Newsdesk 2003

 Web site: www.ranelagh-harriers.com  
 * Women finish 3rd again in Surrey League but injury-hit men's team come in 7th
 * Results of ballot for London Marathon club entries

 A final reminder that our next mob match is this Saturday, away to SLH at
 Coulsdon. All runners welcome, the more the better. Their clubhouse is on
 the A23 in Coulsdon with parking just around the corner in Lion Green Road.
 The various Coulsdon stations are all nearby. The course is 7.5 miles on
 Farthing Downs (10 mins jog from the clubhouse) and starts at 2.30pm. We're
 also invited to SLH's Christmas Party at their club house in the evening. 

 SURREY LEAGUE DIVISION ONE    Saturday December 13th
 The men were competing at Reigate, the women at Lightwater Country Park,
 Paul Doyle sums up the conditions at Reigate: "It was dull, dark &
 drizzling...the lucky ones were the runners". 
 We knew before the start that we were in for a rough ride team-wise. Five of
 our top eight finishers in the first League race were missing this time
 through injury or other reasons, including our top two David Benton and
 Julian Smith. Aldershot, Reigate and Stragglers all appeared with stronger
 teams than before, though Boxhill once again fielded only a handful of
 runners and seem booked for relegation already. 

 Fortunately the end result was not so bad as might have been expected in the
 circumstances. We finished 7th of the 9 first division clubs and slipped one
 place overall to 6th. We're close behind 5th-placed SLH but retain only a 76
 point advantage over Reigate, who today beat us by a margin of 111 points.
 Stragglers, only just behind us today, are in 8th place overall nearly 300
 in arrears with Boxhill even further back. There's no room for complacency
 but a good result in our home fixture on January 10th would secure our first
 division place and there's no reason why we should not challenge SLH for the
 5th spot.   

 Peter Haarer, fresh from another win in the Oxford Mail League, led our team
 all the way and he and Paul Doyle both improved on their positions in the
 first Surrey League race to finish 21st and 27th. But there was a long wait
 then for Marcus Gohar in 57th who had Paul Graham running very well hot on
 his heels. The remining six scoring places were shared between three vets,
 Andy Bickerstaff, Chris Owens and Mike Peace and three newer names, as Paul
 Graham describes: "Rob Stillwell who showed a little bit of his potential
 with a huge run, Barry Robinson who showed what a bit of training can do and
 Adam Tapley who scored for the team for the first time. All great efforts,
 and well deserved scoring team members".

 Paul Doyle adds: "A massive thanks to all those who turned out to support
 the team, It certainly gave me a big lift, as I'm sure it did the others".
 We had three representatives in the junior race and all finished in the
 first 10 led by Dan Jermy in 5th place. Dan, Matt and Ben finished 2nd team
 on the day and are a close 3rd overall.

 The women at Lightwater also missed also missed most of their 'A' team from
 the first League fixture but were still able to finish 3rd as Robin Drummond

 "Razzle Dazzle or Hobble Gobble?
 From good to better.
 At the time of writing this I only have my own jotted results but Lightwater
 was another triumph for our amazing ladies team. Initial prospects seemed
 bleak. From our last team, Allison couldn't run, Kristina has jetted off to
 NZ, Clare N is still injured and Jo called in ill. Despite this on a very
 wet and windy December day the Ranelagh girls got off their skinny
 backsides, bolted on their spikes and went out and ran their collective
 socks off.

 We had a really good turnout of 17 huddled inside the Ranelagh Dome before
 the start. Other teams kept trying to give us their declarations because we
 looked so cool and well organised. The rain eased up and off went a very
 full field into the first narrow bend after only 50 metres. Sarah S was up
 in 4th staying out of trouble and closely followed by Liz, Alice and Sara G.
 Close behind them were Heather Fell our latest recruit and Lynsey in her
 second appearance but first time scoring. The first lap saw Sarah retaining
 her 4th place but Liz dropped back with a problem leaving Alice, Sarah G,
 Heather and Lynsey in the first part of the field. 

 On the second lap Heather swapped positions with Sara G and Sarah Seal
 started tussling for third with the Belgrave girl. She fought back but the
 extra effort pulled them away from the next runners. In the end Sarah had to
 settle for 4th but looking at the face of her rival I think that next time
 it might have a different outcome.

 I don't have the official results as I write this but compare the first
 fixture at Richmond:
 2 Allison O'Neill, 8 Sarah Seal, 27 Joanne Ronaldson, 31 Lynsey Morris
 (non-scorer), 33 Kristina Semple, 34 Clare Nicholson,  42 Sara Grosvenor for
 a total 99 points...
 ...with that at Lightwater with only one scorer from the previous race:
 4 Sarah Seal, 11 Alice Beverly, 14 Heather Fell, 19 Sara Grosvenor, 23
 Lynsey Morris for a total of 71 points. 

 A result we should be proud of, 3rd on the day and still 3rd overall in the
 League against an amazingly strong Belgrave (36) and SLH (45) both with only
 one scoring runner outside the top ten. Let's hope they succumb to Christmas
 pudding and Baileys for the next few weeks. Our girls are temples, proof
 against such temptation.

 We must not forget that Ranelagh fielded three and a bit teams in this
 event. Commiserations to Sophie  who left her house to drive down only to
 discover that some low life had crashed into her parked car and fled.
 Luckily Celia Beverly of Sheen Taxi service did a group rate and managed to
 get everyone, except Eliete, to the race on time. Eliete was left behind but
 it wasn't for want of trying. In the words of the popular song 'The Grand
 Old Duke of York', 
 When she was out they weren't there 
 And when she was in they were outside 
 And when they were almost halfway there she was neither in nor out.

 Other contenders for congratulations:
 Ali G on form and in da house
 Carol on a white swan
 Clodagh on a pint of Guinness
 Corinne on cloud nine
 Julie N on and off
 Margaret on and on
 Liz on then off then on
 Louise on the M25 for an hour
 Lorna onwards and upwards
 Lynne on a bad leg
 Sonia on a charge
 Sophie on a mission

 The Beverly Sisters had a particularly good day with Anair cruising to
 victory in the combined under 17/20 group. At the end of the first lap she
 was in company but reaching the long downhill she let loose and just ran
 away from them. By the finish she was unchallenged in first place and
 thoroughly deserved it.

 In the under 13/15 race Alex, although growing fast, was still trampled in a
 very big field at the start, but elbowed her way through to the first corner
 and settled in to a good steady run. Emily also settled well and they both
 ran comfortably through to finish in 5th and 7th places. It must be said
 that the large field transformed the whole atmosphere of the race. If this
 lot carry on into the next age categories then there may be an upsurge in XC
 Even in the seniors with Sarah Seal as the oldest woman in our scoring team
 and probably for the first time in years no vet scoring, the average age of
 our team has dropped from 34 to 23. Keep this up and all us old folk can
 retire to Bournemouth. 
 Your correspondent
 Budinn Mordor"

 OXFORD v CAMBRIDGE VARSITY RACE   Saturday December 6th on Wimbledon Common
 Alice Beverly reports from the Oxford camp:

 "Unfortunately we lost both the women's and men's races. That said, both
 were close - especially in the women's where it went Cambridge, Oxford,
 Cambridge, Oxford etc. all the way through.

 I ran reasonably well - but not as well as I thought I might (based on my
 form this season in other races). I was 11th out of 12 runners. The first
 Cambridge girl ran a course record, as did the first man, Fraser Thompson of
 Oxford. I was personally quite disappointed with my run, but was really
 thrilled to be awarded a 'Blue' - I don't know if I really deserved it
 though - I was struck down by some nasty flu the next day... or maybe that
 was the effect of the after-party! I'll just have to run well at BUSA!

 More importantly, Oxford had more fun than Cambridge (the Tabs) at the party
 afterwards!  ; )"

 1 J Bleasdale (Camb U) 22.49
 11 Alice Beverly (Ox U) 25.39

 HAVANA MARATHON  Sunday November 16th
 Hugh Jones took his racing shoes to Cuba for the first time and recorded

 We had thirteen applications for the five guaranteed places we have been
 allotted, so it was decided that the fairest way of selecting the lucky ones
 would be simply drawing names out of a hat. No hat could be found on Tuesday
 evening but a box substituted. Andy, Clare and Steve drew the following
 names: Eleonora Zona, Steve McClune, Evelyn Joslin, Simon Burrell and Sophie
 Timms. Get training guys! Bad luck to the other eight. 

 The latest draw was back in September at the Thomas Cup but there was a
 little confusion over whether one of the prize winners had renewed his entry
 or not. The prizes are now confirmed as 156 for Mike Bull, 65 for Paul
 Bowden and 39 for Deborah Blakemore. The next draw will be at the Henty
 Relay on December 27th so there's just time to join in if you aren't already
 a subscriber. It's just 10 a year and raises lots of money for the club's
 building fund. Contact Peter Trainor at mailto:peter.trainor@btinternet.com

 This comes from Anna McLaughlin:
 "So...  my trip to Australia!  What a country, what a fantastic time to be
 there... yes I was at the Rugby World Cup Final and yes it was amazing! In
 fact, where do I start? How do I describe something that I will never forget
 yet cannot put into words... awesome, spine tingling, wet and a match that
 made me feel sick with nerves... as I said where do I start!!!

 Sydney was in match fever all day and after trying to spend the morning
 relaxing we just had to go out and join them... the game kicked off at 8pm
 so we arrived at the first pub for approx 2:30pm... well the beer is weak
 over there!!! Everywhere you looked all you could see was white with the odd
 splattering of gold and of course there was singing! We moved towards the
 ground at about 4pm and upon arrival headed straight to the
 English-dominated beer tent for more singing and general calming of
 nerves... then it was into the grounds for the closing ceremony and match,
 accompanied by another beer! After the slightly tear jerking closing
 ceremony it was down to the serious stuff of anthems and then the match. I
 will now presume that you saw the match (if you had nerves of steel!) so
 will skip through a ball by ball description until the 100th minute when
 Johnny slotted 'that' drop kick right through the posts towards us and then
 total and utter mayhem!!! I nearly have enough pictures to bore you all
 with, but they will never show or truly capture how totally amazing it all
 was! We stayed in the ground singing and cheering until the last England
 player left the pitch after all their interviews.  Then it was back to the
 beer tent for more beers (of course) and then into Sydney by train for, yep
 you've guessed it, more beers! By the time we got back into Sydney it was
 nearly 1am and everywhere was heaving (mainly due to the 40,000 odd people
 who had watched the match on the big screens in the city centre), but we
 eventually managed to squeeze into a bar and partied into the night... which
 I hope that you all did too! 

 This Saturday night there will be a programme on ITV called 'We are the
 Champions' which is an evening with the England Rugby boys... it was
 recorded where I work last night so from about 5:15 onwards Karen (my
 assistant) and I were sat discreetly (yeah right) in the studio cafe
 watching all the boys arrive and mingle round...

 So after hanging around a while it turned out that a few celebs hadn't
 turned up for the show so there were a few spare seats... so we managed to
 get in to watch the recording... but that's not all......

 Then after the show (which is really good and worth watching) we managed to
 get into the post show party...  and there's more......

 Well after a couple of glasses of champers and watching all the celebs
 falling over themselves to get pictured with and autographs of all the
 players (including Nick Faldo) I plucked up the courage to go and speak to
 and congratulate Clive Woodward, which was great and we had a nice little
 chat... and there's more...... 

 Then after pottering around a while longer swooning at the players and
 chatting to a few I was returning to the bar when I got stuck right behind
 Johnny... not knowing whether to barge past or grab his arse I decided on
 the latter!!! Yes, it was there in front of me when I was trying to move
 around the room, and well you know what I mean, it just had to be done...
 both cheeks...one at a time...!!!  The funniest bit was that he turned round
 to see who had done it and I was standing next to this bloke who got the
 full blast of his glare... even though he protested that it wasn't him!!!
 So today I am still on cloud 10 and have a story to dine out with 'til at
 least after Christmas!!!"

 On 5th December Carla Harrison and one week later (but four weeks early!)
 Euan Thomas Sinclair. Many congratulations to Diane and Kevin and Sue and
 Alastair. It is noted that young Master Sinclair shares his names with a 400
 metres runner of some repute (albeit differently spelled) and we hope this
 bodes well for his future in athletics! 

 Has moved to Middlestead, Green Trees, Peppard Common, Henley-on-Thames,
 Oxfordshire RG9 5EN, telephone 01189 722114.

 A full fixture list for the 2003/04 winter season is available on our web

 More details of the following from Andy Bickerstaff (07966 552302 /
 mailto:andy@norris-hobs.co.uk ) or Paul Graham (mailto:paulgraham28@hotmail.com )
 or Clare Nicholson (07710 348030 / mailto:clarenicholson@hotmail.com ). 

 Saturday December 20th        Stubbs Cup Mob Match v South London Harriers
 at Farthing Downs, Coulsdon. 7.5 miles, start at 2.30pm. All runners
 welcome! Followed by SLH's Christmas Party to which we are all

 Tuesday December 23rd         Junior Points Prize race 2, 2.30pm in Richmond
 Park. Hot mince pies promised afterwards!

 Saturday December 27th        Henty Relay in Richmond Park. Our Christmas
 fun relay for all members and friends. All speeds welcome, the more teams we
 have the better the race. Each leg is 2km, start time 2pm but be at the
 clubhouse by 1.30pm to be sure of getting in a team. 

 Saturday January 3rd              Surrey Championships at Lloyd Park,

 Saturday January 10th            Surrey League Division 1 on our own course
 in Richmond Park. Women at 12.30pm (juniors at 1.15pm and 1.45pm), men at
 3pm (juniors 2.30pm).

 Steve Rowland
 e-mail: srowland@calor.co.uk
 Tel: 01926 318734
 Fax: 0870 4006901