Stragglers Ladies Wonder at Wimbledon

Posted by Malcolm Davies on 1 February 2018


Surrey League Division 1 Fixture Wimbledon Common 13 January

25 Straggler ladies (eventually 26!) toed the start line in the penultimate Surrey fixture of 17/18.  The ladies went into this match having managed to move off the foot of the table in their bid to stay in Division One but still a long way from safety.  Conditions were thankfully good in contrast to the usual wet/freezing conditions and an excellent Stragglers lineup massed on the start line in particular looking out for their relegation rivals Woking and Dulwich and looking up the table at teams immediately above them, Epsom Ewell, Fulham and Ful on tri clubs.

The race got off to an excellent start with Sophie Biggs leading the charge for the Stragglers on completion of the first of two laps of the common. Sophie was being pursued by Sarah Winter at this point, with the Straggler charge then led by Sonia Bandiera, Liz Kilip and Juliet Cleghorn. A very strong line up behind them comprised Helen Davies, Dee Smale, Karen Levene, Pam Whitter and Julia Snaith with four of these runners eventually making the B team scorers.  

There was one literal Straggler at the back of the pack at this point which was Heidi Russenburger. Heidi had arrived two minutes after the start of the race and lesser mortals would have given up before even starting, but not Heidi.  Having been pointed in the right direction Heidi set off in pursuit of the rest of the race, leaving Malcolm to pin on a race number to a Stragglers vest and hand it to her at the end of the first lap!  By now she had worked her way through much of the field and in an exciting finish dragged herself to third place Straggler overall in a time of 38 minutes and three seconds which in reality would have been at least two minutes faster had she been on the start line with everyone else! Truly a wonder performance.

There were great performances from right across the field with many pleasing races from all the ladies making for a stirring morning. Some literally putting their bodies on the line for the club (Hillary Davies being a faller after after 15 seconds but getting up to complete a great run) and others ending up in the St John's ambulance tent at the end but fortunately with nothing lasting!

So in the event was it worth it when the results came out? The A team the top five scorers were 10th out of 15. The B team the sixth to tenth scorers were 6/13 teams. The ladies efforts were good enough to just about scramble out of the relegation zone with the A team currently sitting in 12th Place out of 15. It will be the position of the A team after last fixture that will determine if the ladies stay in division one, with three teams to be relegated. At the time of writing it's extremely tight with the ladies only 24 points in front of the team below them, Epsom & Ewell, so a complete cliffhanger is promised for the final fixture in Richmond Park on Saturday 10th of February.


Malcolm Davies


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