Southern Athletics League – Division 1 – Match 3
Eton, Saturday 23rd June
It was a stunning day out at the track in Windsor & Eton as the 30 strong crew of athletes and officials heading out to try and claim a better finishing position to hoist up up the Division 1 table away from the relegation zone.
Coming into the match there where a lot of gaps in the team sheet with no jumpers yet again, however the sprints boys rallied together to plug all but one spot and ensure we had every chance of finishing near the top.
Pete Mayfield led the throws team with a notable win in the discus B strong, and he was accompanied by Harvey King for the javelin, Bob Bridges for the Hammer and Ali Prenn for the shot put and discus with the men all challenging the top throwers to add needed points to the tally.
The sprints and jumps saw a heroic effort from Bob Bridges squad with Mike Burslem, Adam Cameron, Gareth Holden and Richard McMillan all pitching in to make sure every spot was covered. Mike had a solid run in his preferred 400m hurdles race at the start of the day to finish second, whilst Gareth and Adam ran brilliantly in their 400m race with Adam shaving 1.09 seconds off his PB as he pushed Gareth all the way. Richard McMillan had two excellent runs in the 100 and 200 B races as he chipped in to ensure the team were not left hanging, he was joined by Mike in the 100 and a last minute volunteering from Adam for the 200. The boys also assembled throughout the day to divvy out the uncovered events including the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
Our middle distance team had a brilliant day out on the track with Neville Harris taking a storming front run win in the 800m with Paskar Owor taking out the B string. The 1500 was then another chance for Paskar to showcase his finely tuned race tactics as he sprinted in the last 25m to take the A win with newcomer Konstantinos Touse coming second in the B. The long slog of 5000m saw four Belgrave athletes grace the track with a second place for Konstantinos in the A race and a third for Alex Mills in the B whilst Steve Gardner – newly returned from injury, and Garret Lee – over for a fleeting visit from the states, both putting in fine runs. The beloved steeplechase was the last distance race of the day with Garret putting in a great run post 5000m race to finish third in the A race and add another couple of points to the pot.
Ali Prenn was a welcome addition to the team on his uni break from the states as he jumped in the high hurdles with Sam Shore to put in a memorable performance as the boys battled it out to the line with Sam taking the A win and Ali swerving to victory in the B race on the final hurdle. Sam also put in another solid run in his pet event the 400m hurdles as he cruised to victory in the A race. The relays were indicative of our overall finish for the day as the boys put in two great efforts to finish second behind the home team Winsdor in the 4×100 and 4×400.
Our ladies put in a great team effort this match to ensure all bar one spot was filled up on the team sheet.
Mia Callenberg, Leanne Bettis and Helen Buckley took care of the throws with the ladies showing their class as they battled against a strong home side throughout the course of the day. The jumps saw Emma Watkins pitch in for the long jump and triple jump where she was joined by Mia as they continued their brilliant efforts to ensure the ladies team was keeping apace. Emma was then coaxed into another stint at the high jump proving all that long jump training is readily transferable. She was joined by Rose O’Brien to ensure all spots were covered off.
Our middle distance team was spearheaded by Katie-Ellen French as she did the 800/1500 double with a second in the 800 and a brilliant win in the 1500. She was joined in the 1500 by Steph Hewitt making her SAL debut with a well run second in the B race. Then onto the 3000 with Jojo Rhodes and Maureen Noel putting in a great effort in the heat to add more points to the team total. The steeplechase saw Rose O’Brien and Helen Brown pair up again after their earlier efforts in the 400 hurdles to replicate their results with another two second place finishes.
The sprints were a shining light for the ladies team with Nina Anderson making her Belgrave SAL debut with a stunning dip-for-the-line win in the 400 and breaking the nine year old V45 British and European record for the event with a brilliant 57.88 – congratulations Nina! She was joined by Laura Reilly who on the comeback trail had a brilliant run to finish second in the B race, shortly after having run the 100 where she was joined by Emma Watkins. Laura then continued her day with a stint in the sprint hurdles were she and Rose completed another gap filler for the team. The 200 saw Nina back up with another solid run in the A race with Cynthia Kesington running an excellent bend to take second in the B race. The ladies rounded out their day with a great team effort in the relays finishing third in both.
We ended the day a comfortable second place behind the home team Windsor, Eton and Slough as we were finally rewarded for all of our efforts and proving that every point counts. After a mish mash of results elsewhere on the day we sadly do not make any change in our standing on the table as we remain in 12th place, however the overall match points score puts us in a strong position to jump up the table if we can force the win at our next match which is at HOME!
A big thank you to our ever faithful officials Tony and Gillian Fairclough, Carl Lawton, Bob Bridges and Don Anderson – and to our support squad on the day of Bill Laws, Alan Black, Lily, Sophie Harris, Matt Welsh and Mr & Mrs Lee; your efforts are greatly appreciated!