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Senior Men Gain Promotion in the ATW Met XC League

Senior Men Gain Promotion in the ATW Met XC LeagueMet League news....beautiful course at Merchant's Taylor School, Northwood.
After a long, long wait, our Senior Men have gained promotion to Division 1 of the Met League. We won today's race, holding off Heathside B. In the process, we nearly ended up winning the divisional title - ending just two points behind Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets.

Positions - 7.Olly Laws, 22 Eliot Buckner, 26 Niall Sheehan, 55 Wayne Bell, 95 Jad El-Houssami, 112 George Choat, 123 Don Lawless, 162 Tom Fouret, 198 Craig Jacobs, 228 Phil Eldridge. Seven of team achieved their highest ever ML placing - all did wonderfully well.

No such joy for our women who finished agonisingly close to promotion but have had to settle for 3rd in the division. Yasmin Goater 25th in Women's race.

Jamie Cornuaud placed 12th in the Under 15's race.

The final fixture of the ATW Metropolitan League season took place on 9th February at Merchant Taylor’s School, Moor Park. It was a new course, chosen by League secretary Gavin Collett, when it became likely that the normal Ruislip venue would be unavailable due to recent rain. Hopefully it won’t be the last time we go there, because it was a smashing place to be, although it was a bit chilly - the weather being memorably described by George Choat as “Icy rain s***”.

Our senior men’s and women’s teams were both 2nd in their respective divisions with promotion at stake. Unfortunately, we had two late dropouts on the men’s team, and two more from our women’s team so we were in Arry’s language “down to the bare bones”. We only had one runner in the younger age groups, as many of our runners opted to compete indoors or at the East London mini-marathon trials. That runner was Jamie Cornuaud, ever present this season, who finished 12th amongst the Under 15 boys. On to the Women’s race, where the efforts earlier this season of Jenny Douch and Maddy Smith had set us up for a possible promotion. Unfortunately, only Yasmin Goater made it to the start line, having travelled down from Sheffield for the race. Yasmin ran well to place 25th and made up for the disappointment of missing the previous week’s BUCS Champs due to an administrative cock-up - but one woman does not a team make, so we were pipped by Heathside B and Barnet and District for promotion. We lack a bit of depth in the senior women’s team, which makes it vital that we are almost at full strength every race, but we have made progress this winter. Appearances this winter -Jenny Douch (4 races), Maddy Smith (3), Yasmin Goater and Adele Stach-Kavitz (2 each), and Lauren Tolmie (1).

Our continuing presence in Division 2 of the Senior men’s league had been the subject of constant mirth amongst our well-heeled rivals, and with VPTH seemingly assured of promotion, we knew that Heathside B were more than capable of leaving us (once again) with egg on our faces. The Finsbury Park outfit are very good at packing a couple of dozen runners into the area between 50th and 150th in these races - uncharted territory for six of our ten starters at Moor Park. But everything turned out fine as seven of the team recorded their highest ever positions in the ML, breaking up the Heathsiders ranks and enabling us to win on the day and come within two points overall of Vicky Park who ended as champions.  Positions: 7th Olly Laws - in good form and finished 6th overall in the ML individual standings for the season; 22nd Eliot Buckner – much improved from a classy runner; 26th Niall Sheehan - 19th overall, an important addition to our ranks; 55th Wayne Bell - put one in again for the club with a half marathon lined up for the following day; 95th Jad El-Houssami - highest ever position and put away many regular top 100 finishers (great stuff); 112th George Choat - huge improvement again; 123rd Don Lawless - debut for first claimer from Thurrock which was highly important. Good guy too!; 162nd Thomas Fouret - more improvement from another smashing bloke; 198th Craig Jacobs - his first season of XC for about eight years in NEB colours and has been improving all the time; 228th Phil Eldridge - had only run once in five weeks after injury but came to help the team out - thanks Phil!

This was the final race of the ML season which has been sponsored this year by Active Training World. Our promotion was due to the efforts of all of the runners who turned out over the course of the season. They were:

5 appearances - Olly Laws, Jad El-Houssami.

4 appearances - Wayne Bell, Craig Jacobs, Niall Sheehan, Rob Perkins, Phil Eldridge, George Choat.

3 appearances - Tom Fouret, 

2 appearances - Tommy Bower, Eliot Buckner, Steve Dawes, David Kail, Dave Mitchinson, Kev Skinner, 

1 appearance - Peter Huck (a win at Claybury), Rashid Ali, Martin Holley, Don Lawless, Yusuf Okunlawon, Lennox Thompson.

- Report by senior men's Team Manager, Bob Smith.


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