of trail shoes which brought him home at 254, closely followed by Scott Brewer at 272 and Richard Bell at 299 both wearing spikes. John Husbands managed to get the better of Mervyn Walker at 361 and 371 respectively, while Bernie Robbins made a welcome return to the team after a few seasons absence to finish at 395. Simon Maddison completed the 13 man team with a staunch rearguard action at 442.
With very many thanks to Barrie Saunders for handling the numbers and the results in uncomfortable and demanding conditions, and to Phil Wetton for his encouragement and support, and for bringing the indispensable Yurt along on a day where it was very much needed and greatly valued.
22 Isabel Dye 25:54; 69 Leanne Lyons 28:31; 70 Siana Jones 28:36; 208 Barbara Maddison 37:56; 217 Christine Munden 41:7; 218 finishers
Team: Senior Women 8th, overall 10th in Division 1; Veteran 5th overall 6th Division 2
60 Andrew Mitchell 32:45; 69 Fahad Abdi 33:04; 93 Kieron Sexton 33:38; 123 Paul Heaphy 34:31; 175 Calum Nicol 36:16; 243 Nathan Egan 38:14; 254 Richard Hooley 38:36; 272 Scott Brewer 39:01; 299 Richard Bell 39:45; 361 John Husbands 43:01; 371 Mervyn Walker 43:41; 395 Bernard Robbins 45:24; 442 Simon Maddison 55:16; 447 finishers
Team: Senior Men Division 2: 5th, 7th in League
Veteran Men Division 2: 5th, 6th in League
There are some good photos available from Mark Easton at:http://markeaston.zenfolio.com/f256463178
NOTE THE DATE: NEXT MET LEAGE IS A HOME MATCH AT THE SCRUBS ON 5TH DECEMBER – A THREE LINE WHIP FOR TURNOUT!!!! THIS WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION AT THE QUEEN’S HEAD IN BROOK GREEN – DETAILS TO FOLLOW SHORTLY.