Hope for the Herne Hill Harriers men
Herne Hill Harriers’ senior men kept alive their hopes of remaining in Division One of the British Athletics League with a battling performance at Tooting Bec.
Gavin Johnson-Assoon (javelin) was an individual winner, while Tayo Andrews (high jump), Blade Ashby (400m hurdles), Peter Phillips (400m) and Rushane Thomas (110m hurdles) all claimed second places in A-string events as Harriers ended the fixture fourth out of eight clubs.
The result moved Harriers up to fifth in the overall standings following three of four matches.
The Tooting-based club look set to avoid relegation if they can replicate Saturday’s performance in the final fixture at Lee Valley on August 9.
The prospects for the senior women are bleak, however, with the team facing certain relegation to the Third Division of the UK Women’s Athletics League after finishing last in the latest round of competition at Portsmouth.
Despite the disappointment, there was individual success for Briony Phillips who threw a season’s best 36.36m in the discus.
Cathy Ansell impressed in the 3,000m, clocking 10 minutes 3.6 seconds in finishing third in the A race.
Herne Hill Harriers junior international Marvin Popoola's tilt at an U20 club record was again thwarted by the weather as he clocked 20.92 seconds over 200m in the Bauhaus Juniorengala in Mannheim, Germany.
The time would have been a club record had the wind reading not been over the legal limit at +2.7 m/s - Popoola's legal best remains 21.34.
Popoola's time would have comfortably won the A-string 200m at Tooting Bec, where Dwayne Dowding finished fourth in 21.66.
Dowding was not alone in finishing narrowly outside the topthree, as Lewis Lloyd in the 800m and Michael Dyer in the 1,500m found a similar fate.
Andy Maud fared better, finishing third in a competitive 5,000m in 14:31.74, while Thomas Ashby was third in the discus.
Harriers were also third in a rousing 4x400m relay, with the squad of Phillips, Dyer, Isaac Ogunlade and Nicholas Atwell outrunning Blackheath and Bromley by eight hundredths of a second.
Success in the relay came after Atwell had won the B string 400m and Ogunlade had finished third in the 400m hurdles.
Other top-three finishers in B races were Byron Robinson (third in the 200m), Dyer (third in the 800m), Mike Cummings (third in the 1500m), John Tayleur (third in the 3,000m steeplechase) and Thomas Ashby (second in the 110m hurdles).
Allandre Johnson was a clear winner in the B javelin, throwing 57.47, the second longest throw of any competitor in the A or B categories.
The standings in the Division One table are perilously close, with Kent AC in third and Gateshead in eighth separated by just a few points.
Herne Hill lie fifth, but need a full-strength team in the final fixture at Lee Valley next month if they are to survive at this tier of national athletics.
While there was less glory for the women's squad, there were reasons to believe that the group can bounce back next year.
Beyond Phillips and Ansell, Michelle Watson again impressed in the sprint events, finishing sixth in the 100m and fifth in the 200m.
Hannah Edwards was third in the 800m, Steph Mitchell fifth in the 1,500m and Louise Capicotto was a creditable second in the B-string discus.
The combined efforts were not enough to prevent relegation, however, with Harriers now propping up division two.