Bristol & West AC UK Women’s Athletic League team clinched promotion to Division 2 of the UK Women’s Athletics League with victory in the final match at Bedford. Team point scores were Bristol & West Athletic Club 221 points, Bedford 210, Milton Keynes 210, Leeds 161.4, Aldershot, Farnham & District 155, Exeter 144.5, City of Liverpool 144, Belgrave 130. This was a nail biting, but fantastic performance. There was a good start. After a no jump in the first round, Madison Thomas leapt out of the pit to a new winning PB of 5 metres 65 centimetres, with Maria Jones stepping in at the last minute to take fourth B string with 4 metres 21 centimetres. Annoyingly, the hammer was held outside the track as Christina’s speed in the circle is now something to behold. She duly obliged with a winning 56 metres 89 centimetres with Rocio Moya taking third B string with 34.09. Team Captain, Charlotte Green, started proceedings on the track with third place in the 400 metre hurdles (69.68) with Grace Copplestone taking second in the B (77.07). Kate Goodhead started her 3 race series with fourth in the 800 A race (2:25.58) while Grace France took third in the B race (2:29.78). Two fifth places for Gemma Tingay and Rocio Moya in the discus followed. By this time it was clear that the standard of the competition was higher than in the previous matches as evidenced by the 100 metres with Emma Heath finishing third in the A race in 12.33, and Alyssa Small just winning the B race in12.87, and a wind affected 3K where two of our middle distance stars were doing battle with Annabel Gummow returning from injury coming fourth in 10.13.37 and Kate Goodhead on the second leg of her stint second B string with 10.24.63. While this was going on Amelia Hempleman-Adams was taking third place in a highly competitive high jump with 1.65 (Isabel Pooley (Aldershot, Farnham & District) was first) and Sam Moore fourth equal B string with 1.25 and Elise Gauntlett, making her debut in the league, was fourth in the pole vault with 3 metres 20 centimetres and Ruby Juan won the B event with 2 metres10 centimetres. Ruby was busy having a go at the TJ and competing in the 100 metre hurdles B (where she finished fifth) seemingly at the same time! Team Manager’s dream, Sam Moore took fourth place in the A race in 17.30. Meanwhile, the javelin was being contested which Gemma Tingay won with 35 metres 27 centimetres (Paul Filer will be pleased!) and Rocio fourth B with 19 metres and 47 centimetres.
The team positions were now being read out with each event and the positions at the top were oscillating between Bristol & West AC, Milton Keynes and Bedford. In the Duke’s words, it was going to be a close run thing! Maria Jones and super-veteran Sarah Everitt (after guesting in the 3K) were drafted in to the 400 metres with Maria seventh A in 64.18 and Sarah sixth in the B race with a PB of 68.47. Onto the 1,500 metres with panic stations, Annabel forced to pull out not wanting to exacerbate her recent injury. Grace Copplestone and Kate Goodhead ride to the rescue! Kate in her third race of the day produced an amazing 4:42.52 with a well timed sprint finish to take third place and Grace a PB of 5.01.99 to take fourth place in the B race.
Next up the 200 metres with Alyssa in action again taking fifth place in the A race with 26.42 and Emma with a marvelous smile on her face as she crossed the line in first place in the B race in 26.08. That left the shot, 2K chase and two relays. The shot produced two first places with Christina throwing a lifetime best of 11 metres 53 centimetres and Gemma performing above and beyond the call of duty propelling herself out of the circle, doing 10.96. So far so good. The sprint relay – first place – that was exciting with Remmel Houson (after a 12.9 clocking in the non-scoring 100 metres), Sam Moore, Alyssa shooting through the field, and Emma timing her finish to perfection. Charlotte had some tough competition in the 2K chase but despite the wind produced another PB in 7.12.53 in 2nd place. Team Manager Chris Elson worked out that provided the baton got round the 4 X 400 metres we should win. He admits to shaking like a leaf, because by this time it was a team of those left standing (Rocio paled when Mike and Chris mentioned the topic). Maria, Sarah, Grace Copplestone and Charlotte did get it round in sixth place. So thanks to all officials and helpers, Mike & Carole Strange, Bill Kingston, Joanna, Jerry & Martin for driving the mini-bus and cheering people on. It was a great day, and Jo told Chris he can start the rest of his life again after he has compared Saturday’s performance with Division 2 Match 3. So while we are at it, put the dates in your diary, they will be similar to this year’s and cancel weddings, birthdays, holidays, school trips and nights out with the girls!
Full results are available at: http://mcs.open.ac.uk/mkac/13ukwal3.htm