BY TOM POLLAK
Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club’s cross country runners boosted their chances of lifting this season’s Surrey Men’s League Division One title with an emphatic victory in the second match of the season on Wimbledon Common on Saturday.
Dan Cliffe, the reigning Cheshire cross country champion, who headed the senior men’s race early on, made an impressive debut for Hercules Wimbledon. He led the gold and red sash-vested runners to team victory by finishing third of the 275 runners, completing the five miles course in 26:43.
Packing their first five scorers in the top nine, the Hercules Wimbledon squad ran out comfortable team winners with their lowest-ever score.
Following Cliffe in were Tom Jervis (fifth in 26:59), Jonny Cornish (sixth in 27:05) and Fred Slemeck (seventh in 27:08), just ahead of Alex Robinson, who clocked the same time. Hercules packed solidly with Alex Milne 14th in 27:26, Oli Carrington 20th in 27:43, Andy Greenleaf 21st 27:46, Andrew Penny 22nd in 27:47 and Ed Mallett 28th in 28:06.
After two of the season’s four matches Hercules Wimbledon (288) already have a firm grip on the title with a big lead over second-placed Belgrave (681) and holders Kent AC (730).
Veteran Richard McDowell helped make it a double for Hercules by leading the B team to victory, finishing 32nd in 28:19.
The club’s youngsters also ran well with Will Taylor finishing third in 15:36 leading the U15 and U17 team to third place and Sam Dyson, fifth in 12:30, leading the U13 team to runners-up spot.
The U17 girls were the most successful from the club in the Surrey Ladies League fixture, also staged on Wimbledon Common. Packing three in the first four finishers they narrowly beat first match team winners Epsom & Ewell.
Emily Grey, who was just pipped for the individual honours by one second led the winning Hercules team in taking runners-up spot in 13:38 with Mille Thorpe third in 13:44 and Lulu Weisz fourth in 13:47. Charlotte Lam completed the winning team, finishing 13th in 15:17.
Their U13 girls were runners-up out of 19 teams. Top finisher was Isabella Harrison, third of the 59 runners in 13:32. Charlotte Gurney led the U15 team to fourth spot.
Veteran marathon runner Claire Grima was the top Hercules Wimbledon finisher in the senior women’s 6km race, taking 28th spot out of 279 runners. She was third veteran over 40.
Supervet Lisa Thomas was the best of the 23 Hercules Wimbledon runners in action in 11 different parkruns. She was third woman on Wimbledon Common in 21:16.
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.