UK Womens League – Match 1
Report by Jojo Rhodes
Bedford stadium was the first stop for the Belles on their 2018 UKWAL Tour. Unusually for this location the weather conditions were favourable with only a light breeze and Team Manager Bob Bridges had put together a very solid team made up of new members and experienced athletes.
Belgrave had three wins on the track including the final event of the day the 4×400 relay. The team was formed of our talented multi-eventers Jodie Albrow and Monique Krefting, and two of our newest sprinters Laura Reilly and Sian Harry. It proved to be the perfect recipe for success! A large winning margin over the rest of the field, and special mention goes to Sian for the fastest split.
Monique had already been enjoying a strong day in her individual events, most notably a clear win in the (A) 400. She was delighted with her time, which was just 3 hundreths off the British Masters record for her age group and mopped up more points in the (A) High Jump and (B) Shot. Another victory came in the (B) 800. Katie-Ellen put on a confident display over the 2 lap distance with a very strong final 300; after some time away from competition she had exceeded her own expectations. Later she lined up for the (A) 1500m and put together another calm and collected performance to take 2nd.
Fresh from a Hammer PB in the recent home match at Battersea, Mia Callenberg was satisfied with throwing over 40 metres again for 5th place in the (A). Marieke Meelen kept her company with 5th in the (B) Hammer before heading to her favourite event, the Javelin. Her best throw earned her a strong 3rd (B). Our javelin specialist Jodie showed no signs of early-season cobwebs and picked up good points in the (A) with a second place.
For Mia it was over to the (A) Shot and another 5th place. Earlier in the morning Mia and Marieke had chance to practice their double-act in the discus. Despite having to throw in the lonely cage outside the main stadium they took 2 (A) and 4(B) respectively.
The first track event of the day was the (A) 400H…..enter the ever reliable Jess Case. Despite a shortage of track sessions her hurdling technique proved to be sound and she put together a tidy run to pick up useful points. In the 100H she was joined in battle by Jodie. Despite a tumble in the final metres Jess secured 5th place (B) whilst Jodie was in full flow to take another 2nd (A). It’s wonderful to have her back competing in the League!
Sian is a welcome addition to the Belles this season. On the track she flew off the bend in the (A) 200 to take an assured 3rd place. Another athlete on the come-back trail this was a very promising League debut. Nina Anderson was kept busy with her favoured 400/200 double. Looking relaxed and composed in the (B) 400 it looked like a winning run until the Liverpool athlete snatched first place on the line. Undeterred Nina demonstrated that her recent warm-weather work has paid off with a strong showing in the (B) 200 to take second. Plenty more to come no doubt.
Laura Reilly and Emma Watkins teamed up to cover the 100m races and finished 7 (A) and 5 (B) respectively. They were re-united in the 4×100 relay where they were joined by Jodie and Mia. The baton was safely guided around for a respectable 4th place.
When she wasn’t sprinting Emma spent most of the day in the sand -pit, making use of her speed to collect more team points in the (A) triple jump and (B) long jump. Jodie took 6 in the (A) long jump to complete her full set of events.
Jojo Rhodes opened her track season in the (A) 3000m. Very happy to be back racing on the track she took some valuable pointers from the race and aims to run faster later in the season. Jurgita Levertavicu made her League debut in the same race and was delighted both with her time and to score points for the team in 4th (B). The cross-country training is paying off!
Another athlete making her debut for the Belles was Ula Cartwright-Finch. Running close to her PB she went sub-2:20 for 3rd in the (A) race in a strong field.
Belgrave finished 5th in the match, within touching distance of our familiar (friendly!) rivals Liverpool Harriers. Big thanks to Bob Bridges and Charlie Dickinson for their coaching and advice on the day – and a final mention to Jodie’s Mum who came out to support and found herself officiating in the field as well!