Arne Dumez reports:
The Bels once again gathered on their home turf to kick off the Rosenheim League on a warm spring evening. Despite the usual last-minute dropouts, the team was looking strong, stable and ready to tackle the staunch opposition sure to be put forth by Herne Hill, Serpentine, Wimbledon Hercules, Croydon and Holland Sports.
The evening’s proceedings kicked off with the men’s 2000m steeplechase, but Belgrave’s campaign started as the ever-reliable Tom Ikeda and Chris Privett took to the field for the javelin and hammer throw, respectively. The women could count on the award-winning Mia Callenburg and the safe hands of Marieke Meleen so there was never any need to worry.
On the track, Timin Kanani poised himself for two laps. He faced fierce competition in the form of Croydon’s Prince Reid but managed to conquer a third place finish in 2:06.67 thanks partly to the roaring support of coach Terry O’Neill. As for the women, Mhairi Hall claimed a more-than-convincing win in 2:34.77 in her first return to the distance since her school days. Considering the huge half marathon PB ran only ten days prior this was a true display of versatility!
Next up were Christian Meloni and Cynthia Kesington to score in the 100m race. Christian cross the line in 12.73 for a fourth place while Cynthia ran 14.22 in second. New recruit Peter Wild – who had warmed himself up with a non-scoring 100m dash – rushed across the finish to give Belgrave a clear win in the men’s 200m with a handy 23.09 effort. Sian Harry gladly took the win in her race – the competition just couldn’t argue with a 26.45.
For the 400m we could count on Jurgita Levertaviciute to deliver a solid 3rd place in a ‘London PB’ of 66.54. Irishman Connor O’Rourke, when asked by assistant team manager Arne Dumez what sort of time he was likely to run, meekly suggested a 55s lap. Bang on, buddy! A well-earned third place in 55.12 secured another 4 points for the team. Richard McMillan tackled the non-scoring race in his pristine vintage Belgrave kit which in itself should be worth at least 5 points. Unfortunately we don’t write the rules, even at home meets.
Stephen Gardner, still enjoying his miraculous form after long injury troubles, decided to give the 1500m a whirl. With Croydon’s Chris Dormenval conquering a substantial lead from the first 200m, Steve kept his cool and stuck with the chasing pack to eventually shake them off in the final 100m. A nifty second place in 4:32.45 gave him something for the ‘gram – he was rather chuffed. Belle Lizzie Goldie-Scott claimed a bronze medal for the claret and gold after a drawn-out battle with Hercules’ Alex Binley, who eventually slid into the lead in the final stretch. Robel Fesoom had a fantastic evening as he grabbed victory in the non-scoring race with a huge PB.
Before closing the evening with the 4x200m relays, there was the small matter of the 3000m to settle. Spectators welcomed the all-too-familiar sight of Paskar gliding to the front, closely tracked by Croydon’s runner. While the latter eventually managed to shake Paskar off his tail, Emma Howsham was unflappable. She ran her own race and took herself to a SB of 11:35. Paskar eventually had to settle for silver in 9:07 behind Peter Chambers who dominated the later stages of the race to win in 8:48.
A hectic scramble ahead of the men’s 4x200m relay eventually landed on Andrew Fyfe who heroically offered to run the first leg in his trainers. Still unsurprisingly swift, the Scot set up Christian and Pete for exceptional runs to let Paskar take the baton home for a undeniable triumph. The women, much better prepared, decided to show the men how it is actually done. Monique took them away with outstanding form only to be followed by the equally safe hands of Mia. Darcy then vigorously attacked the third quarter before letting Cynthia deal the final blow. Done.
It was a very tight match overall on the men’s front. We saw Serpentine take the win with 51 points but Holland and Belgrave trail closely behind with 45 and 44 points each! The women were more successful on the evening and claimed a solid second spot with 58 points, right behind Hercules’ 62. Serpentine sits in third with 38 points. Not a bad start to the claret and gold campaign for this year’s title!
A huge thanks to Robert Norville, all officials, Charlie Dickinson, Fiona Maddocks and everyone else who helped to make the evening such a success!
Standings after match 1:
Men: 1. Serpentine 51, 2. Holland Sport 45, 3. Belgrave Harriers 44, 4. Croydon Harriers 43, 5. Hercules Wimbledon 35, 6. Herne Hill 17.
Women: 1. Hercules Wimbledon 62, 2. Belgrave Harriers 58, 3. Serpentine 34, 4. Herne Hill 22, 5. Croydon Harriers 0, 6. Holland Sport 0.