Southern Athletics League competition report

Last Sunday we returned to Hillingdon for meeting two of this year’s Southern Athletics League (SAL) competition. Read Stuart Leigh's report to find out how it went.

This season we are grouped with local clubs in the North West London division. Whilst this means no trekking around the home counties to get to matches, it also means competing with some high quality clubs which would normally be a division or two above us in the league. In beautiful warm weather it was a pleasure to witness athletes from Thames Valley Harriers, Ealing and Harrow posting stellar performances including triple jumps of >14m (men) and >12m (women), a 5.30m pole vault, a 42 second 4 x 100m relay and in the field a javelin throw of >70m (men) and hammer throw of >63m (women).

We also had one or two stars of our own and the day’s standout Serpie performance was in the men’s 3,000m where Jonathan Poole led a field of 19 athletes from gun to finish, holding off a strong challenge from Ealing’s A string athlete, both coming home comfortably under 9 minutes with JP knocking out 71 second lap after 71 second lap looking like he was going for a Sunday morning jog in his local park! Jonathan then doubled up at the club’s request and came within a whisker of winning the men’s 1,500m A race in 4m 13s.

The club’s highest point scorers on the day were Rhi (2,262) who somehow found time to complete a heptathlon collecting PBs for long jump and triple jump along the way followed by Victoria Brown (1,813) who having already been our A scorer in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m (in 19m 42s) then put her hand up to run the hastily arranged and unexpected steeple chase and topped her day off by running a decent leg in the mixed 4 x 400 relay. Remarkable! Hel James (as a young 68-year-old), also completing a heptathlon as B string to Rhi, saw her beat 2 throwers in the discus with a SB of 12.92m. Hel’s other big achievement was breaking her 2021 season mental block in the high jump with a 1cm SB (91cm). On the men’s side Dave Robinson scored 1,654 points completing 7 events in track and field whilst Frank Womelsdorf scored 1,449 points completing all four throws and the pole vault.

We also welcomed debutants Luke Robinson who showed great promise with a 13.3 sec 100m, 4.55m long jump and 1.45m high jump and Victoria Basquill who ran 20.11 in the women's 5000m and also ran a leg in both the 4x100m women's relay and 4x400m mixed relay.

Thank you to all the athletes who came along and competed. Our overall match points tally was an improvement on match one which helps moves the Serpentine up the league table a little.

Next event: The SAL fun continues with match 3 at Perivale on Sunday 15th of August, with the 4th and final match scheduled for 11th September at Parliament Hill.

If you would like to be involved either as a scorer for the club or non-scorer, please contact Rhi (women) or myself (men). Everybody is welcome, including those new to track and field.

Match Result (Points Scored/100): Harrow 417.7, Thames Valley Harriers 402.0, Ealing 291.4, Hillingdon 164.4, Serpentine 152.9, Highgate 148.0

Team: Alex Malzer, Dave Robinson, David Hinds, Frank Womelsdorf, Hel James, Jeremy Freer, Jonathan Poole, Luke Robinson, Michele Bottone, Nic Barberis Negra, Philip Whitehouse, Rhiannon Needham, Sarah Al Sudairy, Sodiq Abiola, Stuart Leigh, Tony McGahan, Victoria Basquill, Victoria Brown, Vinh Lam

Submitted: 16 July 2021