Midland Athletic League – Top Division Place Retained by Bristol & West/Yate & District Team

After the promotion of our combined Bristol & West/Yate & District team to the top division last year, we didn’t quite know what to expect and our aim was to retain our place in Division 1. We achieved that aim but it was quite a rollercoaster towards the end.

Our first match was at home and we recorded a narrow but notable victory and things were looking good. At the second match at Rugby we were third but only half a point in front of fourth and 5 points away from being second but still top of the Division. So far so good, but then the other teams got going and despite 30 PB and SBs in Match 3 at Birchfield, we were too stretched and ended up last although still second equal in the Division but not yet arithmetically clear of relegation.

So to Stoke for the last match and with a strong team in numbers and standard we thought we’d be clear of relegation with a chance of keeping second for the season. What is now clear is that the other teams notched it up another gear and as the Team Manager from Wolves & Bilston said to me ‘it’s real and there’s something to fight for now’.

The short story is after a fantastic year of outstanding performances, effort, multi-eventing and have a go heroes, we ended up fourth in the Division and safe with Wolves & Bilston relegated along with City of Stoke despite being second in two of the matches. The slightly longer story is that with 4 more points out of over 300 we would have been second in the Division and with 17 less we would have been relegated. Birchfield deservedly won the Division with their consistent performances all season.

I’d like to say that the Team managers were never worried but it wouldn’t be true and in any case it’s no fun if it’s easy.  Now we know how competitive this Division is to the end, we will know what to expect next year and can look to get that second place or better.

The team spirit and humour level has been great all year and made every match a pleasure to be at. We had a significant proportion of first and second year Under-17s competed at a team standard that was unfamiliar to them and they did a great job helped by the older and in some cases much older athletes. Four athletes have attended every match and we especially thank them – Julia Belyavin, a marathon runner who happily does the 4 x 400 metre relay when asked; Andrew Thomas the Discus PB machine, Luke ‘I’ll give anything a go until I drop’ Lodge and Matt Muggeridge who combines being Yate Team Manger with running, jumping and throwing wherever we need it.  Matt is off to the world Masters later in the year and we wish him well with there.

The roll call of Personal Bests (PBs) and Seasons Bests (SBs) is again impressive with a total of 25 recorded:

PBs – Lucy Conibear (Javelin), Emma Jolliffe (3,000 metres), Molly Jones (400 metre Hurdles and High Jump), Anyha Kerr (Javelin and Triple Jump 21 years after she last jumped), Annie Lewis (200 metres), Chloe Pitts (Discus), Yusef Hussein (200 metres), Mark Pratt (Discus), Ben Wells (100 metres).

SBs – Sofie Andersen (High Jump and Long Jump), Lisa Newing (1,500 metres), Maria Jones (Long Jump), Steven Black (800 metres), Jamie Brock (100 metres, 200 metres and Shot Putt), Owain Jones (1,500 metres and 3,000 metres), Abdulkadir Kuscu (3,000 metre steeplechase), Luke Lodge (Javelin), Matt Muggeridge (100 metres and Long Jump).

Thanks to everyone who competed, officiated, helped out and cheered us at the matches and from afar. Roll on next year.

The results from Match 4 at Stoke are published on Power of 10 at:

http://www.thepowerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=161453

Matt Muggeridge, Pete Mountain, Steve Grant