Men’s Surrey League, Race 4, Div 2, Lloyd Park, 11 Feb 2017

Clinical campaign shows Quads

Visible Bels here from L to R, are: Alex Mills, Ted Oldman, Will Cockerell, Nick Bundle, Ed Auden, Phil Wicks & Andrius Jaksevicius. Photo by Sophie Harris

It was at times more ‘workmanlike’ than pretty, and we hardly swamped Division 2 with claret and gold, but there was a job to be done, and if we’d taken it lightly we could have been in for a nasty shock.  Reigate were excellent all term, and Guildford only faded late in the day.

So, played four, won four; and a league win of 182 points and a near 450 point buffer on promotion.  Really good work lads, and we can focus once again on making a mark in Div 1.  We didn’t miss out on too much this season there, entertaining as it was.  The Kent squad was still too strong and then it’s just an almighty scrap between the next five clubs.  Well, make that 6 now – and Kent are finally showing signs of fragility with heavy defeats in the first and last fixtures.  Next season could be quite fascinating.

So back to Lloyders it was, in horrid, freezing conditions and with the trams partly down. The manager in the park’s café bellowed at the runners as they sought refuge.  I expect he did a pretty good trade though from all the extra business, but his demeanour was a classic Basil Fawlty of “bloody plebs, get out of my café and give me some peace.”

Belgrave’s doyen was in action again, but this time Phil was left shaking his head at a wardrobe malfunction of Janet Jackson severity.  Trail shoes at a slick and slippery Lloyd Park?  Their soles quickly filled with mud as he skated round parts of the course.  Still, only 3 spots surrendered, hardly a disaster, and one of those to come by was Andy, who waltzed off with the league’s individual title with a brilliant set of races [8,2,2,2]; and the second race included me leaving him stranded by the roadside en route to the venue!  Ed Auden took the league’s runners-up spoils with a pretty masterful 7,5,6,8.

Great to see Paskar quickly getting back to a high standard, and he will now get his head down for a fortnight of punishment to see if he can squeeze into the top 100 at the National at his favourite course.

And it didn’t end there as we packed 7 in the top 20 with excellent runs from Nick, Paul and Roy.  A very welcome return to the action came from Ted Oldman [now first-claim], whilst Alex Mills continues his ascent.

Right, one more to find and in a neat coincidence it was the same two duelling for our final spot as at another League win [Div 1] back in 2000 at a frantic race where ARM wrote of its climax: “it’s almost impossible to describe the euphoria…”  Well, 17 years on and it was Will just getting away from Phil in the last mile again; with the bearded wonder, Jonny Bundle, having a splendid time a little way back.

The magic lens of SGH was to the fore again.  Please check out her album of the race here.

1 J Sanderson (G&G) 26:37; 2 A Jaksevicius 27:16; 4 P Wicks 27:32; 8 E Auden 28:08; 10 P Owor 28:46; 12 N Bundle 28:51; 16 P Lowe 29:15; 20 R Maddams 29:46; 34 T Oldman 30:54; 57 A Mills 32:25; 84 W Cockerell 33:54; 91 P Carstairs 34:17; 113 J Bundle 36:11.  143 finished

1 Belgrave H 245; 2 Reigate 276; 3 E&E 412.

Final positions:  1 Belgrave H 919; 2 Reigate 1101; 3 G&G 1362; 4 Croy 1921; 5 WW 2076.