Senior Men`s B Team, Midland League Div 4, 7th May

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I`m sad to say that the B team did not fare well on Saturday but not through the lack of trying by those who turned out for the team. It was, sadly, a case of all hands to the pumps. Now, in running terms, nobody could ever accuse me of being fast. In fact, I`m so slow I make paint drying seem pretty quick but I`m always willing to lend a hand, to take part and do my bit. Even if it means coming last. You get a point for last and you never know how important that single point may be at the end of the season. That one point may make the difference between staying in the division and being relegated.

And so it was on to Saturday…

With only eight in the team we were always up against it but the point is, everyone tried their best. Everyone did more than they should be expected to do. We all went beyond the call of duty. So, onto the events themselves.

We didn`t managed to field any pole vaulters or high jumpers. We didn`t have any specialist long jumpers or triple jumpers either but the mighty Rick Wallis, Team Manager and Pete Skinner gave it a go and scraped a point or two. The Hammer, Discus and Shot Putt were the domain of Bill Kingston and Murray Grant. Giving us a much needed points boost. The highlight being their 2nd (Bill) and 4th (Murray) in the Discus. Rick, though injured, also lobbed the javelin. I`ll have to have a go at the Javelin next time to fill the B string. I`ve never thrown one before but it couldn`t be any worse than my Shot Putt. So, that was the field events covered.

Now for the track and we had a grand total of five fit athletes, and I use that term `athlete` loosely in reference to myself. Sadly, no one was brave enough to try the hurdles and I had no wish to be singing soprano. Steve Spiers ran the 200m with Adam Smith and picked up valuable points. Rob Holbrow and Pete both ran well in the 800m achieving 3rd and 4th respectively. Adam and Rob then returned for 400m and gave us our best combined event score of the day, 3rd and 1st. Next up was the 2000m Steeple Chase where I chipped in with a point for last place. Now the Steeple Chase is an event where it`s less a case of what position I finish but more whether I finish at all! Each successful clearance of the water jump leads me to a small sigh of relief. Without much time for rest it was off to the 1500m where Pete and I picked up another few points and I actually managed not to come last, claiming a miraculous 6th place and a PB.

Then it was off for a rest and to watch Adam and Steve in the 100m. As I stood waiting, I spoke to Steve and realised he wasn`t running. He`d picked up an injury after his 200m and wasn`t able to run. I asked who was taking the B string to which came the reply, no one. So, on went the vest for a PB which wasn`t surprising as this was the first and hopefully last time I will ever need to run the distance. My preferred distance, you see, is the half-marathon so there isn`t much call for me to run the 100m. Adam, however, had a good run securing more points for the team with his 3rd place.

It was then straight off to the other side of the track for me to compete in the 5000m. I ran for what seemed like forever and was lapped more times than I care to remember but by now I was feeling more than a little tired. It was not to be a fast one, even by my standards, finishing over two minutes down on my best. Never the less it was another point.

With only the relays left it was merely a case of last men standing to decide the team. With only four of us left it wasn`t really a difficult selection process. This was the first time I`ve ever been in line for a 4x100m relay spot. Adam and Rob were really good about it. I suspect they were a bit embarrassed about having such a donkey in the team but they never let it show. Suffice to say we managed a cracking last place in the 4x100m but not for the lack of trying. We all had a laugh and a joke about it before deciding we might as well go again in the 4x400m. Rob, running strongly again, brought the baton round in third place before I powered back to seventh. With my legs on the verge of collapse I managed to get the baton to Pete who gained ground on sixth place before handing over to Adam to run another great leg. With over 20m to make up it was just too much to ask. In the home straight he was so close but alas it was not to be. Still, we managed seventh which is better than not fielding a team.

We all had a good day out. Spirits were high in spite of the result. Now I know that there are loads of members out there who can run far faster then me and clock up far more points for the team but it`s no good reading this and thinking `I can run faster than that`. You need to get out there and prove it. You have your chance at the next three race meetings on 4th June, 2nd July and 6th August. So it`ll be great to see you all there.

At the end of the day we came last but it was a spirited last. We all knew at the start of the day we would probably be last due to lack of numbers but at least we all tried. No one can ask more than that. As someone might once have said, “It`s better to have run and lost than to have never run at all”.

Signing off, Dave `Speedy` Austin

Rick Wallis` Sporting Highlights:

Rob`s victory in the 400m B-string.
The combined might in the Short, ah-hem, Long Jump.
The Delay of the 4×100 to wait for Dave to finish the 5000m.
And not coming last in the 4×400 and beating Gloucester in the process.

Results:

100mAdam Smith12.9(3)Dave Austin14.5(8)
200mSteve Spiers24.1(6)Adam Smith24.2(3)
400mAdam Smith52.0(3)Rob Holbrow52.9(1)
800mRob Holbrow02:05.50(3)Pete Skinner02:27.50(4)
1500mPete Skinner05:01.20(4)Dave Austin05:20.60(6)
5000mDave Austin20:54.00(7)
110H
400H
2000SCDave Austin08:11.00(8)
4×100Adam, Rob, Dave, Pete53.4(8)
4×400Rob (53.2), Dave (70.0),03:57.60(7)
Pete (62.3), Adam (52.1)
L jumpRick Wallis3.17(8)Pete Skinner1.66(8)
T jump
H jump
Pole V
JavelinRick Wallis23.77(8)
DiscusBill Kingston30.92(2)Murray Grant22.02(4)
HammerMurray Grant26.07(6)Bill Kingston22.26(3)
ShotBill Kingston8.63(6)Dave Austin4.56(7)