SAL Division 1 return in touching distance – South London News

Hercules Wimbledon Athletic Club moved to within touching distance of the Southern Athletics League Division 1 thanks to a fourth successive victory, writes George Mallett.

Saturday’s fixture, held in 33 degree temperatures at the Aldershot Military Stadium, saw a massive squad of Hercules athletes win the penultimate league match, against athletes from Epsom & Ewell, Aldershot Farnham & District and, by virtue of their non-attendance, Newquay & Par AC.

The South London club maintained their lead at the top of Division 2 West, heading into the final fixture at Wimbledon Park on September 10.

Once more Hercules’ dominance in the sprints, endurance races and relays provided the backbone of their success, edging Epsom and Ewell by 244 points to 238 with Aldershot, Farnham & District on 169.

Clubs can win a maximum of eight points in each event, with four points available for each first placed athlete in the A and B strings.

Hercules’ sprinters got the club off to an impressive start, taking maximum points in the men’s and women’s 100m and 200m. Chad Miller, a semi-finalist at the recent British Athletics Championships, was a dominant winner over 100m in the A string with Freddie Arkell running just a fraction slower to take the B string over the same distance.

Arkell then backed it up with a win by almost three seconds in the 200m A string with Devonte Casely-Hayford taking the B string.

Hannah Bell has enjoyed a consistent season, with Saturday no different. She was a clear winner of the A string 100m. Kyra Stone, in a dominant B string win, was the second quickest behind Bell on the day. Both athletes repeated the feat over 200m, showing their class at this level.

The success continued for Hercules over 400m, with both men and women taking A string wins with two athletes at very different stages of their sporting careers.

Joshua Martin (U17) beat all his senior competitors running 53.32s in the process. Lisa Thomas (V55) is a world record holder for her age group over the steeplechase but stepped down impressively to take the women’s 400m A-string win.

Naomi Porter took the B string title before Thomas returned to take the 400m hurdles A string.

Men’s distance runners have taken maximum points over the flat in every fixture so far. Clean sweeps in the Men’s A and B string 800m thanks to Will Leslie and Oli Carrington, 1,500m through Fred Slemeck and Carrington again, and 3,000m for Daniel Cliffe and George Mallett ensured this record would stay intact.

Simon Wade also took the B string 2,000m steeplechase over the barriers.

Charlotte Conway secured valuable points in the women’s B string 800m, with Alex Binley the fastest in the women’s 3,000m A string.

Hercules women excelled in the field events. Ariana Shala and Heather Letley took the A and B triple jump with Darcey O’Shea clearing 1.50m to take the A high jump.

Mark Andrews completed his own mini decathlon, taking part in 10 events. He won in the A 110m hurdles, B high jump, A triple jump, B Ddiscus and hammer. Christer Hagberg won both the A events in the discus and hammer.

Both 4x100m relays were won, alongside both strings of the 4x400m mixed relay, to further cement Hercules’ grip on the top of the table.

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