Random header image... Refresh for more!

Southern Athletic League Promotion Confirmed

SAL1 Edited

On Saturday, Hillingdon Athletics Club realised its ambition of promotion back to Division 2 of the Southern Athletics League; after just a year in Division 3 reports James Manley.

This was a momentous performance. Everything – from the men’s maximum across the A and B 100 and 200, to Hannah Wells’s bravery in the B string women’s 400m hurdles – secured a mammoth 274 points on the day. To list all the individual achievements would no doubt crash the HAC website server. The margin of victory will have to suffice as testament to the efforts of every member of the squad: London Heathside, the home team, also vying for the final promotion place, were left with just 239 points.

What followed was an agonising wait to see how London rivals Serpentine had fared in their final fixture. Going into the day, we were tied on league points. Serpentine would be promoted if they beat our match score by 39 points. Our performance on the day, meant this would have meant them getting a league record points score. When the dust finally settled, and the SAL website was updated, they had only scored four more than us.

Thus we were promoted by virtue of our ‘goal difference’ of 34 points. To put that in perspective that is only three points more than Jahde Williams secured across the three fixtures, which he has competed in after joining us in Cambridge when we were short on sprinters. He consequently earned an unquestionable A string place as a result. It is two points less than the total Mark Speight has accumulated over the past three fixtures. Putting his body on the line for the cause Mark has competed in pole vault, high jump, 4×400, 110mH and the chase: a sterling effort. 34 is also the same amount of points Maria Humm-Hernandez (V45) has contributed across the season. Her guts to tackle the B string 110mH on Saturday for a guaranteed 5 points, will live long in the memory. My point is, that without these athletes’ efforts, just like the efforts of many more, we would not be promoted.

There are too many names to mention. Among them, Jack Gradwell and Rebecca Miles have added class to our hurdling outfit. Hannah Wells, Eva Mack and Michaela Mayor have continued our strong tradition of female middle distance on a variety of occasions. Claire Tompsett and Julie Baker have done the same in throws. The female effort is best defined, though, by the myriad of female athletes who have contributed across the season. They know who they are, and for their efforts we are extremely grateful.

In the men’s that old warhorse Keith Seldon has thrown  tonnes of metal in the field to win a massive amount of points for us. Our men’s middle and long distance outfit has been incredible. This is how a section of athletes should be: continually trying to pip each other so that their manager has to consult with their coach as to who is in best form that week! Sam Fraser and Alex Barker have jumped superbly. Along with Alex Kotelawala, Kevin Acraman and Sean O’Shea they have added an injection of youth to this side: there is a bright future ahead.

This is the point with which I would like to finish. We have an incredibly strong youth system at HAC, implemented down the track. We are starting to see the benefits of this development in the SAL. Until this reaches full fruition we must do everything in our power to at least hold our position in division 2.

There is no reason, however, why we should not aim higher. Throughout the season we have been hampered by clashing fixtures. We intend to take this issue to the league. We have also been without our full compliment for a variety of avoidable reasons: work shifts not being re-arranged in time, holidays, etc. We fully appreciate that sometimes other commitments outweigh that of the SAL. Our club works on commitment though, and we urge these to be kept to a minimum. The final fixture was the first time we covered every single event, A and B, across male and female categories. We firmly believe that if we can replicate this feat in every fixture next year, and couple it with the class that a lot of our athletes possess, it is not outlandish to presume that we can be promoted again.

Well done and thank you to everyone this season. Bring on Division 2!

The final league table may be viewed here: http://www.southernathletics.org.uk/2014.html

A full report to follow.