UK WOMEN’S LEAGUE – Match 1 Wigan 7th May

UK WOMEN’S LEAGUE – Match 1/3

Wigan 7th May

Report by Josephine Rhodes

After a week spent wondering where spring had disappeared to it was a nice surprise to be greeted in Wigan by bright sunshine and warm conditions for the opening UKWAL match.

High wind readings for the sprints did not stop new member Laura Reilly from running very close to her PB in the (A) 100m. She followed this up with an impresssive and technically fluent 100 hurdles to take second place (A). The race for first went all the way down to the wire and Laura was duly rewarded with a PB! Electra Lanyon was the youngest member of our contingent and seemed undaunted by the step-up to Senior competition. More suited to competing over 400 and 200 she lined up for the (B) 100 and came away with a solid performance in 6th; a sub-13 second run surely beckons. In the (B) 200 she maintained her form and finished in 3rd. Quite a debut from this pair!

Nina Anderson is in fighting form after a strong winter’s training and a recent stint of warm weather conditioning. First up for her was the (A) 400 – after a lonely start out in lane 8 she stuck to her task, finishing in 3rd place in a pleasing season’s best. In the (B) 200 Nina chased hard and was rewarded with a second SB in 6th. Rose O’Brien completed the 400 double act in the B race; she coped equally well with the unhelpful lane draw and secured 3rd place. A recent spell of warm weather training in Portugal paid off handsomely – this was her quickest opener in recent times. Fi Maddocks was our sole representative in the 800, and despite pre-race nerves she kept her form on the second lap for a solid time in 6th. It was great to see Fi back in shape after a torrid period with injuries; she can expect to see her time tumbling down as the season progresses. Jojo Rhodes opened her track campaign in the 3000m. Taking confidence from recent sessions she ran a cagey first 2k, keeping something in reserve for the closing laps, coming in 4th. After a disrupted winter she is hoping for a successful season of racing. Helen Brown made the long journey North from Kent to join the field for her favoured 2k steeplechase. She came in 4th to add to our points tally from the track events.

Out in the field one of 5 debutantes for the Belles, Helen Buckley, was busy competitng in every corner of the stadium! She was delighted with her 3rd place (A) High Jump performance and then secured 4th in the (A) Triple Jump in her maiden attempt at the discipline.Then it was time to head over to the Shot Putt circle – another solid points score in 3rd (B). Nicely done! Fellow training partner Mia Callenberg had also signed up for a “triple bill”, opening with 6th in the (A) Hammer, followed by a very solid 4th in the (A) Discus. At the end of a long day she was happy with her 6th place (A) Shot Putt effort. Another Belle who spent practically the entire day out in the sun on the throwing field was Leanne Bettis. She was rewarded for her efforts with a win in the (B) Discus, and backed this up with two third places in the (B) Hammer and Javelin. Well Done! – our highest scorer of the day. Marieke Meelan was really happy to be competing again after a lengthy spell away from athletics playing handball. She was 6th in the (A) Javelin – we look forward to seeing her throw in many future matches.

L-R: Electra Lanyon, Nina Anderson and Rose O’Brien discuss 4×4 relay tactics.

Finally it was time for the relays. An unfortunate mishap with the baton meant the 4×100 girls came home in 6th, but there was plenty of evidence on show that this quartet is a force to be reckoned with. Next time……

Over to the 4×400 – what a race! Laura ran a composed opener to keep us firmly in the running, handing over to Nina who used all her wiles to stay within touching distance of Herne Hill. Electra took up the chase – her tactics were spot on; a big burst of speed with 200m to go enabled Rose to set off with a 3 second gap over our London rivals….would it be enough? Rose loves a challenge and by half-way she was away and gone, bringing us home in a clear 3rd place. A wonderful team effort!

Thank you to Bob Bridges for his support on the day and the huge amount of effort he put into organizing the team beforehand, not to mention his officiating duties. A very enjoyable day of athletics and a highly motivated team – can’t wait for the next match in June!