Surrey County AA Championships, Denbies vineyard, 10 Jan 2016

Fab Phil’s Fifth

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Luke Caldwell (56) of Dorking, runner-up at Denbies in 2012, tracked Phil Wicks for most of the first half of the race. But such punishment is hard to bear and Luke does not appear in the results. Phil defeated the more circumspect Kyereme (165) to his fifth gold by 48 seconds. Photo by Steve Wicks

For the eighth consecutive year a strong men’s team came away with medals at the County Champs – no mean feat when one considers that in the previous decade the Bels did not claim a single set of team medals. Losing the skipper Gus Upton to a cold on the Friday put a big dent in the team, but as it turns out, even with Gus, Hercules Wimbledon were going to be unbeatable on this day, to take their second title in three years.

The Belgrave-Herne Hill rivalry has been very close at this one in recent times, after HH’s eight titles in a row between 2001-2008. Here they just nicked the Claret and Gold by 10 pips, aided by their second-claim juggernauts from Shaftesbury and Blackheath.

In the individual stakes, it was wonderful to see Phil Wicks at his outstanding best, as he reminded us of his amazing debut win at the Counties nine long years ago, and claimed his fifth title in all, to draw him level with Dave Taylor, and two behind the aptly named Bob Treadwell.

Andrius Jaksevicius continues to astound and enjoyed the conditions more than Paskar Owor, and much more than Roy Maddams whose Nike spikes were better suited to a manicured golf course in Oregon. Nick Smallwood and Will Cockerell stuck to their task, but posted numbers that were too profligate.

The women were again at their limit with no spares, but Zoe Vail Smith, Felicity Cole, Christina Pennock and Megan Bailey all fired well.

Over in Bucks, Mel Wilkins continued her cautious journey back to fitness by defending her title.

Men

1 P Wicks (Belg) 40:43; 4 A Jaksevicius 41:53; 5 P Owor 42:32; 42 R Maddams 48:15; 48 N Smallwood 48:46; 52 W Cockerell 48:54; 90 T O’Beirne 52:21; 98 J Goymour 53:16; 143 R Norville 56:44. 231 finished.

1 Hercules W 91; 2 Herne Hill H 143; 3 Belgrave H 153. 18 clubs closed in.

Women

1 G Bruinvels (AFD) 31:25; 9 Z Vail Smith 34:10; 19 F Cole 36:04; 45 C Pennock 38:56; 74 M Bailey 41:50. 144 finished.

1 Aldershot F&D 17; 8 Belgrave H 147.  15 clubs closed in.

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