|Double Whammy For Eagles|
Local running team reaching new heights
There was a double celebration for Ealing Eagles last week, with Mark Vardy making a triumphant cross-country return and the ladies climbing to the top of the table.
The fourth fixture, over challenging hills in Royston, Hertfordshire, is the toughest in the Sunday League calendar. So the Eagles were grateful to welcome back Vardy – last year’s top performer – who was available for the first time this winter.
He stormed over the three-lap circuit of a little over five miles to win in 32.16, while new member Josh Cardwell enjoyed a fantastic debut to finish as second Eagle – and 6th overall – in 34.14.
Meanwhile, the trio of Amy Cope-Balchin (6th woman, 41.25), Jennifer Laughton (10th, 42.33) and Jennifer Watt (11th, 42.41) kept up the challenge for honours in the ladies category by finishing second on the day.
It saw them overhaul Herts-based Team Trisports and Trent Park to top the table by the slimmest of margins with one fixture to go.
Skipper for the day, Thom Martini, said: “It sets up a really exciting finish for the ladies, who’ve put in so much hard work. We’ll all be rooting for them.”
Martini said the strong performances of Tracee Kean and Claire Morris, who made up the scoring five, showed the Eagles’ strength in depth.
He added: “While the ladies have done fantastically, they’ve been getting a bit cocky and making fun of us blokes, so it was great to have Mark back and to see Josh come on board with a great time to prove we’re not too shabby either.”
Through the field, there were good performances from Piers Keenleyside, who clocked 44.40 despite having run 45 miles in Saturday’s Country to Capital ultra-marathon, along with fellow over-50s Baljit Dhanda and Graeme Beavers.
Meanwhile, Jenny Baker and Sue Park continued their good form in the women’s over-45s.