As those who were there will be well aware, the three trophies for ‘National Athlete of the Year’, ‘BAL Performance of the Year’ and ‘BAL Athlete of the Year’ were handed out after the last match on Saturday.
‘BAL Performance of the Year’ could have gone to Tom Gale for his staggering 2.13 metre high jump clearance at Cardiff, Chris Stone for his 21.10 200 metres in Bedford beating a number of sub-21 runners in the process or Adam Wall for an outdoor PB of 2.09 metres to win the High Jump on Saturday, but in the end it went to William Christofi, whose 800 metres ‘B’ win followed by a 1,500 metres ‘A’ win at Bedford really set the tone for the day and helped spur the team to our first ever Division 2 Match win.
‘National Athlete of the Year’ – we had Mike Wilsmore running for England Indoors and winning the South of England Champs Indoors and Out while Harry Lane stormed to the National Under-23 Steeplechase title in June, but in the end it had to go to Tom Gale for a truly stonking season of high jumping culminating in a ninth place finish with a 2.18 metre Club Record in the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz. Tidy.
Finally, the most important award. We had four ever present athletes this year – Andrea Manfroni was a stalwart in the javelin, setting PBs in three of the four matches and top five in the ‘A’ string in all of them, while Jordan Harry was a constant cheery presence on the runway, even though he managed to injure himself in two of the four matches! In the end, though, it was between two outstanding candidates: Mark Cottam has been an absolute rock this year, filling in in the 100 metres, 200 metres and both relays when required while always putting in a solid ‘A’ string performance in his main event – the 400 metres – finishing no lower than fourth in the ‘A’ string and putting in four of his best seven times of the season at BALs. However, the trophy went to unsung hero Samuel Boulton who unfailingly turns up, sits with Dad and Granddad in the sun and does his job for the team with an incredible series of consistent and mature performances in the Senior Shot and Discus (bearing in mind he is still a Junior) throughout the year. Simply put, without people like Sam the team wouldn’t exist, and it was a great pleasure to award him the trophy.
Sam already has his trophy, while Roger and I will do our best to get the other two to you asap, William and Tom (although Alex needs to give it back first…!)
Caspar Eliot Reports.