SAL Div 1 Match 4
Millenium Arena, Battersea Park, Saturday 14th July
Report by Arne Dumez and Rose O’Brien
It was a perfect day for the Belgrave team as we embarked on our second home match for the season with our sights set on a win that has eluded us so far this season. With a tough match ahead the 30 strong crew faced up against Thames Valley Harriers, Southampton and Milton Keynes for a day full of fun in the sun.
It was a bare bones team for the men as stalwart Pete Mayfield once again stepped up to cover off all of the throws with the assistance of Harvey King in the javelin and Matt Threadgold in the discus and hammer throw where he was coached to a brilliant win in the B string.
The ladies were spear headed once again by the brilliant Mia Callenberg as she battled the Milton Keynes ladies all day in the hammer, shot put and discus for a string of second places. The team was bolstered by the return of Rachel Basford who took a win in the B hammer whilst Helen Buckley had a successful day with wins in her shot put and javelin where she was joined in victory with Leanne Bettis taking a win in the B string javelin.
Gareth Holden, Mike Burslem, Richard Klein and Matt Threadgold rallied to fill all of the jumps for the men’s team with a season’s best for Gareth in the triple and a notable performance for Matt and Mike as they took on the pole vault with varied results but ultimately a couple of extra points for the team.
Mia Callenberg, Rachel Basford and Rose O’Brien kicked of the jumps for the ladies with Mia and Rachel taking on the pole vault and Rose and Rachel putting in a token jump in the long jump to ensure all gaps were filled. It was then onto the triple jump were Mia and Rose mixed it with the best to bag more points for the team before the day finished with the high jump duo of Helen Buckley of Milla Mackenzie pulling together for the team for more crucial points.
Sam Shore and Mike Burslem kicked of the day with another double victory in the 400m hurdles to kick start the men’s campaign on the track. The 100m and 200m saw Pierre Walker and Nick Barrett joined forces against a strong field of opposition, whilst Nicholas Hamilton and Kweku Siaw put in solid performances in the non-scoring races. Gareth Holden and Mike Burslem put in solid runs in the men’s 400m with Richard McMillan doing us proud in the non-scoring race before Mike joined up with Sam again in the high hurdles where they were pushed all the way by the TVH athletes.
Rose O’Brien and Laura Reilly started off the ladies day on the track in the 400m hurdles with a brave run from both before Laura partnered up with Cynthia Kesington in the 100m. It was then onto the 400m where Sian Harry put in a smashing run to win the A race with Jurgita Levertaviciute putting in a solid performance in the B race on her return from injury. Sian and Cynthia then joined forces in the 200m with both taking second place in the A and B races respectively. Meanwhile Milla Mackenzie and Rose raced their way across the sprint hurdles to add extra points to the overall tally.
The day finished on a high with the relays as the ladies team took victory in both the 4×100 (Sian, Cynthia, Laura and Mia) and 4×400 (Sian, Laura, Katie and Saron) whilst the boys ran a tight race in the 4×100 (Nick, Mike, Nicholas, Kweku) for third whilst the 4×400 team(Sam, Paskar, Neville and Gareth) lead all the way from the start to hold on and finish with a brilliant win over the other teams.
Saron Haileselase and Katie-Ellen French fired the opening salvo for the day’s distance events in the women’s 800m. Looking dominant from the gun, the Belles were on track for a 1-2 finish until Milton Keynes’ Abby Roskilly pipped Katie in the home straight but failed to deny us full points in the A and B race. With respective times of 2:15.73 and 2:18.15 the ladies brought home shiny new PBs too! On the men’s side, Neville Harris donned the A scorer bib alongside B runner Scott Mills who was making his first ever mark on the event. A quick race played right into Neville’s hand as he fought Thames Valley to the line to equal his season’s best in 1:57.46 for a third place. Scott ran a fast first lap and quickly met the lactic sniper in the final 200m to clock 2:20.80. Pleased with his first experience, we can definitely expect the rookie to make a more learned return over the two lap race. Non-scorer Robel Fesoom also made quite the impression as he elegantly strode to a 2:11.97 PB with Samory Kahin ending his tough second lap with a 2:23.12 result.
The Belles could rely on Samantha Amend to take on the 5000m A race with the support of new recruit Stephanie Hewitt. Her recent selection for her second Team GB for the 100km world championships and British 24hrs record brought Sam to the track with contagious confidence – albeit slightly battered legs – and she swiftly claimed the lead for the first two thirds of the race. Wendy Webber of Milton Keynes managed to slide to the front in the final few laps to take the 4 points leaving Sam to come home second in a strong 18:47. We believe she called it ‘speed work’. Stephanie put on her game face and slogged through every distance runner’s worst nightmare – a lonely, isolated 5000m solo time trial. Huge kudos to her for a well-earned 20:11 on a long, hot day in the office!
The men’s 3000m looked extremely promising as Paskar Owor and Stephen Gardner toed the start line with some fast lads. It took a whole minute before Steve launched himself to the front for a rock solid shift at the wheel. As the pace picked up in the final 1000m he felt the legs lament his early confidence but still insisted on being a part of the fast finish which saw the top 3 men finish between 09:01.12 and 09:01.69. Paskar – as per usual – stayed completely invisible, let himself get pulled to the final 100m and effortlessly wheezed to the win about 9s ahead of Steve who took home a huge PB in 9:10.90. That’s how you do it!
Aidan Grace and Matt Threadgold did a fantastic job covering the 3km steeplechase. Arne Dumez was supposed to take the A spot but had to pull out at the last minute with an unfortunately-timed back niggle… He pulled his back bending over to screw in a bike pedal, if you must know! With Aidan and Matt jumping on that grenade we managed to salvage crucial points. Team manager Rose O’Brien and Leanne Bettis also did a stand-up patch job in the 1500m steeplechase where Thames Valley unleashed a proper pocket rocket. Rose chased her home for a silver and 3 points with Leanne following her for a few more.
Then came the 1500m. Saron and Katie once again laced up their spikes for some fast laps and valiantly set themselves up for another round in the meat grinder. We could not have asked any more of them as they delivered exactly what we needed from them; points! Saron floated to another convincing win in a quick 4:41.58 with Katie a mere 4s behind and well clear of the other B runners. On the men’s side we saw Paskar resurface for the claret and gold accompanied by Alex Mills. Faced with Milton Keynes’ Sam Winters – who had won the 800m with fantastic speed earlier – Paskar’s 4:05.34 was not quite enough for a win but did get a lovely 3rd. On his end, Alex fought hard and ran a season’s best of 4:37.13; a clear sign of growing form ahead of the latter half of the season. Robel also resurfaced for the 1500m non-scoring race where he eased himself onto the top podium spot in 4:32.24.
A word from the TM
A massive thank you as always to our brilliant officials Tony, Gillian, Charlie, Bob, Richard, Don, Carl and John and our results team Aidan and Rachel. A massive thank you to Sian and Andrea for the unwavering help throughout the day and for keeping the officials hydrated. Also to our watergirls Sophie and Mhairi, team photographer Steve, Team management trio Bill, Alan and Tony and the Battersea Project cheer squad led by Matt and Andy willing everyone around the track throughout the day. To all of the team, it was a great day out and a brilliant effort from everyone to push all the way to a notable second place behind a strong Thames Valley team ensuring our safety for Division One in 2019.
Our final match is in Dartford on Saturday 18th August – let’s get everyone out and aim for a win to cap off the season.