Last Saturday saw the senior teams commence battle at the 3rd Met League in Uxbridge. We went full of confidence following a fantastic rally at the 2nd fixture, which saw us move up to second in the table. Although perhaps slightly under strength in a strong field led home by the quality of Richard Goodman and Auden Nordtveit, we battled well in the single figure temperatures to finish fourth on the day. Despite dropping a place to third in the league, we are nipping at Serpentine's heels and shall be hungry to put that right when the league returns in the New Year.
With great sadness, we have to announce the death of Alf Stokes, President of Essex ladies AC from 1997-99, Life Member, and manager of the most successful team in the club’s history.
Alf's success story began in 1985 when ”the little team from the 2nd division” (Ron Pickering on BBC TV) won the prestigious GRE Jubilee cup final and thus qualified to go to the European Clubs’ cup in Zurich. From then until 1995, the club won the cup eight times and represented GB clubs in Europe, with the best result being 3rd place in Como in 1987. Essex Ladies also won the UK Women’s League in 1987 and 1988 and Southern League Division One 10 times, losing only one match in seven years. Alf was not only an astute team manager, but was hugely respected by the team of athletes which included such stars as Sally Gunnell, Gladys Taylor (Bird) and Kim Hagger. His persuasive manner and desire to do the best for the club always ensured that he got the best possible results.
When Alf finally gave up team managership, he was elected onto the European Clubs’ Competition committee, where he continued to work hard for club athletics and women’s athletics in particular, travelling all round Europe to do so.
Our thoughts go out to Cindy, Alf’s ever-supportive wife, and to his family.
Here are the provisional results of the race at Uxbridge on Saturday.
Saturday was always going to be difficult with the conflict of the Met League and Essex U13/15 champs on the same day. Nevertheless we enjoy great strength and depth in our junior sections and were able to be well-represented in both competitions. The Essex Cross Country Championship this year also had some added spice in that Essex vests for the Nationals in March were available for the top 6 athletes home.