ATHLETICS: Thames Valley Harriers admit they were disappointed by a poor turnout of athletes for their latest Metropolitan League match.
They had hoped for a better response considering match two of the campaign was on home soil - and a disappointing team result means that the Valley are down in 14th position in the table.
At least they could take consolation from some decent performances. The best of the day came in the U13 boys' race from James Murdoch. He finished fourth in a time of 13.10 for the 3,000m course.
This was his first club race since taking part in the county championships in January. He recently finished fourth in the Latymer Upper School Run which included all age groups.
Following him home was another Latymer boy, Jamie Edwards in 23rd place with 14.37. At the back of the field was Ben Toumi, in his first race, who was 42nd in 19.54.
Aneta Jaskulska also had an impressive run in the U13 girls' race. She finished 10th in 15.32 from a field of 39.
Again in the U15/17 boys' race, the Harriers only had three runners. Kyle Kenrick came straight from a rugby match to be TVH's first boy home in 53rd place with 17.39.
Next was Misha Wilcockson, also in his first race, who came home in 59th place (19.21), closely followed by Nabil Toumi (63rd with 19.30).
Joanna Thom just made it to the start line after coming from school and finished 33rd (23.56) in the U15/17 girls' race. Katie Smith was just in front with 22.46 in 31st place.
The senior women fared much better. With six runners to count in the team race, the Harriers had a complete team.
Leading the Valley home, Lisa DaSilva found things tough at the top but still finished fifth with 21.56 in a very good race.
French runner Amaïa Guillé, who last ran for TVH eight years ago, is now studying in London and has returned to the club. She had a steady first race and finished 38th with 24.40, moving through the field from being in the 50s at the start of the 6,000m race.
Tracy Tory had a very good 61st place in 25.44 and Tracy Barlow broke off from her sprint training to run for the club. She finished 71st in 26.14. Club chairwoman Diana Kennedy managed to find time away from her three young children to come and record 26.29 for 75th place.
Last scorer, Jane Lambert ran steadily for 136th place (30.46) for the team to finish ninth out of 29 teams.
Lacking some of their top performers, the men's team's first finisher was a modest 40th place - Manuel DaSilva crossing in 30.18. Next home should have been Calum Nicol, but he twisted his ankle on the first of two laps and then managed to get going again on the second and was eventually fifth man home in 34.12 (149th).
Andrew Lawrence had his first run for the Valley (54th in 30.44). Mat Ponting was 104th in 32.34 and Phil Wetton had his usual gutsy run to finish 119th in 32.57. Richard Bell was 181st in 35.32.
Also having injury problems, Ash Kahn and Bernie Robbins had to drop out on the first lap.
Veterans Lee Benjamin, (201st in 35.57) and Mike Wilson (204th in 36.08) seemed to be tied together most of the race and kept each other going.
Simon Maddison (287th in 40.21) and Tony Smith (287th in 41.08) were the other Harriers finishers.