Mike Strange’s Weekend Report – 7th and 8th May 2011

Where do you start after such a magnificent achievement in winning the first match of the Midland League at Stoke Gifford on Saturday.  The Athletes were tremendous and I will talk about them later but I believe the whole Club needs a pat on the back for great organization and presentation at our wonderful new Kip Keino Athletic Stadium facility.  Midlands people were well impressed with the step forward that Bristol & West has taken.

On the following day the Young Athletes emerged from the gloom of declining numbers (Whitchurch to blame) to perform creditably at Cheltenham (2nd just 10 points behind Swindon) and our new Decathlete, 17 year old  James Taylor came 5th in an event at Millfield with an outstanding score of 4,976.  James set good marks all through and will prove increasingly useful in our Senior Team throughout the year and beyond.

But where do I start with our Midland League performance?  There were great pb’s, people who did so many events beyond the call of duty and those who just outclassed the opposition.  Our only ‘holes’ were in hurdles and women’s sprints, everywhere else we were a class act.  Come on you Hurdles Coaches you are letting the Club down.  We even seemed to have a multitude of guest athletes who battered the opposition let alone our scorers.

Don’t hold me to these choices for performances of the match because you could make a case for almost anyone.  My two big stars of the day were Christina Jones, 2nd to UK Champion, training partner and ex Bristol athlete Zoe Derham in yet another pb of 52.23m and Hayley Pitman who followed up a momentous indoor season with a League Record High Jump clearance of 1.70m.  Two class athletes.  Hayley Green who we failed to report on last week with excellent performances in the BUCS Champs continued that success with wins in the Discus and Hammer (B) & Higher Competition Athlete (U20) Alice Grosjean scored with first places in the Shot (B) & Discus (B).   James Preston also won the men’s Shot & Discus as well as gaining a good place in the Hammer.  Don’t forget each win at this level is against top opposition.  16 year old Isabel Hatch (this time out of the shadow of Lucy Bryan) won the Pole Vault by 40 cm.  Theo Campbell was very close to 15m in the Triple Jump and of course old war horse Paul Weston came up with the goods in the ‘B’ string to take maximum points.   On the track Yannick Budd fresh from his bronze medal at BUCS won by a mile (15.2 secs) and Gustav Klingstedt battled back up the straight to close the gap on the winner to 1 tenth of a second (48.4 sec) but my resounding memory was Steve Mitchell controlling a good class 1,500m.  He played with them.  Infact we only dropped once to second in every distance race from 800m upward.  Keith Brackstone and Mike Down are to be congratulated on this achievement.  (We also had 6 guests at the front in each of these races – total domination).

Spare a thought for guest competitors Tony Hillier who beat our scorer Scott Davie in the Pole Vault to set a track record of 4.50m and 18 year old Annabel Gummow who came up from Cornwall to do the same in the women’s 3,000m (9:42.4).

New members to the Track team who performed well were Andrew Woods, Angus McClean, Rhys Llewellyn-Eaton (Higher Competition); Antony Stanley-Clarke, Annabel Gummow, Isabel Hatch & (I think) International Tom Russell.  From that group we only dropped 7 points over the 8 events that they covered.  Some feat.  (5 firsts, 2 seconds and a third?)

What do I remember of our heroes on the day?  Andrea was as usual outstanding (and without Ruby this time) filling every gap that appeared.  She competed in 8 events whilst still suffering Jet Lag from her month long visit to Canada.  Miranda & Olivia Sadler would have been too young to compete if we were in the UK League but look how they performed.  Caroline Powell was straining every sinew to win the battle of the Veterans by beating her friend Jane Horder (others will remember her as Jane Stewart when she held our 400m Hurdles Record) in the 200m.  Under 20’s Valentina Santo-Fullerton and Emily Owsley were thrown in at the deep end for sprint points and survived with credit.  Steve West challenged the 110m Hurdles to good effect.  Sean Hazell finished in agony with a problem in the 2k Steeplechase and poor old John Brierly hit a hurdle and so nearly fell in the adruous 400m Hurdles.  Nicola Breaks for so long a key points scorer for us competed with a heavily strapped ankle but did all events asked of her.  You try the Triple Jump on a dodgy ankle and see how it feels.  My final memory is that of new member Joan Pangop who missed her hurdles race due to transport problems and then agreed to run in both relays just to put out a team.  When I coach Joan she often gasps after a 50m run but in the 4×400 relay she lasted to the end to hand to Andrea and we were not last!

To end it all we need to honour Team Manager Chris Elson who worked his socks off to bring the Team together.  Chris also arranged all peripheral aspects of the day with inputs from many people (especially Keith Brackstone).  But this was Chris’s day – did you realize he has been sounding out people for the last 3 months to achieve this victory.

WELL DONE CHRIS.

To finally put things in perspective please follow the link to Downloads – Midland Track and Field League and you can see for yourself that B&W dominated the whole match.  Well done everyone.

Mike Strange  – 10 May 2011

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