Reality check – that was Sunday 3rd July. It was all a bit like the National League Qualifying matches last year. The Team had been rampant and built up what appeared to be an unassailable lead in the joint Midland League. Then the world was turned on its head and we were just bit part players. Albeit this was a difficult weekend with many injuries and loads of top youngsters committed to the English Championships but where were our reserve resources? We can’t let this happen again or we will have trouble surviving in the ‘National’ Leagues in 2012.
Right from the start of the match we were struggling. Despite Chris Elson extracting every ounce of goodwill from each & every athlete we had so many gaps that it was unbelievable. 15 events were without a competitor from B&W and in 2 of them we had neither an ‘A’ nor a ‘B’ string! Some competitors bust a gut for us and on this occasion they should be named : Andrea LOCK scored 24 points from 7 events including both relays; James PRESTON scored 22 points in the heavy throws including a win in the Shot (13.91m); Scott DAVIE ended with 21 points including a win in the Pole Vault (4.00m) and Nicola BREAKS took 17 points from 6 events including a relay leg. Carol POWELL did all the sprints and both relays albeit when she could have been winding down before defence of her World Championship crowns in Sacramento (USA) later this week but she just kept coming back for more. Carol’s 400m ‘B’ string win was a classic of not letting up and she fought tenaciously all the way down the straight and to the line to just be beaten by a whisker by a Birchfield athlete. Then she found that this athlete was a non scoring competitor!!! However we all know that Carol doesn’t let anyone beat her easily so I suppose it would have been the same non scorer or not. Carol’s time of 62.5 is about a second off her age World Record but I am sure she will be once again crowned World Champion if she reproduces that next week.
We welcomed back 2:11 800m performer Ruth MITCHELL for the first time in 2011 but a little rusty from a lack of training Ruth had to battle hard for sound points in the 400m and 800m. Ruth set off in the 800m as if all was normal but then she needed to dig deep just to survive. However all was mended by the 4x400m relay when she gloriously led in the clubs on the first leg with a very creditable 63.0 after an individual 61.4 in the individual race. Eleanor WIMSHURST showed that her long period of nagging injury is now behind her with a fine ‘B’ win in the 800m to be followed a sound 1500m 3rd place plus a good 4x400m relay run.
Star High Jumper Hayley PITMAN once again surpassed the League Record with a jump of 1.74m to convincingly win the event. This keeps Hayley at # 1 in the South West rankings and is an outdoor seasons best for her. Nicola BREAKS followed on with 2nd in the ‘B’ string to consolidate much needed points. Hayley GREEN once again threw well in the Discus to come 2nd in the ‘A’ string reproduced a similar 2nd ‘B’ place in the Hammer. Christina JONES was close to her recent PB in the Hammer (53.32 v 53.37) ‘A’ string being beaten by ex Club Member and British International Zoe DERHAM.
In the Women’s Javelin we welcomed two fresh competitors to our senior ranks, Dawn CLARIDGE and Alyta NORMAN who must have gained great experience throwing against seasoned competitors in such a magnificent stadium as is Alexander St. When they watch the Grand Prix next Sunday they can now turn round and say proudly “I threw there last week you know”.
The Women’s 3km was strange as we only had 1 competitor in a race that we normally fill with scorers and guest competitors. Young Annasley PARK performed well to clock 10:44.8 secs in a tough race against some class opponents.
On the Men’s side young John BRIERLY had a real breakthrough in the 400m Hurdles. He has toyed with alternating in the first 200m but unfortunately has stumbled in the last two matches. This time he played safe and came through to take 2nd place in a new personal best of 57.4 secs. Well done John you have worked for that.
Scott BAJERE weakened badly at the end of the 200m and lost out in a dip finish in 22.9 secs but in the 100m he was magnificent again. This time without wind assistance he stormed through to finish 0.3 clear of 2nd place in an excellent 10.9 secs.
In the 800m we were supreme again with Chris DODD and Andrew DEAN-YOUNG taking full points after they fully controlled their races in 1:54.9 & 1:57.1 respectively. Job done. In the 5k Tom MERSON tracked the leader for a long time but in the end had to settle into 2nd place in 15:11.6 but the joy was that Andrew CHAMBERS making his league debut took 2nd in the ‘B’ string in 15:52.7.
Ding YANG had to settle for 2nd in the Long Jump against a very good jumper from Birchfield and perennial Paul WESTON reverted to a short run up after feeling twinges to take 3rd in the Triple Jump. Not bad for an oldie you know. Scott DAVIE as already mentioned had competed in an array of events but still had time to win the Pole Vault conclusively with a 4.00 m vault.
Whilst James PRESTON held together our throws section (his Shot Put was very close to his recent PB 13.91 v 13.94) a word must be said for Bill Kingston (our top field official) who scored valuable points in the Hammer and particularly the discus to help clinch our 5th place on the day.
Anyhow we ended up with 8 first places and are still leading the league by 2 points and are still 85 match points clear of the second club. That means we can’t be relegated and if we finish at the worst in 4th place we still win the league (yet again). But please Athletes let us put our real team out next time on Sunday 14th August 2011.
We did have competitors in the South West League match in Cornwall with local lad (Veteran) Shaun ANTELL winning the 1,500m and 2,000m Steeplechase in 4:21.5 & 6:28.2 (could have been 2nd at Birmingham?) respectively and Simon PARK taking 3rd in the 200m in 24.3 secs.
Mike Strange – July 5 2011