‘CHRIS ELSON IS KING’: Mike Strange Celebrates a Great Team Success

CHRIS ELSON IS KING – B&W score a great victory to retain the Midland League title 

What a great day it was on Sunday, and what a great Team Manager Chris Elson has become. After the usual ‘poor’ first match in May we stormed back to take the Midland League title with a devastating surge in the final match. The journey to Nottingham was long and the start time was early but everyone was buoyant. One look at the Team Sheet told you that we were not going to be beaten and so we finished with a 44 point margin over ‘National League’ home club Nottingham to become ‘Champions’ again with a clear 2 point overall league advantage over runners up Notts AC. Chris’s magnificent efforts were applauded by the whole team on that happy and momentous trip back down the motorway, an appreciation well earned. 

Where do I start commenting on performances on a day when circa 15 pb’s were set? Chris has already touched on the in his summary of the day so when I repeat them here it is because they are worth repeating. The appearance of Emily Diamond and Tom Russell meant we had star quality and my lasting memory is Emily streaking down the straight to change a 10m deficit into a comfortable win for the 4x100m team. Then my memory is of Rubi Juan who won the Pole Vault ‘B’ string, rushed to the 400m Hurdles and ran a little more sensibly this time to create another pb 93.6 and then filled in with a pb in the Hammer. She was also ever nursing her delightful baby boy between events, what a contrast. Sean Hazell has been having a few health difficulties over the past few weeks and was confined to one event this week but as ever he delivered the goods with a very comfortable 3k Steeplechase victory. This mark is significant to me as we were short of any marks for 3k s/ch to enter for the British League Qualifier until now! Thanks Sean. As Chris noted Mike Wilsmore looked supreme but a few days prior to the match he was down and out with food poisoning. That is Team spirit isn’t it?

In the Men’s sprints all of which were into strong headwinds Leon Reid met some class sprinters but still managed to post a pb of 22.5 in the 200m. Scott Bajere virtually matched Leon to win the ‘B’ 100m and Geovaughan Burey stepped up to the plate to run a creditable 200m. Emily Diamond met stiff opposition in the sprints in the form of Birchfield’s Bernice Wilson and looked to be toying with her to just win the 200m but Bernice managed to gain revenge in the 100m in a dip finish. In the ‘B’ string young Valentina Santo-Fullerton (U17) showed maturity with two good 3rd placings showing that if she sticks to it we could have another sprint mainstay in the coming years. In the Men’s 400m hudles John Brierly was at last cleared to run by the Midland’s and how he made good with a 3 sec pb improvement to 57.7 secs. Alex Fields then followed suit with a pb in the ‘B’ string event. Yannick Budd was troubled by shin splints in his build up to the event and despite pausing at the wrong finish line (?) recorded a consistent 15.6 secs for 2nd place. In the women’s short hurdles our star to date, Samantha Moore was a team supporter on crutches so over the last 2 weeks Evie Tanner was hustled in to learn the senior event. How Evie responded with a 16.9 clocking that fitted all hurdles into a 3 stride pattern and indicated just how much talent this girl has. Evie also demonstrated her sprinting ability with a superb third leg of the 4x100m to get the team back with a chance for Emily to pull off that great relay victory.

Ruth Mitchell after a fine tussle to come 2nd in the 800m went on notch a superb 400m pb of 58.3 and ended with a 59.8 4×4 relay leg. Emma Reed, soon to return to the USA for studies and now into her heavy Cross Country training phase ably supported Ruth with good marks in each of those events. Emma also spoke optimistically about sister Kate returning to do battle next year. Alex Fields had already notched a pb in the 400m H when he came close to his best in the 400m and then Andrew Dean-Young showed a great return to form with a 50.7 clocking in the ‘B’ 400m. Andrew also won the ‘B’ 800m with a comfortable 1:59.2 timing to match Mike Wilsmore’s ‘A’ 1:53.5 win. Tom Russell was supreme with big wins in the 1500 and 3km with Harry Webb and Steve Fancis (on his track debut for us) maximising our points scores in the ‘B’ strings. On the women’s side we welcomed back International Katie Knowles to accompany Midland Champion Debbie Niccol in the 1500m events and they both carried off good 2nd placings, to stiff opposition from Stoke in the form of recent 2:01 800m performer Emma Jackson and Katie Holt, with close to pb 4:34.3 and 4:37.1 performances. Imogen Ainsworth was happy to fill in while she waited with a ‘B’ string second place in the Long Jump before scoring a very impressive win in the 3km over Tara Krzywicki with a time of 9:51.1 secs.

In the men’s Pole Vault we were blessed with the appearance an athlete who is re-emerging after a very successful Young Athlete career. Tony Hillier won the event with a magnificent 4.50 vault to beat off accomplished opposition. In the Triple Jump another of our talented youngsters stepped up to the senior ranks for the first time. James Diamond joined Leon in the Long Jump for good solid points before going out to 11.02 for 3rd in the ‘B’ Triple Jump. Nicola Breaks took 2nd in the Long Jump, 3rd in the Triple Jump, 3rd in the High Jump before taking a 2nd in the ‘B’ javelin to secure precious club points. What an asset Nicola has been since joining us? Another under 17 Alice Grosjean threw a good Discus before securing 2nd in the ‘B’ Javelin and Women’s Team Manager Andrea Lock mopped up every vacant spot with superb efforts including a big win close to her best in the Pole Vault. James Preston and Christina Jones as usual were the mainstay in the field each competing in the 4 throws to gain very valuable points. Under 17 Max Cresswell improved his senior pb with an excellent 45.29 throw in the Javelin and evergreen Bill Kingston squeezed points out in the Discus and Hammer before carrying out his valuable Officiating duties. 

One important aspect that we need to note as we sometimes mourn a lack of numbers in our young athletes ranks, we had seven Under 17 athletes and a further five under 20 athletes on display at Nottingham. That is without Lily Owsley, George Hurford, Sam Bedwell, Zac Tobias, Olivia Sadler, Vanessa Bran, Billie Williams and Lucy Bryan who have helped us earlier this year in the League or in the Cup. We are truly a club going somewhere at this time. 

Taking the last comment to heart don’t forget we have pledged to compete in the Qualifying Match for the Women’s and Men’s National Leagues on Saturday 18th September at Abingdon (near Oxford). We must have a strong team for this match to demonstrate our true strength and get back on the ladder of ‘Natioinal’ competition. Please all make a very special effort to be available for selection at this prestigious match. We also have involvement in the British League Cup on the 4th of September so please no-one hang up your spikes for this year. The season has a long way to go.

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