UKWAL Match 3 Report – Lee Valley

UK Women’s League – Match 3 Lee Valley

Sunday 5th August, 2018

Report by Jojo Rhodes

What a brilliant final match performance by all, to finish second on the day.

Hot and humid conditions greeted the athletes for the final match in this popular league. Bob and Jodie did a fine job of filling the team-sheet in the weeks leading up to the event (in fact only the pole-vault remained unfilled).  It was a very successful team effort and the Belles finished in 2nd place – our best match result in several seasons! To put things in context Belgrave were ahead of Nene Valley who have gained promotion to Division Two for next year. It really shows the potential and promise of this team when we get enough people out on the day!


Mia Callenberg teamed up with Helen Buckley to tackle the Shot Putt – both came away with 3rd place points in their A & B strings respectively. Mia gained really strong points with a 2nd in the (A) Discus, whilst Leanne Bettis took a fine win in the (B) string. Rachel Basford continued her return to form with a Season Best in the (A) Hammer, with Leanne providing solid back-up in the (B) – both girls took 5th place for the team. Jodie Albrow was reliable as ever in the (A) Javelin with a 3rd place, and Leanne completed her hat-trick of throws with a handy 2nd place in the (B).


Rose O’ Brien took 3rd place in the (B) High Jump in a PB equalling performance. Helen Buckley was a little off her best but added to the team score nevertheless with a 6th place in the (A). In the Long Jump it was 3rd spot and a Season Best for Helen Buckley in the (B), and Jodie came in 5th (A), not far off her own season best. Over in the Triple Jump Mia took a brief break from the throwing circle to secure 4th (A) while her team-mate Helen Brown grabbed a useful 3rd (B).


In her first season competing in this league Cynthia Kesington raced over the (A) 100 and 200; in windy conditions she came away with a 6 and 7th place respectively. More at home over the 100 hurdles Laura Reilly tackled the flat race this time and took 6th in the (B) 100. In the (B) 200 it was over to Nina Anderson – only a tenth away from the winner, she picked up high points with a 2nd place. Ula Cartwright-Finch raced to a strong 3rd in the 400 (A) – seemingly unaffected by the wind it was a new PB! A rather nervous Rachel lined up for the (B) 400 –  in her first 400 for a few years she was competitive throughout and came home in 6th.  Lovely to see her back!

Jodie and Rose teamed up for the 100 hurdles – safely tackling the barriers they were 4th and 5th respectively in the (A) and (B). Rose started her busy day of competing with a run out over the (A) 400 hurdles – she took 4th place in a Season Best. In the (B) race Laura set a new PB and gained valuable points for the team tally with 2nd place.

Middle Distance/Relays

Saron Haileselase has been in fine form in training of late and it showed! She lowered her PB by over 3 seconds to take 2nd place in the (A) 1500. Katie-Ellen French matched her with 2nd place in the (B) 1500m and set a big PB over 800 earlier in the day to take 3rd place (A). Impressive running! Helen Brown nobly stepped up to run in the (B) 800 at the last minute and took 6th place for the team. All good preparation for her 2k steeplechase later in the day – a strong 3rd place showing here.

The very hot conditions were less than ideal as a rather rueful Emma Howsham and Jojo Rhodes lined up for the 3000m, but it was a solid performance from Emma to take 4th in the (A) and another step on her campaign to break 11 minutes. Jojo was quite a way off her season best but took 4th place points in the (B) –  (distracted perhaps by the prospect of her upcoming trip to the Berlin Olympic stadium!)

In the relays it was 5th place for the Belles quartet of Laura, Mia, Jodie and Rachel in the 4×100, before a wonderful win in the 4×400 by Ula, Laura, Jodie and Saron. Brilliant!

Many thanks to our lovely team manager Bob Bridges – he never loses belief in the Belles and does an unrelenting job of officiating on the day; Charlie Dickinson, Carl Lawton Gillian & Tony Fairclough……..and to the friends and family who came out to support on the day and throughout the season 🙂

We finished the season in 5th place in the division, with the same league points as the 4th team, but with fewer match points. With Milton Keynes and Bedford being relegated from Division 2 into our division for next year, hopefully we will not have too far to travel. So going by our brilliant performance at Lee Valley, we have a very realistic chance of promotion, if we can get the same level of turn out for all three matches as for this one.