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Southern Athletic League, Cambridge 21st June 2014

Hillingdon’s SAL team finished third overall in their third fixture of the season at Cambridge on Saturday 21st June 2014 reports Lesley Conway and James Manley. It leaves us in fourth position in the league. With the big teams out of the way, and the top four likely to  go up, promotion should be in our hands.
The position on the day, however, undervalues the team’s performance significantly. This was by far the hardest fixture of the season: drawing two of the league’s best teams on their home turf. Cambridge and West Suffolk did not disappoint. The class of athletics on show was undeniable. Watford Harriers – who had some dedicated specialists, who would inevitably deny us points in key events – were also present. This was one of the most impressive SAL outings. Both men and women contributed equally to a strong result.
As if the task weren’t hard enough, the team was lacking in several key departments. Men’s throws and sprints, along with women’s hurdles, throws and sprints were significantly hindered by clashing commitments. Then to top it all off I made a ridiculously poor managerial error in fielding Sam Fraser (U17) in too many events, denying us nearly twenty points. Thankfully it did not affect the final result. I apologise profusely for this mistake: it was a heat of the moment decision and a moment of sheer absent mindedness.
What was so impressive was the way Hillingdon held its own and arguably edged it on the track. The female middle distance runners doubled up in the sprints to scoop eight wins. Michaela Mayor was runner-up in the 200m, and won the 400m and the 800m, to earn the fixture’s Woman of the Match award. Eva Mack won the 100m (B), the 400m B, the 1500m (with a PB of 4:42.6), and the high jump. Hannah Wells provided another Hillingdon win at 1500m in the B stream and did well to come second in the 1500m steeplechase with a personal best time. The rest of the personal best performances came from Maria Hernandez Humm in the long jump and Jemma Weekes in the 3000m.The rest of the female team put in an excellent shift, covering many of the day’s events with a lot of success.
I was personally delighted with the men’s efforts. Again covering all events (before my ridiculous error) all athletes performed really well against a very high standard of opposition. There were many superb performances, but I am certain those people will not mind me singling out our four debutants. Alex Barker, Sam Fraser, Jack Gradwell and Jahde Williams demonstrated the wealth of talent we have at HAC, and the high standard of oppo brought out the best in them: they clocked up five PBS between them. Sam and Alex PBd in the triple; Sam and Jahde in the 200; and Alex in the high jump. Jack dominated the 400 hurdles.
They illustrated the widely held belief that we have excellent young athletes at HAC: the future of track and field is surely a bright one.
Results can be here.