SAL Division 1, Match 5 – Dartford
Saturday 18th August 2018
It was a beautiful day out at the blue track of Dartford as the small but consistent team of Belgrave athletes set out to finish our season on a high. Weary bodies but smiling faces united to fill all but 3 spots on the team sheet as we went up against Dartford Harriers, Crawley AC and City of Norwich AC in our final match of the season.
Abi Ekoku and Pete Mayfield partnered up for the majority of the day as they took on the shot put, discus and javelin together with a couple of notable second places in the shot put and a win for Abi in the discus. Pete then joined forces with Chris Privett for the hammer throw which saw Pete take the win in the B string and a solid second place for Chris in the A.
The ladies team was once again indebted to the services of Mia Callenberg as she partnered up with a range of athletes across the day. First off was hammer throw were she was joined by Rachel Basford who managed a win in the B with Mia second in the A. Then onto the shot put with Jodie Albrow joining in the fray to take a win in the B with Mia second in the A. Finally the discus saw Ellen Hunter tap in to throw for a third place finish in the B with Mia again taking second in the A. The javelin saw Jodie Albrow and Rose O’Brien unite with Jodie throwing consistently to take second in the A and Rose grabbing a couple of points in the B.
It was another rescue mission from Mike Burslem and Matt Threadgold for the high jump, long jump and pole vault, whilst Gareth Holden was the only elective athlete to compete in the triple jump where he was supported by Matt who filled in the B string slot.
Meanwhile the ladies fared a bit better in sharing the load across the team with Jodie Albrow and Milla McKenzie putting in a brilliant effort in the long jump with Jodie back to 5m where she belongs. Mia Callenberg and Ellen Hunter took on the pole vault in between hammer throws and Helen Brown and Rose O’Brien paired up in the triple jump to get some more points. The day of jumps was rounded out with Milla McKenzie jumping a season’s best of 1.55 with the support of Rose O’Brien in the B string.
Sprints and hurdles.
The track day kick-started off as always with the 400 hurdles which saw Sam Shore again take the win to go undefeated across this event at the 5 SAL matches. Mike Burslem was almost 10 seconds ahead of the field in the B race as he followed up with another win for Belgrave. The men’s 400 saw Gareth “bug bite” Holden who had is energy reserves pillaged twice in as many weeks from the fauna at Battersea Park put in a brave effort in the men’s A race. The B race then saw Richard McMillan come to the rescue to ensure the race was filled and points kept on the board. The men’s sprints team have been left wanting with gaps throughout the season, and it was no different for this match. Mike Burslem yet again put his hand up to help out in the 100 B race whilst Matt Threadgold volunteered for the 100 and 200 A string despite not having done any sprints training for the better part of 18 months. Richard McMillan also fulfilled the request for a 200 B string runner as he stepped up to round out his day of duties with a solid run. The 110 hurdles had Sam and Mike on their toes with the Crawley athletes storming through to leave our boys in a very respectable second place in both A and B.
The ladies day started off with a second place for Rose O’Brien and third place for Helen Brown in the 400 hurdles. This was followed by competitive runs from Cynthia Kesington and Milla McKenzie in the 100 sprint. Then onto the 400m with two excellent runs from Nina Anderson and Katie-Ellen French in their outside lane draws that saw both ladies take the win in the A and B races respectively. The sprint hurdles saw Jodie Albrow run in a tightly contested A race where she pushed all the way whilst Rose O’Brien was able to amble at the back in a far less stressful fashion with her one-on-one battle against a “fresh-from-the-3k” Crawley athlete. The 200 rounded out the sprints in the afternoon with Nina Anderson putting in a gutsy effort all the way to the line in the A race with Cynthia Kesington putting in a brilliant run in the B race.
The 800 was the first flat track event for the day which saw Neville Harris and Paskar Owor separated out for their races with the 6 lane track in play. It was a clinical run from Neville as he tore away from the field in the A race to win comfortably. It was a rare experience for Paskar in the B race as he was seemingly outfoxed by the Norwich athlete who had a similar game plan as he did for their race. Both men ambled casually around the first lap before the Norwich athlete managed to sprint away from 150 to go in “Paskar fashion” to take the win from Belgrave with Scott Mills and Robel Fesoom running well as non-scorers. Paskar did however get his revenge on the Norwich athlete in the 5000 as he and Konstantinous Touse ran a brilliantly paced race to finish well ahead of the field with Konstantinous winning the A race and Paskar the B race. The 1500 then saw Steve Gardner run a brilliant race to cut a cool 10 seconds off his PB to come second in the A race whilst Neville Harris battled it out to take the win in the B and Robel Fesoom running solidly as a non-scorer. Unfortunately we had no takers for the steeplechase which has been a tough spot to plug this summer, but hopefully a muddy cross country season will put some things into perspective and the track and water jump won’t look so bad!
Our ladies team had a very successful day as the Charlie’s Runner stable took a string of victories across the middle distance. First off was the 800 with Kate-Ellen French running a gutsy even split race to knock off a SB and take second with Saron Halieselase holding on for a B string win despite cramping up on the second lap. It was then onto the 3000 with Kelley Haniver and Emma Howsham running a very measured race as the Norwich athletes went for it in the opening half before the ladies reeled them back in and then finished well ahead with Kelly winning the A race and Emma gaining a PB and victory in the B race. With a quick spot of sports massage in the legs Saron managed to regain her composure as she cruised to victory in the 1500 with Kelley Haniver volunteering to “run for some points” in the B race after her 3000 victory and duly came away with the win. Perhaps she meant maximum instead of some? The steeplechase then rounded out the day with Helen Brown returning for a solid run in the A race.
The ladies were able to pull together two brilliant teams for our final relays for the season with Mia Callenberg, Rose O’Brien, Emma Watkins and Cynthia Kesington putting in a solid effort in the 4×100 to finish fourth. The 4×400 then saw Rose O’Brien, Katie-Ellen French, Emma Howsham and Saron Haileselase run a nail biting race with the ladies handing over in the lead the whole way despite some too and fro down the back straight to take the win.
The men’s team saw one change from the 4×100 and 4×400 teams with Sam Shore, Gareth Holden and Mike Burslem acting as the core crew. They were joined by Matt Threadgold in the 4×100 with the boys running well to take second place. Then Neville Harris switched in for the 4×400 as the boys ran a tight race throughout with the lead changing multiple times with the home team of Dartford who saved their secret weapon until the final leg and narrowly pushed the boys to second place.
It was a brilliant day across the board with everyone chipping in and supporting each other throughout the day. In the end we were pipped to third place by one point behind Norwich with a strong Crawley team taking the win as they were fighting to avoid relegation with the hosts Dartford in last place. Our final table position for the league was 10th which was one up from our 11th place finish in 2017 but still a few places short of our best division one finish of 7th in 2016.
A note from the TM
A massive thank you as always to our wonderful officials who we would not be able to compete without their efforts – Tony and Gillian Fairclough, Charlie Dickinson, Bob Bridges, Carl Lawton, Richard McMillan, Emma Watkins and the support crew of Bill Laws and Alan Black. Also to the family and friends who consistently come out and cheer us on at all of the matches, your support is greatly appreciated.
Yet again it has been a great season of competition and enjoyment of athletics and Belgrave team spirit. We look forward to 2019 with high hopes of strengthening the depth of our squad and pushing for some silverware to bring home. The club is also looking for a team manager for next season as Rose O’Brien is stepping down so if there is any interest please let us know.