Men’s Surrey league, Div 1, match 3, Mitcham Common, 12 Jan 2019

Men’s Surrey league, Div 1, match 3,  Mitcham Common, 12 Jan 2019

Dear Bill Inspires Squad to quietly impressive return

A rather fragile squad came to this niggardly course high on quirk factor, short on charm, staring at 7th at best, probably 8th, and being sucked right back into the relegation melee.  But as it was, we can completely relax, with a terrific and unlikely 5th, and look forward to life in Div 1 in 2019-20, unlike our pals at Ranelagh and all the firepower they’ve displayed in the last few years.  Well done men!

A pea-green gaffer had to get down on bended knee rather to Arne and Tinos, as both requested a bye.  My pleas were nobly heard, although not before Tinos had bashed out an horrendous 16 x a K on Friday.  What on earth?

Before the race there was a touching silence then spontaneous applause for our great supporter and friend Bill Laws. Mourning the loss of his father figure and mentor, a bereft Paskar had one of the best runs of his Belgrave career.  All race long he threatened third, but finally, into his 39th year, that fabled kick is losing its sledgehammer effect.  But 5th was still marvellous, and to give you an idea of just how special PO has been for us, check out his Surrey league comparison to the greatest cross-country runner in our history:

RunnerScoresPointsPoints per score
Gerry North403699.22
Paskar Owor373539.64

Yes, Gerry was part of a much stronger Bels squad, but in some ways that’s made PO all the more priceless.  Anyway, all things being well PO will go past Gerry in October, and then only one name to go [who’s starting to look a bit twitchy on 472].  Paskar has missed two of the last 39 Surrey leagues; a remarkable display of injury and illness avoidance.  Well, he was sick as a dog at Coulsdon once – still 3rd!

Paskar leading a train of quality opposition. Photo: Chris de Mauny

And on the subject of heroes, Andrius put together yet another humdinger run for us, as his season long duel with Guildford’s Colin High was another nip-tucker.  Interestingly AJ and PO pretty much reversed their positions of last week, which is a neat allusion to the difference between 12 and 8K.

Andrius is having the season of his life. Photo: Chris de Mauny

Tinos felt that Friday session for the first two laps, but then burst into life and was third home with a fine run, followed by a pleased Arne and ever obdurate Ed.  

Tinos a few spots behind Arne in gloomy conditions on lap 1. Photo: Chris de Mauny

One does wonder if it’s the first time a Surrey league team has had their first four home as Uganda, Lithuania, Greece and Belgium.  Ha, how long before we don’t field a single Englishman in our scoring 10?  Blimey, there’s a thought.

We’re very relieved that the terrible biomechanical prognoses for Steve Gardner back in the autumn may not be nearly as grim, and it was great to welcome him back into the squad as he became the 366th scorer in our league history.  Andrew Cumine has had all sorts of problems since his fine October debut but dug in well, broken wrist still on the mend.  Then a nervous wait as we ran out of ‘heavies’.  What an absolute cracker from Patrick though to run down the ever improving Will and Ollie [another debut scorer] like that, and all three scored very useful points. They weren’t filling out the late 80s.  Late 70s instead – nice.

An important score from Patrick McDougall. Photo: Chris de Mauny

Four more gnarly warriors slogged home, and check out that result, seven points between three famous clubs with us winning out in the feistiest of scraps.  I reckon 40 of our points are Bill’s.  We’re just 8 points behind Herne Hill in the overall standings too.  How satisfying it would be to edge them out in the league for the first time since 2002.

1 J Parkinson 26:33 (THH); 5 P Owor 27:09; 13 A Jaksevicius 27:40; 41 K Touse 28:51; 51 A Dumez 29:15; 52 E Auden 29:15; 68 S Gardner 29:43; 87 A Cumine 30:30; 129 P McDougall 32:03; 130 O Young 32:04; 132 W Johnson 32:07; 153 R Norville 33:07; 171 S Jones 34:08; 185 J O’Clery 35:03; 189 J Morris 35:20.  235 finished.

1 HW 171; 2 THH 246; 3 Ken 246; 4 GG 465; 5 Belg 508; 6 HHH 511; 7 SLH 515.

Overall:  1 HW 502; 2 Ken 718; 3 THH 964; 4 GG 1288; 5 HHH 1491; 6 Belg 1499; 7 SLH 1555; 8 Ran 1777; 9 SOC 2491.