HERCULES Wimbledon Athletic Club’s senior men’s squad were finally able to celebrate their Surrey Cross Country League victory in the icy cold winds and the sticky mud of Croydon’s Lloyd Park last Saturday in a hastily rearranged final fixture in which the club’s under 17 women’s and under 13 girls teams also triumphed.

The match, which should have been held on Effingham Common a fortnight earlier, was called off at the last minute after Storm Eunice wreaked havoc bringing down trees and branches. Fittingly though, Lloyd Park was the same location where the senior men gained an historic league title-winning victory in the 2018/19 season, the first since the formation of Hercules Wimbledon in 1967.

Although the team finished third on Saturday, the unassailable lead built up in the first three matches meant that the overall outcome was never in doubt. “It is great to regain the title,” said team manager Keith Scofield. “We are on the crest of a wave at the moment and the fact that we had 21 different scorers over the four matches shows our strength in depth.”

Hercules Wimbledon’s first finisher was Tom Jervis (fourth in 27 minutes 28 seconds). Team captain Fred Slemeck (10th in 27:58), veteran Richard McDowell (12th in 28:02). Oli Carrington (14th in 28:23), Ed Mallett (15th in 28:28, Finn Johnson (29th in 29:41). Jamie Bannister (48th in 30:20), Joe Clark (49th in 30:27), Howell Harrod (50th in 30:32), making a return after injury, and David Grima (60th in 31:43) completed the 10-to-score team.

Final standings: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 817pts; 2 Belgrave 1107; 3 Guildford and Godalming 1405; 4 Kent AC 1462; 5 Thames Hare and Hounds 1634; 6 South London Harriers 1958; 7 Herne Hill 2035; 8 Ranelagh Harriers 2728; 9 Fulham Running Club 3234.

Leading the women’s Under-17 team to victory were Abigail Grey and Lulu Weisz who finished second and third in 16:45 and 16:57. Final standings: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 86; 2 Epsom & Ewell 97; 3 Epsom and Ewell B 190; 4 Croydon 399; 5 Dorking and Mole Valley 447.

Ava McAndie (third in 13:26) and Isabella Harrison (sixth in 13:38) led the Under-13 girls team to second place on the day and the overall league title: 1 Hercules Wimbledon 164; 2 Herne Hill 206; 3 Guildford and Godalming 276; 4 Woking 328; 5 Belgrave 357; 6 Hercules Wimbledon B 470.

Surrey Schools champion Thomas Whorton, runner-up seven seconds behind the winner, led Hercules Wimbledon to second team place and runners-up spot for the season in the boys Under-13 contest. The Under-15 girls took third team spot. The senior women led by veterans Claire Grima (10th in 33:43) and Gina Galbraith (23rd in 35:55) finished a strong sixth in the Division One match.

Over-55 veteran Lisa Thomas gained a hat-trick of medals at the British Masters Indoor Championships at Lee Valley winning the 800m and taking silver over 400m and 1,500m.

Five Hercules Wimbledon runners will representing Surrey in the UK Inter-Counties cross country championships at Loughborough on Saturday (March 12). They are Fred Slemeck (senior men), Ellen Weir and Kiara Valkenburg (Under-20 women), Lulu Weisz (Under-17 Women), and Benjy Street (Under-15 boys).

Hercules Wimbledon are staging the Surrey 5km road running championship from their Wimbledon Park track headquarters on Sunday (March 13). The race starts at 9.30am. It will be followed by shot and javelin competitions at 10.45am.