Bristol & West Win the Midland League Yet Again

Wow what a day again – Chris Elson does believe in taking the Track & Field Team on a tightrope walk doesn’t he?

By the skin of our teeth Bristol & West AC won the Midland League (Division 1) again.  I say again because of course we have now won it for the past 3 years.

We finished in fourth place on the day leaving us just 1 League Point ahead of Birchfield, Cheltenham & Notts AC.  Actually if we had finished fifth on the day behind Charnwood we would have still won the league on match points with the above and B&W all having 16 league points.  A close call don’t you think?  Throughout the match we languished in sixth place and even those of us who are aware that we come strong at the end of each match were doubting our previous confidence.

Great credit goes to all of the people who turned out on the day but let us once again honour those who picked up the odd point that contributed to this team performance.  Bella HATCH performed brilliantly to win the ‘B’ Pole Vault but her 1 point in the 100m ‘B’ was worth its weight in gold.  James TAYLOR was 2nd in the ‘B’ Shot (remember he is under-20 and normally throws a 6kg implement) but he readily stepped into the breach when we didn’t have a ‘B’ 800m runner.  I felt his agony as he reached the 200 metre to go mark but he still finished to gain that valuable point for last place.  John BRIERLY, better known for his 400 metre hurdles exploits filled in when we had an injury space in the 200 metres and he gained 2 points for his efforts.  Under-20 athlete Alyta NORMAN has only just come into athletics yet she found herself up against Commonwealth Heptathlon Champion Louise Hazell but she still held together to take 3 points in the Javelin.  Steve WEST, he’s a veteran Pole Vaulter, again filled in on the ‘A’ spot in the 110m hurdles and gained 3 points.  Over 60 athlete and main field event Official Bill KINGSTON was thrust into the ‘A’ position in the Hammer and he performed safely as usual to pick up 3 points.  To top it all over-55 World Champion sprinter Caroline POWELL was denied an easy ‘B’ string afternoon as she had to run ‘A’ string in very competitive 100m, 200m and 400m races but she earned 10 points from that to help steer the team home.  Thanks to all of you.

On to the outstanding performances and still here we have people who stepped into the breach.  Lucy BRYAN, UK under-17 record holder for the Pole Vault stepped in to fill a vacant High Jump spot  and won the ‘A’ event with a season’s best jump of 1.61m following on from a League Record Pole Vault clearance of 3.80m to win her main event.

Christina JONES needed to equal her season’s best of 53.37m to win the ‘A’ Hammer only 32 centimetres ahead of her Birchfield rival Hayley Murray.

Scott BAJERE who ran a 10.5 100 metres in an earlier match still dominated but into a -2.8 m/s wind had to settle for an 11.4 clocking. He still beat the cream of the Midlands quite clearly.

Caspar ELIOT joined us after a recent Avon AA Open Meeting and proved a wonderful addition to our ranks.  He started with a 400 metre hurdles ‘B’ string win in 58.8 seconds, followed with a 49.9 400 metres flat run then pulled us up to second in the 4×400 metres relay with a 50.0 final leg.

Shaun ANTELL came to do the Steeplechase but during the day opted to fill a 3km vacancy and came second in a very closely run race (8 men together in a bunch at the Bell) in 8:47.3 with Steve FRANCIS in full support taking second in the ‘B’ string with 8:54.8.

Similarly in the women’s 3km Imogen AINSWORTH (just back from injury) and young Annasley PARK gained second places behind the outstanding Potter twins from Charnwood before going on to contribute to the 4x400m relay team.  Imo also ran the ‘B’ 1500 metres (3rd ‘A’ 4:40.6) so that was some come back from injury.  Along with our other 1500 metre 4:46.7 & 4×400 runner as well as 800 metre (2:23.2) competitor Eleanor WIMSHURST, Imo is about to disappear to the USA .  They will both be continuing their education at American Colleges and we wish them well in their ventures.

In the field Nicola BREAKS contributed heavily as usual with second (11.31 metres) in the Triple Jump, fourth (4.81 metres) in the Long Jump, second (1.50 metres) in the High Jump and fourth (8.77 metres) in the Shot.

With Theo CAMPBELL nursing a heel injury and doing the Sprints and Long Jump Ding YANG carried our principle horizontal jumper role with third (12.84 metres) in the Triple Jump and first (6.64 metres) in the Long Jump. 

Luke BAILEY and Scott DAVIE locked up the Pole Vault with outstanding 4.20 metre and 4.00 metre wins whilst also consecutively competing in the High Jump with 1.65 metre and 1.70 metre performances in that event.    

Rhys LLEWELLYN-EATON performed outstandingly again in a competitive Javelin, third ‘A’ with a throw of 52.36 metres before joining James PRESTON for the piece du resistance – the discus – where James threw a personal best of 35.15 metres to win and Rhys came second ‘B’ with 31.64 metres to clinch our fourth place and win in the league overall.  What relief!

Full results can be found at Downloads – Track and Field Competitions – they make good reading.

So once again, well done to everyone.  Let this be a launch pad to the British / UK League Qualifying match on 17 September when we would hope to attain our rightful places at the top of National League competition once again.  Come on lads & lasses let Cy Knibb – Team Manager for that event know your availability.

 Mike Strange – 15 August 2011