Disappointment for Both Men and Women at National League Qualifiers

After completing a second consecutive win in the Midland Track & Field League in August the club’s Men’s and Women’s teams travelled to Tilsley Park Abingdon on Saturday 18th September 2010 to try to qualify for the British Athletics and UK Women’s Athletics Leagues respectively. Despite making local phone lines red hot over the preceeding weeks Cy Knibb, overall Team Manager, was still left with some significant event gaps that he couldn’t plug and these were to prove costly on the day.

In the Men’s event there were fine wins from Steve Mitchell in the ‘A’ 1,500 metres, Gustav Klingstedt in the Men’s ‘A’ 400 hurdles and a rousing 4 x 400 metres relay finish where the quartet of Chris Dodd, Andrew Dean-Young, Alex Field and Gustav Klingstedt got the Bristol & West contingent on their feet.

In the 100 metres Scott Bajere was seventh in 11.7 in the ‘A’ string and Richard Gwyn made a welcome return from retirement to finish sixth in the ‘B’ string in 12.4.

In the 200 metres Scott Bajere finished fifth in 23.1 in the ‘A’ string with Alex Fields ducking under 23 for the first time to finish third in a PB of 22.9.

In the Men’s 400 metres Gustav Klingstedt was second in the ‘A’ string in 49.6, whilst Andrew Dean-Young managed to avoid two officials in his lane to finish second in 51.4 in the ‘B’ string.

Chris Dodd made his first appearance on the track for the club to finish third in the ‘A’ string 800 metres in 1:58.2 and Andrew Dean-Young was second in the ‘B’ string race in 2:01.4.

As mentioned earlier Steve Mitchell won the 1,500 metres ‘A’ string and training group partner Chris Dodd found racing 1,500 when in a non-training period pretty tough finishing third in 4:21.5.

My greatest sympathy on the day went to Peter Northall from Bristol University who made a two hour journey to be thrown in at the deep end (literally) in the 3,000 metres steeplechase. After landing well up to his knees in the water jump on the first lap his technique improved and he finished sixth in the ‘A’ string – only to be told he was disqualified for running inside the cones on the way to the water jump. Having finished nearly a minute clear of the runner behind I think this was hardly material. Another athlete to find a long distance tough was Steve Mitchell who took on the 5,000 metres after his 1,500 metres and came home sixth in 16:00 in his first ever run over that distance on the track. Steve has made a vow never to venture above 3,000 metres on the track again.

Gustav Klingstedt showed that he has reason to be a Finnish International at 400 metres hurdles with a clear win in the ‘A’ race in 54.2 and Alex Fields scored good points in the ‘B’ string with third place in 61.9.

Yannick Budd ran third in the 110 metres hurdles ‘A’ string in 15.7 but tweaked his hamstring doing so and sat out the afternoon until the 4 x 100 metre relay. In the ‘B’ string Ding Yang finished fourth in 17.3.

James Preston had his usual busy afternoon in the heavy throws with third in the Discus with 36 metres 39 centimetres (where he was frustrated by a final round no throw in a competition that was within his capabilities to win),  he finished fifth in the Hammer with 25 metres 99 centimetres and fourth in the shot with 12 metres 52 centimetres. James was supported as ever by Bill Kingston in the Discus  (where he finished sixth with 24 metres and 71 centimetres) and shot (where he was sixth with 7 metres 34 centimetres). Cy enlisted the help of son Matt for the ‘B’ string Hammer where Matt threw 25 metres 31 centimetres for fourth place.

Gustav Klingstedt threw 42 metres and 85 centimetres for sixth in the ‘A’ string Javelin, while Richard Gwyn showed that his right arm has probably been put to other use in the four years since his last competition but still managed 34 metres and six centimetres for sixth place.

Ding Yang jumped 6 metres 63 in the ‘A’ string in the Long Jump for second place and Theo Campbell jumped 5 metres 71 centimetres for sixth in the ‘B’ string. In his main event, the triple jump, Theo jumped 14 metres and 8 centimeters for second ‘A’ string (only 9 centimetres behind the winner). Behind him coach Paul Weston jumped 12 metres 48 centimetres for third place in the ‘B’ string.

Ding Yang jumped 1 metre 90 centimetres in an exciting high jump competition that saw two jumpers over 2 metres; with eventual winner Scott Johnson of Bedford & County jumping 2 metres 6 centimetres to win. In the ‘B’ string Luke Bailey cleared 1 metre 70 centimetres without the aid of a pole.

With a pole Luke managed 3 metres 60 centimetres for fourth in the ‘A’ string after Tony Hillier had no heighted. A good competition saw Gavin Fordham of Bedford & County clear 4 metres 20 centimetres while 3 other athletes cleared 4 metres. Had Tony registered a height 3 metres 60 would have finished Luke in third place in the ‘B’ string.

In the relays the first change between Scott and Yannick was so far out of the box that, in the stand, we all waited for the red judge’s flag to be raised and our expectations were met to the disappointment of all. And so it was that the Men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team lifted our spirits at the end of an otherwise disappointing day for the club.

Two events without Bristol & West ‘B’ strings, two disqualifications and a ‘no height’ contributed to the Club’s fourth position in the Men’s event and the overall scores were:

 1. Reading  370 points

2. Nene Valley Harriers 346 points.

3. Bedford & County 322 points.

4. Bristol & West AC 273 points.

5.Brighton & Hove AC 268 points.

6 Ashford AC 217 points.

7. Medway & Maidstone AC 199 points.

8 Alba AC 12 points. 

In the women’s events the field event ladies starred with a fine win in the hammer for Christina Jones with 46 metres 84 centimetres; ably supported by a ‘B’ string win for Hayley Green with 41 metres 18 centimetres (which was the second longest thrower overall behind Christina).  Alice Grosjean scored a win in the ‘B’ string Discus with 30 metres 21 centimetres, while Hayley Green produced a fine 32 metres 40 centimetres for third in the ‘A’ string discus. In the women’s Javelin Christina and Alice placed third in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ strings with 31 metres 62 centimetres and 19 metres 71 centimetres respectively. Christina Jones completed a double by winning the ‘A’ string shot with a putt of 11 metres exactly and Alice Grosjean took second in the ‘B’ string with a putt of 8 metres 95 centimetres.

In the women’s jumps Nicola Breaks had a busy afternoon placing third in the ‘A’ string triple jump with a jump of 10 metres 90 centimetres before placing fourth in the ‘A’ string long jump with 4 metres 72 centimetres and winning the ‘B’ string high jump with 1 metre 55 centimetres. The high jump competition was won by Hayley Pitman with 1 metre 70 centimetres which was very close to her PB of 1 metre 73 centimetres.

Lauren Yeates completed in two events with 8 metres 80 centimetres for fourth in the ‘B’ string triple jump and second in the ‘B’ string 100 metres hurdles in 17:00 seconds.

The only winner on the track was Kate Goodhead who took the lead after 800 metres to come home almost 30 seconds clear in 10 minutes 06.5 in the ‘A’ string 3,000 metres and then finished third in the ‘A’ 1,500 metres in 4 minutes 49.2 seconds. It was disappointing that, in a club with such a tradition of middle and long distance running, the club failed to run a ‘B’ string in either race.

Ruby Juan had her usual active afternoon competing in the ‘A’ string pole vault (fourth with a vault of 2 metres 10 centimetres), and ‘A’ string 400 metres hurdles (fifth in 91.6 seconds) before competing in both relays.

Valentina Santo-Fullerton ran a 100/200 double finishing sixth in the ‘A’ string in both events in 13.6 and 28.2 respectively, as did Olivia Sadler running a 400/800 double finishing sixth in the ‘A’ string in 63 seconds and third in the ‘A’ string 800 metres in 2:15.1. 

The final events of the women’s competition were the relays where valentina Santo-Fullerton, Olivia Sadler, Billie Williams and Ruby Juan ran in both the 4 x 100 metres and the 4 x 400 metres finishing fifth in the 4 x 100 and sixth in the 4 x 400 metres.

The overall women’s team result was as follows:

1. Crawley  237 points

2. Liverpool Harriers 188 points.

3. Notts AC 185 points.

4. Luton 183 points.

5. Basildon 181 points.

6. Bristol 152 points.

It is interesting to note that in 3 of the 4 Midland League fixtures Bristol easily beat Notts AC who were only 4 points away from promotion. There were numerous reasons why we had gaps but with the points awarded as follows: 9,7,6,5,4 (for ‘A’ and ‘B’ strings and relays) the club failed to compete for 11 ‘B’ string events which meant that 99 points were not competed for.  

Full results can be found at http://www.bal.org.uk

The Club’s thanks to Cy who literally dialled his finger to the bone to get as many events covered as he could, to the athletes and coaches who DID support the promotion effort and to the athletes on the day whop doubled, trebled and, in some cases, more in the chase for points. Nicola Diamond did a sterling job as Women’s Team Manager on the day for the first time – next time we hope Emily will be there as well.

It was clear to me that many of the athletes in our club want to move up to the higher levels of competition that competing in the National Leagues should bring. It is also clear that the club will need to be 100% behind National League Track and Field Competition as a club goal for 2011 if we are to achieve it. We had a good young team and there are athletes who were too young this year who will be able to compete next year but we also need our distance athletes there and coaches to put the event in athletes’ diaries at the start of the season so that individual athletes’ competition diaries include the promotion match from the outset so that in 2011 we cover all the events with our strongest available team on the day.

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