Met League reports from the Serpie team captains
A round up of the last season′s Met League cross country from team captains Jo & Fraser
Met League Women′s Team - Captain′s Report
Another Met League season has been completed and the ladies′ team can really hold their heads high. 73 ladies competed throughout the season, for 21 ladies it was their first XC season for Serpentine.
33 of us came out strong, winning the first match at Claybury with 4 ladies in the top 10. The Vets′ team also set the standard, leaving Serpentine the team to be beaten. Unfortunately though, an injury hit team resulted in 4th place at Stevenage: 50 points lower than our nearest rivals. This hit us hard in the league points, dropping us to 4th place and creating a gap to the top 3; and our Vets′ team dropped to 2nd place. Also our B team lost points, leaving us dangerously close to the relegation spots of division 1.
We knew we had a fight on our hands. So fight we did. A determined 30 ladies travelled to Uxbridge where we claimed our 2nd win. It allowed us to close the gap, but still left us in 4th place in the league. However, our strength in depth shone and lifted our B team back to a more comfortable placing within division 1.
January saw ‘planned engineering works’ on the central line, but 33 ladies made the effort and embraced the mud that defines the Horsenden Hill course. After the starter appeared 5 minutes late, after fear of an AWOL, our A team closed out in a very respectable 34, unfortunately not as strong as our rivals, placing us 4th and therefore cementing our 4th place in the league.
This then left us to finish the season with our heads held high at Wormwood Scrubs. Although the toilets tried to dampen our mood, the course not being as muddy as expected seemed to lift everyone’s moods. 31 ladies ran their socks off, finishing a strong 2nd place, just beaten by Heathside.
So after a season of ups and downs, it was London Heathside who took the trophy. After leading for most of the season, Shaftesbury Barnet came 2nd, followed by Highgate Harriers, then Serpentine A. Serpentine B came 8th, just above relegation. We are now the only team with 2 teams in the top division, which will really help in collecting more points against our rivals next season. Serpentine C finished in 4th place in division 2.
The Vets’ team had a strong season, however, couldn’t quite get that top spot, leaving us 2nd in division 1.
However, we have very much made our presence felt in both the senior and Vets’ divisions and look forward to another battle in the 2015/16 season.
Met League Men′s Team - Captain′s Report
For the Serpentine men, the challenge was on to see if we could kick on from last year’s second to finally win the league. 53 men competed at the first race at Claybury in a strong team that featured the majority of our fastest athletes and a really good spread right through the field, setting the tone for the season ahead. Unfortunately, Highgate proved to be even stronger and won the fixture, with Serpentine in a creditable second. Our newly promoted B team found the going tough in the top division and the C team also had a tough day. Our three vets’ teams however each had a good result, all finishing fourth in their respective divisions.
The second fixture at Stevenage was a train ride outside London, but the lure of the legendary town centre Wetherspoons beer emporium was strong and we fielded a team of 44 men. We were able to capitalise on some great Serpie performances and a relatively weak Highgate to win the fixture comfortably and close the gap on first place in the league. The B and C teams again had a tough day, but the vets A team did really well to finish second, with another fourth for the B team but a weaker result for the C team.
The third fixture at the new venue of Hillingdon felt like it was make or break. If we could give Highgate a bloody nose for the second fixture in a row, we would take a massive step forward towards winning the league. The guys responded to the rallying cry, with a really strong squad, some of whom flew in for the fixture from overseas! We were rewarded with a great result: another win, which closed the gap to Highgate to just 31 points. There was also a much-improved result for the C team. For the vets, great results cemented second place for the A and B teams in their respective divisions, whilst the C team also performed well.
After that fixture, it really looked like we could push on and win the league. However, it wasn’t to be. At Perivale we were missing a number of our fastest athletes. Despite some really outstanding individual performances on the day we finished third, behind an extremely strong Highgate and Woodford Green. The B team again struggled in division 1, but the C team gave another very creditable performance in division 2. In the vets’ competition, our A and C teams were both second and our B team was third.
So, we knew going into the final fixture that the win was probably now out of reach. Our A team finished a strong second on the day to end the season second behind Highgate, but well ahead of Woodford Green in third. Our B team again found it tough in the top division, but will kick ass again in the second division next year. Our C team again performed well to cement their position in the second division for next year. In the vets’ competition, our A team was third on the day and finished second in the league, a great result. Our vets’ B team was fourth and finished the season third in the second division. The C team was seventh in the fixture and finished the season fifth in the league.
So, another successful season in which we pushed Highgate closer than ever. Next year…
Submitted: 9 March 2015