Team Manager Chris Elson spent hours on the phone as usual to try and get the strongest possible team to Cheltenham on Saturday 5th May 2012 for the opening meeting of the Midland Track and Field League. With numerous club athletes on University duty at the BUCS Championships fielding a strong team was always going to be a difficult assignment for Chris and it is a tribute to his tenacity that there were so few gaps and he was delighted to come away with a third placed finish – albeit by a very narrow margin. If athletes continue to give Chris their support we should hopefully maintain our League One status whilst seeing the men perform well in the British League and pushing for promotion for the ladies team to the UK Women’s League.

The stand our performance at Cheltenham was Theo Campbell with a quick 48.1 to win the ‘A’ 400 metres. As usual there were individuals who seemed to be everywhere on the field at once with Rhys Llewellyn-Eaton competing in the triple jump, long jump, high jump and javelin. James Preston was similarly busy (although he restricted his activities to the throws competing in the shot, hammer and javelin – I can’t quite see James jumping for height or distance). On the Men’s side several athletes doubled up with Elliot Prendergast’s 11.3 for third in the ‘A’ 100 metres and 23.2 to win the ‘B’ 200 metres of note. Andrew Dean-Young took third in the ‘B’ 400 metres in 51.2 and then won the ‘B’ 800 metres in 1:59.6. Martin Flook was third in both his events with a 1:57.1 in the ‘A’ 800 metres and 4:13.4 in the ‘A’ 1,500. Bristol University graduates Oli Mott and Steve Francis finished second and first respectively in the Men’s 5,000 metres with Oli clocking 14:51.0 and Steve 15:22.5. Both were pleased with their times. Liam and Simon Biddlecombe made their club debuts: Liam finishing third in the ‘A’ shot with 14 metres 32 centimetres and Simon second in the ‘B’ Discus with 41 metres exactly. Matt Spicer threw 47 metres 20 centimetres for third in the ‘A’ Hammer and it is clear what a difference these 3 new throwers will make when the club begins its British League campaign on Sunday 27th May 2012 at Derby.

Whereas the men tended to outscore the women last year this year it was the other way around with several newcomers strengthening the team. Bethan Wakefield did a 100/200 metre double with 12.3 in the 100 metres and 25.2 in the 200 metres. Emma Heath made it a double taking the ‘B’ 100 metres in 12.7 and then contributing good points by finishing second in the ‘A’ long jump. Caroline Powell double running the 200 and 400 metres taking third place in the ‘B’ 400 metres in 62.6. Newcomer Jacqui Wilkinson tried to out-Rhys Rhys competing in the 100 metre hurdles, the 400 metre hurdles and the high jump producing good team points – great to have you on the team Jacqui. It was Sister Act in the 800 metres where Olivia Sadler took second in the ‘A’ race in 2:15.7 with younger sister Miranda winning the ‘B’ string in 2:17.6. Debbie Niccol took the ‘A’ 1,500 metres in 4:31.1 with Rebekah Randell second in the ‘B’ string and winning the 3,000 metres ‘A’ race where another newcomer, Ellen Harrison, took the ‘B’ race.

Nicola Breaks with second in the ‘B’ long jump, third in the ‘A’ triple jump and second in the ‘A’ shot had a busy afternoon as did Christina Jones who threw in the Hammer, Shot and Javelin – her best result coming in her speciality event the hammer where she finished second in the ‘A’ competition with a throw of 54 metres 40 centimetres.

The next fixture will be at Wolverhampton on Sunday 27th May 2012 when a clash with the British League will make it another challenging event for Chris Elson – so please rally round and give Chris your full support.

Full results can be found at Downloads – Race Results and Rankings – Midland Track and Field Results.