Report by Rachel Basford
It was a small but strong team that travelled south to Basingstoke for the final round of the 2019 UK Women’s League. Solid performances across the board assured Belgrave a worthy position in the competition for another year with a 5th place in the overall rankings. This was a firm reminder of the quality and depth of our women’s team and a glimpse into what we can achieve should we conquer the unenviable task of ‘getting everybody out’.
Mia Callenberg was undeniably the strongest performer of the day as she produced a series of excellent throws to achieve 3rd (A) in the hammer (36.21m), 2nd (A) in the discus (35.44m) and 2nd (A) in the shot put (10.77m); her achievements all the more impressive given the high standard of the women’s throws in this competition (the hammer throw was won in a divisional record). She wasn’t deterred by the long hours and often back-to-back events that are so commonplace in the throws in these leagues and her performances in the shot and discus were both within the top 10 ranked performances from all athletes across the day. She contributed a vital 22.5 points – including a leg of the 4x100m relay – and has been a consistently reliable asset to the team this season (and many, many seasons before it).
Monique Krefting impressed again as she stormed to an unchallenged victory in the
400m A race (59.05). She further added to her fine tally of 21 points for the team with 6th in a quick (A) 200m race (27.52) and a very useful 6th place in the (A) Javelin (18.22m). As the day progressed, she didn’t let a niggling achilles stop her from anchoring both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, elevating Belgrave from 3rd to 2nd with a courageous home straight in the latter.
Rachel Basford amassed 21.5 points for the team with performances including a victory in
the (B) hammer with 33.27m and 3rd in the (B) shot put (9.32m). A 6th place in the (B) discus (19.11m) was also useful as was her return to the 4x400m relay team after a 4-year injury-induced absence.
Emma Howsham backed up her recent breakthrough PB by running her second fastest time of 4.50.07 for 2nd (A) in the 1500m. Clearly that massive 4:48.7 in Bournemouth a few weeks ago was no fluke!
In recent years, we have -at times- found ourselves longing in the jumps, often relying on multi-eventers or moderately-willing volunteers. However, this time around Yasmin Henlon provided us with the solid performances in the jumps that we have been seeking for some time. She took the win in the (A) high jump with 1.51m and 2nd in the (A) triple jump with 10.39m. A leg of the 4 x 100m also contributed to her valuable points total of 18.5.
Orna McGinley’s performances in the 800m and 1500m were again proof of the huge strength and depth that we have in the middle-distance squad. She took 2nd in the 800m (A) with a big PB of 2.22.53 before doing exactly the same thing in the 1500m – another PB for 2nd place in the (B) 1500m with 4.56.47. In just under a month since the last UKWL, Orna has managed to lower her 800m and 1500m PBs by 3 and 9 seconds respectively and in doing so contributed a vital 14 points to the team total.
The strength and consistency of Laura Suggitt were again invaluable as she became Belgrave’s highest scorer of the day with an impressive total of 23 points as she ran a brave 400m (B) race for 2nd place in 61.44 and a 27.92 (B) 200m for 2nd place also. Her debut in the javelin was evidence of her ‘team player’ disposition and she achieved 4th (B) here with 12.42m. An athlete who epitomises the importance of running back-to-back hard races, she appeared completely unaffected by her earlier events as she produced a strong leg of the 4x100m relay and an excellent 60.0 clocking in the 4×400, edging ever-closer to that elusive sub 60.
Continuing an excellent season where she has raced consistently well over 800m as well as often holding together administrative matters for the team, Fiona Maddocks ran a strong 800m for 2nd (B) in 2.25.88. She also formed a valuable part of the 4x400m -as she has done throughout the season- running the opening leg at the end of a long day.
We were very fortunate to also have three specialists earning valuable points for the team and putting out strong performances. Amy Mat achieved 5th in the 100m (A) in 13.54. The addition of Amy to the team this season as a sprint specialist has been most welcome.
Mhari Hall fought her way through a tough 3000m to take 5th (A) in 10.45.2, just a second outside of her PB. She was accompanied by Jessica Lowe who demonstrated the value of sometimes abandoning the comfort zone to run a distance radically different to what we are accustomed to. The triathlete was rewarded with a brilliant 2nd place (B) in 11.23.9.
Overall, this match once again highlighted the importance of the UKWL and why we need to fight to maintain our rightful position as part of it. Despite only having 11 athletes, we amassed 161 points for 5th place and still managed to field a 4x400m team finishing in 2nd place. While we lacked numbers, we were certainly not short of quality. Thanks again for the unwavering support of Bob Bridges, Charlie Dickinson, Carl Lawton and Tony and Gillian Fairclough without whom our efforts would be unrecorded.
Girls: Put next year’s dates in your diaries early, remember how valuable your performances are to the team, even if you don’t feel you’re in your best form and – most importantly – stay healthy!
Top 10 Belgrave Performances by AW rankings
- Mia Callenburg Discus
- Mia Callenburg Shot
- Monique Krefting 400m
- Mia Callenburg Hammer
- Rachel Basford Shot
- Emma Howsham 1500m
- Yasmin Henlon High Jump
- Rachel Basford Hammer
- Orna McGinley 800m
- Laura Suggitt 400m
Highest Belgrave Points Scorers
- Laura Suggitt 23
- Mia Callenburg 22.5
- Rachel Basford 21.5
- Monique Krefting 21
- Yasmin Henlon 18.5
- Orna McGinley 14
- Fiona Maddocks 10.5
- Emma Howsham 7
Jessica Lowe 7
- Mhairi Hall 4
Amy Mat 4