Harrow County School for Boys

Harrow County School Cross Country Club

By Dennis Orme (Captain 1973/75)

Fairly extensive records exist for the CCC from 1945 onwards. There wasn’t much competition after the war but it gradually built up during the 1950’s to a programme of almost weekly fixtures. The nature of competitions changed over the years. Throughout there were straight matches against one or two schools on the traditional "eight to run six to score" basis; I've tended to ignore most of these. Then there were the trophy matches which were either straight races or relays between around a couple of dozen schools and were in early years mainly organised by local athletics clubs but in later years were organised by schools themselves. Over the years the schools we competed against changed. Early on most grammar schools in the London area turned out teams, locally Harrow Weald and Downer were rivals. But by the end of the sixties fewer schools were participating and we had to go into Bucks and Herts for competition and, towards the end, even further afield.

The traditional school "senior hill" course, which most people will remember, was over Harrow Hill and was established in the late fifties. Before that Northwick Park had been used and was also used by Gayton High in later years when they hosted the Harrow Schools Championships. The "senior hill" course started in the playing fields in Kenton Road that were then used by Heathfield School but are now occupied by a Garden Centre. It then went up Peterborough Hill, over the top of the hill, down Sudbury Hill into Sudbury Court Drive. It then descended Littleton Road before crossing the fields of Harrow School Farm then their rugby pitches before ascending the infamous Football Lane. Once at the top of this there was a right hand turn before retracing the outward route to Kenton Road field. Anyone who wants to follow this route, either jogging or walking, will find it quite interesting as it passes several of Harrow School’s historic buildings and the view of the hill as you cross the fields is also worthwhile. Below the fifth year boys ran the "junior hill" course which headed out in the opposite direction down Watford Road then up Pebworth Road before joining the senior route to cross the fields. The relay course also went down Watford Road then used the footpath opposite Northwick Park Hospital to reach the other courses at the bottom of Football Lane. In its last few years, the relay started on this footpath just off Watford Road.

Master in charge for most of the time after 1945 was Charles Crinson. The various club captains and secretaries also did a fair share of match organisation and led training sessions. The captain was also responsible for writing up the "captains book" with results which eventually ended up in the School Archives. Some captains did a better job than others but the records are generally complete. In true "school tradition" results often only gave the boy's surname but I have at least most of the initials of boys mentioned except for the very early ones. There are two captains some seasons because often one captain in Scholarship Sixth would leave at Christmas and another would take over in the new year.

The early years listed below are inevitably factual as they are beyond the memories of most people I know, the interesting anecdotes appear towards the end of the article!

1945/46 Captain: Woods
Colours: Ballard, Gilhay, Eric Holdsworth, Woods.

The only result in the book is the Middlesex Grammar Schools where the school finished 11th out of 17.

1946/47 Captain: H. Wise
Colours: Ronald Coffin, Peace, C. Ponter, H. Wise.

Only three major races this year which the school won. The Highgate Harriers race was first, it was one of the longest lasting post War races continuing into the 1980's, and was held at Hampstead Heath. We won this from Bancrofts School and 21 schools took part. H. Wise was 3rd. The school won the NW Middlesex Grammar Schools, Wise winning the race, and this qualified them for the Middlesex Grammar Schools proper which we also won from Southgate Grammar, Wise finishing 3rd.

1947/48 Captains: H. Wise and C. Ponter
Colours: M. Barber, R. Beishon, J. Burton, T. Golding, A. Heslop, D. Hurd, D. Lawson, Tom Misson, R. Newman, C. Ponter, B. Southwell.

We again won the Highgate Harriers race, B. Southwell winning the race. We also competed in the Middlesex AAA Championhips against clubs and finished 5th out of 13. We entered the Ranelagh Harriers race at Richmond Park winning from St. Albans School, Southwell was our first runner home in 10th place. Again we won the NW Middlesex Grammar Schools and then won the Middlesex Grammar Schools where C. Ponter led the team home in 9th place.

1948/49 Captain: D. Hurd
Colours: M. Barber, M. Foxwell, T. Golding, D. Hummerstone, D. Hurd, D. Lawson, T. Stanley, B. Southwell, M. Walsh.

Not such a good season. We were 5th in both the Highgate Harriers and Ranelagh Harries races. But we second in the Finchley Harriers race mainly against local schools then won the Middlesex Grammar Schools for the third year in succession, but the school was destined not to win this race again for another 25 years!

1949/50 Captain: D. Hurd
Colours: M. Barber, J. Bramley, B. Gregory, D. Hurd, B. Maybrick, E. Osborn, W. Pain, T. Stanley, D. Williams.

We improved to 3rd place in the Highgate Harriers race and were 2nd in the Finchley Harriers where T. Stanley finished 3rd. A 7th place followed in the Ranelagh race then we were runners up to Spring Grove in the Middlesex Grammar Schools.

1950/51 Captain: T. Stanley
Colours: Bacon, D. Forsyth, B. Gregory, S. Johnston, R. Littley, B. Lord, D. Norman, W. Pain, G. Ridley, T. Standley, Wadsworth.

The club went through some leaner times at the start of the fifties. The only noteworthy result this season was winning the new Ealing Harriers race which T. Stanley individually won.

1951/52 Captain: W. Pain
Colours: L. Chapman, B. Dowding, C. Gent, K. Houlan, M. Humphrey, S. Johnston, B. Lord, W. Pain, T. Stanley, B. Tyler, N. Walsh, T. Youdale.

We again won the Ealing event then were runners up in the Finchley Harriers race. A junior match appears for the first time this season, in a match against Bishopshalt which we lost by two points.

1952/53 Captain: B. Lord
Colours: L. Chapman, C. Gent, T. Gough, J. Green, M. Humphrey, B. Lord, C. Ruhl, J. Stewart, J. Sheriff, N. Walsh, A. Wilson, T. Youdale.

We won the Ealing event for a third year in a row, B. Lord winning, but were third in the Finchley Harriers race. Towards the end of the season, the club showed better form finishing 3rd in the Ranelagh Harriers Race then 2nd in the Middlesex Grammar Schools. At the end of the season we competed in the new Queens Park Harriers Relay, our first entry into a relay event. This took place in Northwood on a circuit starting near Eastcote Cricket Club, went up Cuckoo Hill then through the back streets to reach Northwood Hills before returning down Joel Street. Our team selection for this race seems strange because our "A" team were 7th behind out "B" team in 6th.

1953/54 Captain: J. Green
Colours: P. Bailey, B. Elliott, D. Francis, J. Fleet, C. Gent, J. Green, M. Grey, M. Humphrey, M. McKenna, P. Norton, B. Pressman, D. Sheriff, R. Snow, J. Stewart.

A much better year, one where our J. Green seemed to win all before him in the early part of the season. We again won the Ealing Race which Green won. He also won the Finchley Harriers race where we were 2nd, then the Highgate Harriers race where we took 3rd. We were again 2nd in the Middlesex Grammar Schools where Green was 3rd.

The first result for a Harrow School Championship appears this season. They were not always reported on very well in the captains' books probably because we did not always get proper results for them. The best runners went forward to the Middlesex Schools and from there to the English Schools. The only result this year was in a junior (i.e. third year) race where we finished 4th.

1954/55 Captain: B. Pressman
Colours: P. Bailey, J. Booth, H. Collins, P. Edney, B. Elliott, J. Fleet, I. Lindsay, P. Norton, B. Pressman, R. Ratcliffe, A. Reynolds, J. Stewart.

We slipped to 3rd in the Ealing Harriers race but scored a win in the Finchley Harriers event. We entered the RGS Guildford Relay for the first time but only finished 12th. The rest of the season seems to have been unremarkable.

1955/56 Captain: P. Edney
Colours: K. Alexandre, B. Baldwin, P. Edney, R. Glazier, S. Jay, J. Jenkinson, P.J. O'Brien, J. Shortland, J. Westcott.

We won back the Ealing race but were 3rd in the Finchley event. We entered the Thames Valley Harriers race for the first time finishing 8th. We just missed out of the top three in most of the rest of the events that season, our best performance being in the new Polytechnic Harriers race where we finished 4th.

1956/57 Captain: J. Jenkinson
Colours: B. Baldwin, R.I. Cumming, P. Gibbins, R. Glazier, D. Hollis, S. Jay, J. Jenkinson, M. Jones, J. Shortland.

Another win in the Ealing event and runners up spot in the Finchley Harriers. The John Lyon Road Relay appears for the first time, the first event organised by a school and not a club. It started at the John Lyon pavilion at the opposite end of the field from the Old Gayts HQ. In latter days the JL pavilion was starting to fall down and we had to change at their school. The route ran across the field into South Vale then went up the hill via the private roads on the south west slope before descending Sudbury Hill. We were 4th that first year, nine seconds behind 3rd.

1957/58 Captains: B. Baldwin and S. Jay
Colours: B. Baldwin, R.I. Cumming, M. Dann, D. Golby, C. Grubb, S. Jay, J. Waddington.

We didn't do so well in the best races but won the Finchley Harriers race in a close contest where five points covered the top four teams. We won the John Lyon Relay and the youngsters competed for the first time in the Ruislip & Northwood AC race. Ruislip merged with Finchley Harriers in the mid sixties to form Hillingdon AC.

1958/59 Captain: R.I. Cumming
Colours: Tony Bush, R.I. Cumming, M. Dann, D. Golby, C. Grubb, R. Jaques, R. Sewell, J. Waddington.

We won both the Ealing and Finchley races. We were 2nd in the John Lyon Relay, but nearly two minutes behind winners Haberdashers. We just missed out in the Middlesex Grammar Schools and Queens Park Relay being 4th in both.

1959/60 Captain: J. Waddington
Colours: J. Broadribb, Tony Bush, G. Crafter, D. Golby, C. Grubb, R. Jaques, R. Sewell, J. Waddington.

We won the Ealing Harriers Race with our runners finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Our best result was in the Highgate Harriers where we finished 2nd, D. Golby taking 3rd place. We regained the John Lyon Relay just ahead of the hosts and Harrow Weald Grammar, holders Haberdashers didn't take part.

1960/61 Captain: Tony Bush
Colours: J. Broadribb, Tony Bush, B. Goldfarb, D. Jones, C. Maslen, G. Wilson.

We were runners up in the new Haberdashers Relay event, Tony Bush running fastest lap. We were 2nd in the Ealing Harriers but then finished in the top three in the Thames Valley Race taking bronze medals. In the Highgate Harriers race Tony Bush was in contention for one of the first three places when a dog harassed the leaders. The three involved agreed to come in first equal, the school team finishing 3rd. Another 3rd place followed in the Middlesex Grammar Schools and the youngsters won the Ruislip & Northwood Race, D. Jones winning individually.

1961/62 Captain: Tony Bush
Colours: M. Anderson, J. Broadribb, Tony Bush, A. Deall, B. Goldfarb, D. Jones, C. Maslen, M. May, G. Wilson

We won the Haberdashers Relay, Tony Bush again running the fastest lap. We inaugurated our own big event this winter, a relay race over the above mentioned course, and we won leading from gun to tape, Tony Bush and J. Broadribb both running the fastest laps. We had a series of excellent results early in the season; we were 2nd in the Ealing Harriers Race, 3rd in the Polytechnic Harriers Relay where Tony Bush ran fastest lap, 2nd in the Highgate Harriers Race, 2nd in the TVH Race and 2nd in the Middlesex AAA Champs against open clubs.

After Xmas we were runners up in the John Lyon Relay, filled the top five places in the senior Harrow Schools Champs while G. Wilson and D. Jones finished first equal in the intermediate event. We were runners up in both the Ranelagh Harriers Race and the Queens Park Relay, where M. Anderson ran fastest lap. We were 3rd in the Middlesex Grammar Schools and the youngsters finished 2nd in the Ruislip & Northwood Race. M. Anderson finished 2nd in the Middlesex Schools then was 25th in the English Schools held at Birkenhead, the best performance by a Harrow County athlete while still at the school (but see below).

1962/63 Captain: J. Broadribb
Colours: M. Anderson, J. Broadribb, K. Huxley, D. Jones, M. May, Pete Nichols, Ivor Pigram, G. Wilson.

We won again in the Ealing Harriers race, G. Wilson winning. We were runners up to Purley Grammar in the Haberdashers Relay but won our own relay where J. Broadribb ran the fastest lap. In the Highgate Harriers Race we took the bronze medals. We were runners up in the Middlesex AAA Champs and also in the John Lyon Relay in the new year. At the end of the season, we took 3rd place in the Middlesex Grammar Schools and 2nd in the Queens Park Harriers Relay.

1963/64 Captain: J. Broadribb
Colours: J. Broadribb, L. Gilliland, P. Gold, Peter Griffiths, J. Howard, K. Huxley, Roger Kraushaar, M. May, Pete Nichols, G. Sandercock, Dave Schiff, G. Serota, Andy Wiggett, C. Wilson.

We again won our own relay but that was our only success this season. Our next best performance were 4th in the Finchley Harriers and two new events, the Kerton Relay hosted by St. Nicholas Grammar and the Dr. Challoners Relay at Amersham.

1964/65 Captain: Roger Kraushaar
Colours: R. Easting, K. Fleming, Peter Griffiths, K. Huxley, Roger Kraushaar, G. Serota, C. Wilson.

We were 3rd in the Finchley Harriers race but just missed out on medals in the Thames Valley Race. We did win our own relay again for the fourth successive year. After Xmas the youngsters were 3rd in the Ruislip & Northwood AC Race and won the Gunnersbury Grammar School relay, A. DeVletter running the fastest lap. The best senior results came at the end of the season when we were runners up in the Middlesex Grammar Schools then won the Queens Park Harriers Relay.

1965/66 Captains: Roger Kraushaar and Peter Griffiths
Colours: M. Bier, G. Buffett, Brian Cunningham, A. Dagleish, A. Davidson, A. DeVletter, K. Fleming, L. Gilliland, Peter Griffiths, J. Krausse, R. Leutchford, J. May, W. Mealling, C. Oxley, I. Park, C. Wilson.

We were 2nd to Dr. Challoners in the Enfield School's Race and 3rd in the Thames Valley Race. Charles Crinson and Reg King donated a trophy in memory of Randall Williams for our own relay and henceforth it was known as the Randall Relay. This was also the first year that we failed to win in a very close finish, we were just two seconds behind winners Ashford County. Victory came however, in the Kerton Relay where we took the lead of the 2nd of the six laps and were never headed. Captain Roger Kraushaar became a teacher at hosts St. Nicholas and himself organised the Kerton event for some twenty years before apathy from the rest of the staff forced him to stop. The John Lyon Relay changed format into a multi-age group event. There was one under 13 , one under 15, two under 17 and two open laps. This format suited us quite well and it was our most successful event until the race folded in 1973. But we were only 3rd in 1965. After Xmas we again won the Finchley Harriers Race and the youngsters were 2nd in the Gunnersbury Relay and 3rd in the Ruislip & Northwood Race. The season closed with runners up spots in the Middlesex Grammar Schools and the Queens Park Relay.

1966/67 Captains: Peter Griffiths, Clive Wilson from Spring 1967
Colours: G. Buffett, A. Fowler, I. Park, Ian Pursell, C. Wilson, S. Yates.

Either we didn’t take part in many events this winter or they were not recorded. We won the John Lyon Relay. The only result we have from the Randall Relay was that RAF Halton Apprentices won and Pete Griffiths ran the 2nd fastest lap. Pete also won the Enfield Schools Race and ran fastest lap in the Kerton relay.

1967/68 Captain: Ian Pursell
Colours: P. Barnett, A. Dalgleish, A. Davidson, A. DeVletter, A. Halls, Rob Heath, J. Krausse, A. Norris, I. Park, Ian Pursell, D. Reast, Tony McGahan, Phil Saktreger, M. Sones.

We went through a period of few good results for a few seasons before gradually improving into the seventies. We could only finish 9th in our Randall Relay, RGS High Wycombe winning in a close finish. Our best results came from our under 16's who were 3rd in the Merchant Taylor's Race and won the Harrow Schools Champs.

1968/69 Captain: Ian Pursell
Colours: A. Davidson, Rob Heath, Tony McGahan, Ian Pursell, Phil Saktreger, Derek Wolfe.

Another lean year. Haberdashers easily won our Randall Relay and we finished 8th. I ran my first inter schools race this season. Captain Ian Pursell approached me in the music room A7 lesson and at thought he was collaring me for some misdemeanour, but in fact he was trying to get a team out for the Harrow Schools Champs. In fact we only had three running and I was a year young. The race was held around the fields at Bannister Stadium; in those days the fields immediately adjacent to Oxhey Lane were accessible. It was, as it often can be, fairly muddy and I finished 37th.

1969/70 Captain: Tony McGahan
Colours: T. McGahan, D. Russell, A. Higgs, M. Mills, P. O'Brien, D. Orme, D. Wolfe.

Phil Clarke took over as master in charge and this coincided with a more "youthful" feel to the club. With the inauguration of the Harrow Schools League there were more races available for those below the fifth year. The first round was at Whitchurch Playing Fields and was significant as the first race Phil O'Brien won, by some one hundred yards. The third years, however, had the best team result finishing 2nd to Salvatorian College; I was only our sixth man in.

The seniors were 3rd in the John Lyon Relay only just behind 2nd place. Haberdashers, with their star Julian Goater, son of their master in charge and later an international athlete, were dominant in team events and easily won the John Lyon and our Randall Relay, where we improved to 6th. We had a good Harrow Schools Champs winning the senior and under 16 race, Derek Wolfe winning the latter and Martin Mills winning the under 14 event.

Photograph of Junior Team, 1970

1970/71 Captain: Dave Russell
Colours: P. Gatford, Robert Heath, Dave Russell, Graham Sillitoe, Derek Wolfe, Adrian Higgs, Charles July, Martin Mills.

Dave's captaincy seems to be best remembered for an incident at the Guildford Relay when the elastic in his shorts went and he was forced to remove them mid race. Fortunately, he had swimming trunks underneath and finished his leg without too much embarrassment.

The first match of the season ended up being cancelled when only one runner from our opponents Downer turned up! The seniors managed silver medals in the John Lyon Road Relay but finished 4th in our Randall Relay, where Derek Wolfe ran the fastest lap, and these proved to be our best results that winter.

Suddenly, Phil O'Brien was no longer top dog in the 3rd year. Charles July emerged to beat him and won the Harrow Schools title. Derek Wolfe retained his under 16 title and we won both this and the senior team titles. A fourth year race was added to the Harrow League so I had an extra year's competition. I can remember that we hosted the final round and I led in the team in 6th place, after a close battle with Dave Blagden who just beat me and who came to Harrow County in the sixth form.

Photograph of Senior Team, 1971

1971/72 Captain: Robert Heath
Colours: Robert Heath, Mark July, Graham Sillitoe, Derek Wolfe, Colin Greatrex, Phil O'Brien.

Phil Clarke left and Mike Green took over as master in charge, keeping the job within the geography department.

I finally reached the senior ranks. This was a "what might have been" season where we always seemed close to success but never quite achieved it. In the John Lyon Relay, we again took silver medals just one second behind Haberdashers in a very exciting finish between Derek Wolfe and Haberdasher's Nash. We turned up to set up the course for the Randall Relay to find one of the gates to the field locked so we had to extend the course by 200 yards. I never liked our relay course which was too short for me and I almost dropped us out of contention after the 4th leg but Graham Sillitoe regained lost ground leaving Derek Wolfe a few seconds behind 2nd placed Watford Grammar. Derek was up against a tough competitor in Simon Keene and we had to be content with bronze medals, Dr. Challoners won by more than a minute. One of the runners who came past me was Latymer Upper's Hugh Jones who later won the London Marathon. We finished 3rd in the Highgate Harriers Race but that was our last success that season.

At the end of January we made our longest journey ever for the first King Henry VIII Relay in Coventry. It attracted the best schools from all over the country including Scotland and Northern Ireland. It became the top schools event in the UK, apart from the English Schools, and in later years occasionally teams came from abroad including the USA. Captain Rob Heath had been dubious about doing the event in the middle of the mock exams but, in the end, despite the rainy day we all enjoyed competing. We finished 12th out of 32 teams. Our biggest disappointment was not getting medals in the Middlesex Grammar Schools. We finished five in the top 25 and would have won if only five scored but we had to wait for our sixth runner back in 82nd and missed bronzes by four points.

Colin Greatrex was the best of our youngsters, he won the under 14 Harrow Schools and was runner up in the Haberdashers Under 14 Race. I won the under 16 Harrow Schools.

The English Schools Champs took place in Ruislip Woods that year; the nearest it has been to Harrow. No one from the school had qualified but several of us went to watch. The intermediate race later became famous as it was the first time Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe met in competition. But on the day all our eyes were on St. Albans School's Kirk Dumpleton from the local circuit who won the race well clear of Ovett.

1972/73 Captain: Derek Wolfe
Colours: Jim Moseley, Phil O'Brien, Dennis Orme, Derek Wolfe, Mike Baron, Colin Greatrex, Andy Shirley.

Disaster struck in the first major race, the John Lyon Relay, when an injured Colin Greatrex hobbled in at the end of his leg dropping us out of contention. For the Randall Relay, we drafted in Mark July and Martin Mills who had all but given up competing and we took the bronze medals, Derek Wolfe setting a new course record. At the end of November, St. Alban's Kirk Dumpleton set a new course record for the senior hill race chased hard by Derek Wolfe who only finished one second behind him. Kirk's time was to remain unbeaten.

After Xmas, Viv Edwards invited us to his new school Sevenoaks to compete in their new Knole Run event around the picturesque Knole Park. We had never raced against Kent schools before and it was a better standard then we were used to; it soon overtook the Highgate Harriers race as the top event in the South East. It became a favourite of mine and I had some of my best races there. I handed Derek Wolfe a rare defeat finishing 7th and I also just beat Dave Warren who later partnered Coe and Ovett in the 1980 Olympic 800m final.

Our only other successes that season came towards the end. We made up for our disappointment the previous year by taking silver medals in the Middlesex Grammar Schools then three days later came the Queens Park Harriers Relay. This had the most exciting finish I have ever seen before or since in a relay; with less than half a mile to go there were no less than five teams in contention for the title. Derek Wolfe was our final leg runner and we chased him down Joel Street shouting him on. The runners all disappeared into Southill Lane, near Eastcote Cricket Club, and we followed anxious to find out the result. Derek had brought us in second behind Dr. Challoners.

In the youngsters department, we had two new good first years in the shape of the Deighton twins, Andy and Jeff.

1973/74 Captain: Dennis Orme
Colours: Colin Greatrex, Trevor Hartman, Jim Moseley, Phil O'Brien, Dennis Orme, Gareth Smith, Mike Baron, Andy Deighton, Jeff Deighton, Steve Hextall, Mike Lepps, Jeremy Newell.

The School's final two years were among its most successful. Derek Wolfe had left but most of the other seniors were still at school. Once past the first half term when the major races started, not a week seemed to go by without the club going up on stage in assembly for the "golden handshake" for some achievement or other. Roy Avery was always very supportive of the club and keen to know the latest results. He even accompanied us to his former school Haberdashers; the presence of the head in the school minibus quietened down conversation somewhat!

We got off to a good start in the major races with a win in the John Lyon Road Relay at the beginning of November. I easily overtook Haberdashers soon after the start of my leg but kept looking over my shoulder expecting a challenge from Dr. Challoners but it didn't materialise. Challoners narrowly edged us out of the medals the following Wednesday at the Guildford Relay which Haberdashers won, then we could only manage 5th in the Wycombe Relay. We bounced back to win in our Randall Relay leading from the second leg onwards. Three days later we won the Kerton Relay where Gareth Smith was the star man taking the lead on the penultimate lap. The following Saturday we took silver medals in the Highgate Harriers race, beating all our regular opponents but losing out to Skinners from Tunbridge Wells.

Just before Xmas, on the instigation of the PE Dept, the school undertook its largest ever set of House matches. Rather than the usual six to score affair, up to twenty scored. 309 pupils in total took part in 2nd, 3rd, 4th year and senior races.

In mid January I ran my best ever race while at HCS taking second place to twice English Schools Champion Kirk Dumpleton in the Knole Run. The team finished 4th. Bronze medals followed in the Dr. Challoners relay when St. Albans emerged to win, they rarely took part in anything before Xmas as rugby took priority in their first term. 12th place followed in the King Henry VIII relay. We dominated the senior race in the Harrow Schools Champs filling 7 of the top 8 places, Phil O'Brien, Jim Moseley and myself contrived to cross the line first together. The following day another set of bronzes in the Haberdashers Relay. We were tired running two races in two days but Jim Moseley inspired us to better things by taking us into a brief lead on leg 2.

Phil O'Brien was starting to show more class and finished 3rd in the Middlesex Schools. I let the leaders get away and, despite a concerted effort to get into the top 8 finished 9th and therefore first reserve for the English Schools. Unfortunately for me it was one of the few years that no one dropped out so I had to wait until the following year to make the county team. The Ranelagh Harriers race saw us narrowly beaten by Raynes Park then we were 3rd in the Merchant Taylors race at Oxhey Common. The following week we had one of our most important results when we won the Middlesex Grammar Schools title for the first time since 1949. By now, of course, many schools in Middlesex had become comprehensive and the race was now officially called the 1913 Association Championships. Our next race was the Queens Park Road Relay. Dr. Challoners were determined to beat us having failed to win any of the big races so far that winter. Jim Moseley gave us a two second lead on them after two legs and they were were never more than a few seconds behind us for the final two legs but we won our final trophy for the season. The Alleynes Relay was the final big race of the season but, as it attracted some schools from the Midlands, we only managed 5th place. At the end of the season, the Harrow Observer came and photographed the senior team with our five trophies in front of the School entrance.  Photograph

Because pupils now stayed at their middle schools for an extra year, we had no first year intake in 1974. Our youngsters won the 2nd and 4th year Harrow Schools Leagues. Andy Deighton won the first two of the four 2nd year races and Jeremy Newell the last 3rd year race. The 4th years were fairly lethargic. Six of them managed to finish last equal in a match against St. Nicholas. In the St. Nicholas Relay, Mike Lepps actually turned round to me as I shouted him on, saying "You b***ard Orme, making me do this race". 27 years later, he still competes regularly!

1974/75 Captain: Dennis Orme
Colours: Ian Barnfather, Mike Baron, Chris Finill, Colin Greatrex, Mike Lepps, Dennis Orme, Phil O'Brien, Mark Cursons, Andy Deighton, Jeff Deighton, Steve Hextall, Jon Mortimer, Jeremy Newell, Stuart Penny.

Having lost several key athletes from the previous season, the seniors were more dependent on Phil O'Brien and myself. Phil was often winning races or running fastest laps and I was not far behind. We opened with bronze medals in the RGS Guildford and RGS High Wycombe relays. However, we failed to win back the Randall Trophy finishing 3rd and Phil was just beaten for fastest lap. A second place followed in the Kerton Relay a few days later followed by more silver medals in the Highgate Harriers race, which Phil O'Brien won ahead of local favourite Mike O'Reilly. The local Hampstead press described that as a "heart rending deprivation of a major triumph"!

We returned after Xmas to the Knole Run which Phil won and I finished 3rd but once again were outside the team medals. Our first win came in the Dr. Challoners Relay where we beat the hosts when I put in a devastating kick in sight of the finish. Triumph turned to tragedy a few days later when Phil went down with flu and we went without him to the King Henry VIII Relay. Dr. Challoners won and were back in 13th. Ian Barnfather remembers the race well because he was overtaken by Sebastian Coe on the final leg. We were narrowly beaten by Raynes Park in the Ranelagh Harriers Race, I scored a rare win over Phil when I took 3rd place. The Harrow Schools Champs turned out to be a higher standard than the previous year and we only had four in the first eleven. Mike Baron won the intermediate race and the Deighton twins were 3rd and 4th in the junior race. Dr. Challoners turned the tables on us in the Haberdashers Relay where we ended up with the silver medals and Phil O'Brien was beaten for fastest lap by Wednesfield's Steve Kendall who nobody had noticed lower down the field. Phil O'Brien won the Middlesex Schools and won selection for the English Schools along with myself. We turned out for the Merchant Taylors Race the following day and were just one point away from the medals. A second consecutive victory followed in the Middlesex Schools with Phil winning the race by 30 seconds.

Harrow County's final major senior race was the Alleynes Relay at Stevenage on Wednesday March 12th. We gradually caught up King Henry VIII on the last three legs and I put in my finishing kick to overtake them less than half a mile from the finish and so the School went out with a winner. The juniors had their final race the following Tuesday in the St. Nicholas Trophy but on a miserable muddy and snow covered course finished last out of seven teams. The actual final last match was the next day during games period when the senior "B" team just beat St. Albans Grammar over the senior hill course.

Phil O'Brien and me competed in the English Schools in Derby but neither of us ran particularly well. On the way back the coach stopped off at Watford Gap services. Rather than join the long queue in the café, Phil, me and a Vyner's runner slipped off to a nearby pub for a swift pint, only to return to the coach for a ticking off from the team manager.

Photograph of 1974/5 team

Other memories of the CCC:

bulletMike Green's old white clapped out mini. Typically for a geography teacher, he struggled to find his way past the school gate and I navigated the school minibus to the away matches.
bulletMy band of "cronies", like Keith MacDonald and "Chopper" Taylor who marshalled the course at home fixtures. Some of them were just in the cross country option for a "skive".
bulletRoger Kraushaar invited Phil and myself to St. Nicholas's training camp in Snowdonia. We were allowed to go to the pub with Roger but the St. Nichs sixth formers weren't. One of their fourth years obtained a half bottle of whiskey and drank it all, much to Roger's annoyance. We walked up and down Snowdon, mostly in less than 50 yards visibility.
bulletWe were always searching for new routes to train round from school and must have gone into every nook and cranny on Harrow Hill and the surrounding area. Imagine our delight when we found our way through a hedge on the south west side of Harrow School Farm to find a large field we had never seen before. Clementine Churchill Hospital now occupies the site.
bulletTaking lessons off to watch the juniors compete. Something I doubt I would be allowed to do now.

After 1975

From the CCC's point of view, very little seemed to have changed apart from the school's name when those athletes still left returned in September 1975 and it continuing entering events on the schools' circuit. However, the sixth form was living on borrowed time and from 1976 onwards pupils had to transfer to the sixth form colleges. The Gayton team did not repeat the achievements of the early seventies but Andy and Jeff Deighton, Mark Cursons and Stuart Penny formed the nucleus of a strong squad at Harrow Weald Sixth Form College a couple of years later. Andy finished 10th in the English Schools in 1979, the best by a Harrow County athlete four years after the School's demise. Gayton High did not produce the number and quality of athletes that Harrow County had with one or two exceptions, for example Barry Hancock who won the Middlesex under 13 Championships.

Most of the cross country runners and many of the athletes from the last few years of HCS joined the Old Gaytonians Athletic Club. By the seventies, the Old Boys circuit that had existed had disappeared and we mainly had to compete against open clubs. The track and field team managed to reach Southern League Division 1 by 1977, which meant that an Old Boys club attached to a single school had beaten clubs from a number of large towns. We took the decision quite early on after the School's closure to start letting non HCS athletes join the club. To start with this was mainly people we knew from St. Nich's, Haberdashers and Harrow Weald College but by the early eighties we were letting anybody join. By the mid eighties we were in the British League, we made the National Young Athletes League final every year from 1973 onwards and were instrumental in forming the National Junior (under 20) League in 1989, which we won in the inaugural year.

Of the athletes, Phil O'Brien competed in the World Cross Country Championships in 1983 and was 6th in the 1986 Commonwealth Games marathon. Jim Moseley made the 800m his top event and competed in televised meetings several times in the early eighties.

The old boys are very much in the minority in Harrow AC now. The sprinters and field events athletes compete very rarely now, one notable exception being Phil Parry who was at Gayton High in the early eighties, ranked in the top ten at the javelin in the UK for several years and still competes to a reasonably good standard. However, a number of the middle distance runners compete regularly and there can be up to half a dozen at a match. The old boys are still prominent on the club committee and there is rarely a match where an old boy is not either competing, officiating or spectating.

Odd HCS old boys, who never had anything to do with the OGAC, have turned up competing now and again. One notable was Adrian Higgs who took up marathon running, competed abroad in the event, and came back several times from his new home in Cheltenham to take part in the Harrow Marathon.

Of the teachers, Charles Crinson passed away in the late eighties. Phil Clarke went to teach at Kingswood School in Bath. Mike Green stayed at Gayton High until quite recently but now teaches part time at Latymer Upper. Under our influence, he took up running more seriously and competed to quite a high level, especially as a veteran (over 40). He took part in the World Veterans Champs, was first veteran in the Great North Run one year and still holds the Harrow AC 10,000m record. Dr Bob Miles, who helped out in games lessons and sometimes drove us to matches in the later years, went to teach at Leeds Grammar and afterwards went to do research in the physics department at Leeds University.

 I mentioned that the Old Boys circuit had died out in athletics. There is one last event that "Harrow County" still competes in. Every December Thames Hare & Hounds host an "old boys" race round Wimbledon Common and we are one of twenty or so teams that compete. We are the only state school to compete regularly in the event. Recently they introduced a veterans team category which is fortunate for us as the last of the HCS generation are rapidly approaching or have passed the 40 year old mark, and we finished 3rd in that category in 2000. So the name of the School will be seen in results for a few more years yet.

Dennis Orme

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