Serpentine Ladies at the SCVAC Track & Field League Final

Following our great win in the Mid-London Division of the SCVAC Track & Field League, 12 Serpie ladies headed to Ashford last Sunday for the finals.

Picture from Serpentine Ladies at the SCVAC Track & Field League Final

We knew it was going to be a tough day as we had very strong competition (Winchester, Epsom & Ewell, Stevenage, Oxford City, Dartford and Tonbridge) and several regulars could not make it, but that did not put us off.

Filling 43 individual events and 2 relays with 11 athletes inevitably meant a lot of doubling up; in true Serpie style however we filled every event except one (any W50 interested in the pole vault in 2018…?).

As so often we knew our best chances were going to be on the longer distances and Cath Ferguson did us proud with two perfectly executed wins in the 1,500m and 3,000m; she got a PB in the 3,000m with a stupendous age grading of over 90% - and that was after coming third in the long jump which was her first jump in years. Ilona Bagi (800m & 1,500m) and Cheryl Sacks (800m, 1,500m & 3,000m) came in the middle of their fields and I managed a second for 800m.

Sprinting was always going to be a greater challenge as we were up against some “serious” athletic clubs and some exceptional sprinters in all age groups. Serpies know how to attack a challenge and there were some great individual performances: Rhiannon Needham (and me) doing all 3 distances, Heidi Rasmussen (100m & 400m), Hel James (100m) and Ilona Bagi (joining the team for the first time) in 200m.

There were only two walking categories, which meant our expert walker, Marianne Morris, had to drop down an age group; despite this she came third - an exceptional result. Marianne then went on to run both the 1,500m and 400m for her age group – amazing team spirit. In another superb show of team spirit Rhiannon Needham bravely volunteered for the 2000m walk for the first time ever.

Caroline Morgan joined us for the first time this season and managed a fantastic second place for the pole vault; she showed off her athletic prowess later in the day with the long jump (a PB), triple jump, 3,000m and a leg of the relay. In the high jump, Heidi Rasmussen, Camilla Allwood (competing in high jump for the first time) and Hel James all had good shots, with Hel coming second and matching her season’s best. Camilla went on to do the triple jump, getting a PB, and Hel the long jump

Mary Davies took on all the throwing for her age group and had some great performances, coming third in the hammer and fourth in the shot. Similarly Camilla Allwood took on the mantel for the W50 (achieving a PB for the hammer) and Hel James took on all the throws in her age group, earning lots of points against some very stiff competition.

As always the day ended with the relays; having seen the standard of sprinting the 4 x 100m was going to be hard, but we all put in an enthusiastic effort to earn a point. We knew we had a slightly better chance with the 4 x 400m and our team of Cath Ferguson, Ilona Bagi, Cheryl Sacks and Rhiannon Needham pulled off a 5th place position in a very exciting race.

As always very special thanks go to Bev Thomas for looking after us all during the day, ensuring we got to the right events on time and with the right numbers, and for being a fantastic cheer leader both on Sunday and throughout the season.

Also many thanks to Malcolm French, Sally Hodge and Ian Hodge who gave up their Sundays to officiate and ensure that an aged group of athletes had a fantastic day out, competing against some of the best in the country in our age groups. Too numerous to mention, but thanks also to all the volunteers at the other matches and in particular the Serpie home match.

Finally thanks to all the team who have shown the most amazing team spirit, determination, prowess and willingness to give anything a go; it has been a fantastic season and I am already looking forward to next year!

We finished in 6th place, comfortably ahead of 7th placed Stevenage which was a great outcome considering the competition; the final results were:

  1. Epsom & Ewell 223.5
  2. Dartford Harriers 213
  3. Tonbridge 209
  4. Winchester and District 178
  5. Oxford City 162.5
  6. Serpentine 128
  7. Stevenage and North Herts 114

It is a long way off, but if any ladies over 35 are interested in joining us next year please let me know as we would love to have you on the team!

Catkin Shelley

Submitted: 10 September 2017