The Child Protection Policy has been updated.
Perhaps it was the unseasonable sun and relative warmth. Perhaps it was the cheering sight of a statue commemorating the first pineapple grown in the British Isles. Perhaps, for two members of our squad, it was the cheers of “come on Barnet” emanating from the host club that made them feel at home, though in the wrong sport. More likely though, it was the presence of our largest Met League-day squad since Claybury in October that meant optimism was in the air as the senior men’s team warmed up for the final fixture of the series at Trent Park on Saturday. Two very welcome second-claimers and two very welcome U20s swelling our ranks of home-grown and longstanding senior team members who delivered 12-in-102 and 18 runners in total to give Woodford 3rd place on the day and 4th overall in the league. And 4th is a strong improvement on last season's 7th!
Angus Holford: 1st man home for only the 2nd time in his lengthy WGEL career
So in addition to 28 Under 11 athletes there were a further 33 young athletes striving to all play a part in our attempt to retain the Howard Williams Trophy.
With our energetic and talented Under 11s winning their two trophies, boys and girls, on a fine day at Trent Park with the sun shining for once, although the ground underfoot certainly provided a challenge and a true endurance test.
Jay Russell sums up the day - a third successive Howard Williams Trophy for our Young Athletes
So Shaftesbury were just two points down with four races to go at Trent Park. We all knew it would be a very tight race for the title and some of the results were outside of our control. We were aware that, if Shaftesbury made up ground on Harrow in the Under 13 Girls race, that could reduce the difference to a single point. That challenge went in our rivals' favour. In the Junior Women’s race we had to shake off Highgate overall, and although the North London outfit bested us in this category on the day we retained our 5th spot. So it came down to the Junior Men. Lose to London Heathside on the day then Shaftesbury would gain that final point. Also we had to ensure Hillingdon did not beat us by more 35 points. Unfortunately we were without the services of Kieran Allgood (school trip) and Joel Doye and Sam Sloan (both injured). Once that race got going it was obvious to the team manager that Heathside were not at full strength either, and although Hillingdon beat us on the day it was only by a few points. We then knew the trophy was ours by a single point and shortly after that the results confirmed it.
The U11s Met League adventures concluded for the season this weekend on suitably wet and muddy fields at Trent Park.
The course, with puddles of standing water, shimmered under clear skies and the WGEL club flag flew proudly in spring-like conditions. A huge supporter base camped next to the flag for this Met League finale and their encouragement was to play a huge part in speeding our athletes along!
The final race in the league attracted the biggest fields of the season. WGEL had an incredible nineteen boys and nine girls toeing the start line in their respective races. The race itself followed a single loop of the upper field. There were no obvious hills, but the terrain was very undulating. Long muddy stretches of grass would sap the legs of even the fastest feet.
Fighting it out! L to R: Rudy Parker-Bayes, Oliver Brown and Daniel Arnold (pic: Alex Wardle)