The Bristol and West track and field teams maintained their relentless push for promotion in the British League when the second round of this year’s matches was held. Both men’s and women’s teams have gained successive promotions since they qualified to return to the National Leagues three years ago. They have now both progressed to Division Two, which is the third tier of the National structure and leaves them both within touching distance in football parlance of the “Championship”
The women’s challenge looks particularly strong as they won the first match at Cardiff and finished second this time at Newham to retain their top position with only one more fixture to come next month at Portsmouth. With two clubs to go up they need to beat just one of the only other two clubs still with a chance of promotion Cardiff and Newham. “I was really expecting we would find our level this season, so am more than pleasantly surprised that we could go up again,” said team manager Chris Elson. “But it says a lot for our girls who all rallied round on the day to plug any gaps there were in the team.” Pick of what was a fine all-round team effort at Newham, who incidentally had the services of World and former Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu in the sprint events, were the Divisional records set by Christina Jones in the hammer (60.13 metres) and Charlotte Green the 2,000 metre steeplechase (6:51.19). Bristol and West’s other winner was Madison Thomas in the long jump (5.63 metres), while there were second places for Miranda Sadler (800 metres), Hattie Dent (400 metre hurdles) and Amelia Hempleman-Adams (high jump).
Additionally the club’s Olympic marathon runner Claire Hallissey celebrated a welcome return to the team after spending the last three years working in the USA, by picking up valuable second place points in both the 1,500 metres and 3,000 metres,
The position of the men’s team is not quite so encouraging. After finishing only fourth in the opening match with a team depleted by illness and injury, they improved to third at Southampton, but again surrendered the initiative to the host club and their other main rivals for promotion Basingstoke and Mid-Hants. “It means we probably need to win both the final two fixtures if we are to be promoted yet again, but that’s not impossible if we can get all our best athletes out,” claimed team manager Cy Knibb.
There were wins on the track at Southampton for Yannick Budd (110 metre hurdles), Dan Studley (800 metres) and Charlie Maclean (3,000 metre steeplechase), and in the field Connell McQuisten (pole vault)
British League Division Two (Southampton): 1 Southampton 350pts; 2 Basingstoke & Mid-Hants 346; 3 Bristol & West 324; 4 Kingston & Polytechnic 267; 5 Harrow 257; 6 Notts 229; 7 Derby 216; 8 Southend 213.
UK Women’s League Division Two (Newham): 1 Cardiff 247; 2 Bristol & West 211; 3 Newham & Essex 195; 4 Havering 164; 5 Milton Keynes 151; 6 Reading 127; 7 Herne Hill 124; 8 Portsmouth 93.