Well done team – we eased ourselves nicely into the Southern athletics league last week, I think our tactics were spot on – lulling our competition into a sense of security by not beating anybody but only by miniscule points, they will have written us off now, a very very, dangerous thing to do where Woking AC are concerned 😊

3.5 points separated 4th and 2nd place, which left many of us kicking ourselves for things we didn’t do or should have done, me for one, if I’d had hopped over a teeny-weeny bar on pole vault, that would have been 3 points!

No point beating ourselves up though, it was a fantastic day out, the sun shone and we had the best team even if we didn’t win. Lots of laughs and drama along the way and even a few P.B’s thrown in!

A BIG welcome to our newbies this year who were: (ladies first) Alexis Brown equalling her PB on 100m then running a huge PB in the 200m. Alexa Adams who ran a 100m PB, stepped up to score for the 200m and ran a leg of the 4x100m for us, welcome to these young sprinters!. Great to have Chloe Sharp join us this year who won both her A string 800m and 1500m race comfortably and then ran a leg of the 4x400m for us. Chloe is a VERY accomplished runner over any distance 400m to 10k illustrated by her current U23 ranking of 4th in all UK Park runs this year!. New from Camberley, Lauren Chadwick joins us, Lauren ran a great 400m and then followed up with a leg of the 4×100 AND 4x400m relays, brilliant!

On to the men, a raft of new sprinters join us this year covering various age groups, Jake Etherington from Camberley ran a brilliant 11.9 ns 100m – now if I’d have known that Jake you’d have had a letter not a number on your vest!. Alistair Smith ran a 12.3 100m (should have been letters) and also ran a strong 200m ns. Finlay McGuiness ran a healthy ns 100m and 200m both PB’s! Matt Berry representing the ‘more mature’ male also ran ns 100m and 200m and holds some very respectable UK rankings for these distances.

Watching our men sprinters walking back from a stretch of knee highs I was reminded of the ‘Peaky Blinder’ strut – don’t mess with these boys!

On the longer distances we welcome Archie Robinson, thrown right in at the deep end with a super speedy B string 800m, well done Archie you got a PB!. Keep up the hard work and it won’t be long before you can beat those boys! Jack Phillpotts ran a HUGE PB in the men’s 1500m to score 3 points, again, lots more to come from this young man.

King Diggens joined us for the first time to tick that steeplechase box and what a performance he put in, scoring 3 points and running himself into a ranking of 4th V45! – without any steeple training (not advisable but BRILLIANT!).

Dave Hunt – Hardly a newbie to the team as he was a member at Woking AC before records began (1985). One of our favourite officials and coaches, and now athlete! Dave was persuaded to throw a hammer for us in-between officiating and scored us a point! Whoo hoo! Dave last competed for the SAL in 2013. Another piece of interesting information is that his high jump PB is 1.93! – you might regret me finding that out Dave – just saying!.

Moving on to the regulars. We are EXTREMELY fortunate to have on our team some amazing multi-eventers who have far too much energy and like to use that energy to score points for Woking AC rather than drive their family completely bonkers.

First up Dave (our resident fireman) – Dave completed TEN events on Sunday, scoring a whopping 20 points (plus relays). Phenomenal effort Dave, I think that’s the most I’ve ever witnessed (and I’ve been around awhile) …. If you’d have got that shot out, we might have even won (I’M JOKING!) It’s a big fat thank you from me and the rest of the squad for your efforts, and you always do it with such a big smile and great hair.

Kaspars, another one of Woking’s gems, despite a back niggle, completed EIGHT events, scoring us 13 points (plus relays). Some great performances for early season (and with a bad back) Kas, and always looking so ridiculously ‘smooth’.

George Hopkins, pay attention! A BRILLIANT start to the SAL season, only allowed to complete in 5 events as an U20 George scored a huge 17 points for us, winning his Pole vault, triple jump and javelin and scoring a 2nd in high jump and 3rd in long jump. Its amazing what you can achieve with a big bowl of pasta! 😉 Well done, George.

On to the ladies who multi-event – this year Clare Maurer had a funny five minutes and absconded to TVH first claim, and my other golden girl Sam is currently injured, hopefully back with us soon.

So, the golden girls of this match were without a doubt Florence Baulk and Katie Hopkins. Florence completed in 7 events, scoring us 17 points (plus relay), winning her 400h and javelin, second in triple (PB) and hammer (PB by 3m!!!) also scoring in long jump and discus and surviving my driving to the match and back home.

Katie completed in 6 events, scoring 16 points (plus relay). Katie won her 1500m and scored second in 400h, steeplechase, pole vault and triple jump, like her brother, super bouncy especially when well fed. Great to see these 2 girls loving and smashing the day having been Woking AC buddies since they were diddy.

I have said this every season since 2010 when I started managing the team – ‘Thank god for Eleanor Gatrell’! Every single year and for every single match that she can Eleanor has turned out and thrown shot, hammer, discus and (her least favourite) the javelin, and always scores us lots of lovely points. A very healthy eight points at this match (I promise I won’t mention the discus!).  Ranked 3rd in the UK for shot hammer AND discus, Eleanor is a big ol’ asset for our team (sorry, maybe less of the big!).

An emerging multitasker, Lucy Eaton-Tribe scored in an extremely fast 200m A string, cleared a whopping high jump, threw a shot, and ran a leg of the 4 x 100m for us, so very happy to have you back on the team Lucy.

Also multi-tasking for the ladies, Bea Lafreniere stepped in to clear a B string high jump, ran a leg of the 4 x 100m and then ran a PB and earned us 3 points in the steeplechase, despite pulling a hamstring in the 100m relay! I Really hope you are recovering quickly Bea as we need the likes of you on our team and preferably in one piece!

Some superb performances were clocked up on Sunday, including Connor Trerise, running a 1 minute 17 second PB over the 5000m for 3 points and then running his first track 1500m in a super respectable 4.31.8. Alex Mogford ran a 10 second PB in the 5000m B string and then went on to run a ns 1500m and debut steeplechase sporting the most fabulous sunglasses and smile throughout – fantastic!

Also on the track, Theo Cheshire won his 400m race just outside his PB for this year and scored in the A string 800m. Great to have Martin Sunderland back on the team who seems to have grown about 2 feet since I last saw him! Obviously a good thing on the steeplechase as he scored 2nd in the A string with an incredible PB of 6:51.7 running into a UK U20 ranking of 23!

Amongst our regular reliables, Paul Kelly, turned out for us to throw a hammer with Dave, no doubt passing on some top tips to Dave (maybe a few more needed next time! 😊). Another lovely reliable teamy Natasha Hart ran the B string 400m and was very pleasantly surprised to get a PB and, I might add a UK ranking of 10th V40 – Age is no barrier folks (until you get to my age!).

A big thank you to Sandra Stapinoiu (from Camberley) for running the B string 800m a great performance in another very fast race on the day.

Following 2 pull outs in the 3000m just before the match, Charlotte and Fiona were given the news that they were scoring, not fazed by this (much) out they went and did it, Charlotte getting a PB and Fiona happy to be running well after various set backs recently.

Last but not least 2 more athletes who are getting better with age, Ian Horlock ran a great 200m, JUST outside a PB and gaining a UK V35 ranking of 19! Michael Omakobia (or ‘Dr O’ – though heaven knows why!) came second in the B string 100m, Michael joined us in 2021, currently ranked 32 V35 his times are coming down so watch this space.

To finish off nicely, 2 club records were broken on the day the men’s V35 4x100m AND V35 4 x 400m records were broken by ‘team awesome’: Dr O, Dave, Kas and Ian – who, I might add had also broken the V35 4 x 200m relay club record from 1992! earlier on in the week – quite an incredible achievement I think you’ll agree!

Let’s not forget our AMAZING officials – if you didn’t know, they score us 5 points each and are essential to keep these matches running like clockwork – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Lesley, Dave, Gina, Dave H and Chris, you are the BEST!

Next stop – Harrow 12th June – Mandy’s in charge as I’m away – so behave yourselves!