SAL Div 1 Match 1, Peterborough, Saturday April 29th 2018

Southern Athletics League Division 1

Peterborough, Saturday 28th April 2018

Report by Rose O’Brien and Arne Dumez

Our first match of the season kicked off in a rather northern fixture for the “southern” league where we faced off against reigning champions Nene Valley Harriers at their home ground and fierce competitors Bracknell AC and Colchester.


The day kicked of with the ladies 400m hurdles were Rose O’Brien and Helen Brown trotted around to bag a couple of points for the team. The men then put on a fine display with Sam Shore and Mike Burslem taking the double win in the A and B race respectively. It was then onto the sprints with Bob’s crew of Emma Watkins and Cynthia Kesington for the ladies and Eamon Jenkins and Mike Burslem for the men putting in a fine effort in the 100m. The 400m saw a brilliant run from Belgrave debutante Chyna Russell as she battled to second in one of her first 400m races whilst Monique Krefting took the win in the B race. This was followed up by a strong run from Gareth Holden in the men’s race where he was joined by Conor O’Rourke. The hurdles was up next with a double victory from the ladies with Jodie Albrow taking out the A race in convincing fashion and Rose O’Brien trundling to victory in the B race. Mike Burslem then stepped up for the men in the 110m hurdles as he added more points to the pot for the team. The individual sprints then capped off with a victory for Chyna Russell in the ladies 200m A race as she outdipped the Bracknell AC athlete who beat her in the 400m, with Cynthia Kesington putting in a brave run in the B race. With tired legs from the 400m Eamon Jenkins and Conor O’Rourke rallied to put down a couple of solid runs to get a few more points for the team. The day then ended with some hotly contested relays with the men finishing third in both the 4×100 and 4×400 and the ladies pipped to fourth in the 4×100 and finishing third in the 4×400.


Neville hitting the front hard

The endurance contingent started their contribution to the Belgrave resistance with the 800m. On the women’s side, Saron Haileselase spiced up her race with her best Mo Farah impression; a dramatic fall halfway through the first lap saw her recover to a second place finish in 2:20. Fiona, still holding on to some residual tan from her warm weather training camp, dutifully filled the team’s B spot with half an eye on her upcoming 1500m. As for the men, Neville Harris launched his outdoor season with a gutsy bit of front running in a fast race which saw half of the field dip under the 2min mark – he went home with an encouraging 1:59.3 on a cold, windy April day. The B race saw Rob put down a masterclass in gritting teeth as he punched his way across the home straight for a promising 2:11.5.

Sophie chasing an even pace. The rest chasing her.

Next up was the women’s 3000m where Sophie Harris and Emma Howsham lined up for seven and a half laps around the oval office. A lead pack of three quickly broke away from the chasers, but the other two would have been hard pressed to keep up with Sophie’s pacing exercise. As the field was stretched to a thinner and thinner line, Sophie lined up a more-than-convincing win in 9:42 – looking great ahead of her upcoming 5000m attempts. Emma marked her return to the track with a solid 11:41 and is already looking forward to seeing another start line soon.

Charlie could then admire four of his stallions tackle the 5000m. Spearheading the charge was Matt Welsh – already gagging for his post-race oats – stalked by Paskar Owor’s usual swagger. While the Lion eventually out-kicked Colchester’s Ramadan Osman for the win, Matt conquered the B race in a PB of 15:35. Closely behind, Stephen Gardner set himself up for a 27s PB as the next chapter in his incredible comeback story. His pen ran dry at the autograph signing, the tabloids report. His 16:33 clocking snatched him a tasty 4th spot in a stellar field. Closing the Belgrave ranks was Ross Finlay who picked off one of the day’s more brazen competitors on his way to the grave. However, Quadzilla’s undertaking just missed sub-17 pace which only ignited his motivation for the rest of the season.

Matt, Stephen and Ross sitting on the PB train – choo choo!

Saron and Fi returned to the track for the 1500m. Hellbent on avoiding the fall this time around, Saron occupied a cautious second place from the start. Unfortunately, despite Simon’s encouragements Bracknell’s Rachel McClay was harder to dominate in the final 300m than Saron had anticipated. Her day ended on a 4:46 clocking with a double silver. In a rare sighting, Fi gritted her teeth through almost double her usual distance. We desperately needed the points and her efforts do not go unappreciated!

Saron pre and/or post-fall
Charlie keeping watch – gotta time that burn-up just right!

After a winter of serious hill work in Battersea Park, Andy Fyfe and Scott Mills prepared to moan about the home straight’s fierce elevation in the 1500m. In usual Kipfyfe style, Andy flew to the front at the pop of the gun, dragging in his wake the fierce few who dared to follow him. Hitting even 64s laps, he stormed to a 4:02 solo effort while Scott raced his undershorts to a 4:42 – only missing his PB by two seconds! Give the pair a few more weeks to properly sharpen up and they’ll be etching new digits on their powerof10 profiles in no time.

Whilst there were no representatives for the men in the steeplechase the ladies turnout was far better with Helen Brown and Leanne Bettis each taking third place in the A and B race respectively.

Out in the field…

After a poor turnout in the men’s jumps last season we were hopeful the winter would bring some new talent to our squad but the teamsheet was once again bare in the lead up to the match. Fortunately, the return of multi-eventer Pete Mayfield from a long injury layoff provided some respite and much needed points in the high jump, long jump and pole vault. Gareth Holden yet again proved extremely useful in the triple jump with a brilliant second place leap in the A string whilst Mike Burslem was easily coerced mid-cup-of-tea to put in a jump in the B string for some last gasp points. The ladies team saw a welcome return to Jodie Albrow  Ayse Hussein in the long jump, whilst stalwarts Mia Callenberg and Helen Brown put in a solid show in the triple jump. The high jump saw a last-minute switch with Sian Harry stepping up for an injured Monique to bag a win in the B string with Jodie Albrow representing in the A.

The throws team was once again beautifully led by Chris Privett as he rallied his training group as always. Chris and Pete Mayfield took care of the majority of the throws for the men’s team with a string of second places in the shot put and discus. They then divided and conquered with the accompaniment of Bob Bridges in the hammer throw and Sam Shore in the javelin. Meanwhile the ladies team saw Chris’ Crew of Mia Callenburg, Leanne Bettis and Marieke Meelen team up with Jodie Albrow to fill the throws spots with a notable win from Mia in the Discus and a double victory for Jodie and Marieke in the javelin.

Thank You

Yet again our wonderfull official stepped up to the plate to ensure the day ran smoothly. A big thank you as always to Tony and Gillian Fairclough, Charlie Dickinson, Bob Bridges, Laura Reilly, Helen Buckley, Richard McMillan and Arne Dumez for all of your help on the day.

Overall it was a cold and blustery day out but a brilliant show of team spirit as always. Despite our best efforts, too many gaps once again proved our undoing and we had to settle for last place to kick of our 2018 campaign. Not all was lost though, as our current overall points standing was a lot healthier than other clubs in the same position, which proves crucial each year. With our next match at Battersea on Sunday 20th May we hope to secure a victory so please put it in the diary!