UK Women’s League – Leigh Sports Village – Sunday 16th July 2017

After two eighth place finishes it  was going to be a hard struggle to avoid relegation to Division Two of the UK Women’s League, especially as there were a few absences from the team. However, that has been the theme of the year. Another theme of the year has been the team spirit and commitment of those athletes who do come and Sunday was no exception. There were great wins for Christina JONES in the hammer with a best throw of 58 metres 49 centimetres, a double in the ‘A’ 1,500 and 3,000 metres in 4:25.77 and 9:18.8 from Kate MALTBY who was ably supported by a ‘B’ string win from Fiona MARKS in 9:59.30 for a PB – her first time under 10 minutes in only her third race over the distance. Ada’ora CHIGBO recorded a great win in the ‘A high jump – her winning clearance was at 1 metre 70 centimetres.

There was great sprinting in the 100 metres: In the ‘A’ race Hannah WILLIAMS finished second by four-hundredths of a second as she clocked 11.74 for a PB. The ‘B’ string was even closer as Yvette WESTWOOD took the honours in 12.05, just out-leaning the Cardiff athlete.

In the 200 metres Yvette finished sixth in the ‘A’ race in 2589 with Bethan WAKEFIELD fifth in the ‘B’ race in 26.37.

In the 400 metres Hattie DENT and Hannah JACKSON stepped in to an event where we had no one declared. Hattie finished seventh in 66.85 in the ‘A’ race and Hannah was fifth in 67.31 in the ‘B’ race.

In the 800 metres Ellen HARRISON ran her first race over the distance for 13 years and finished seventh in the ‘A’ race in 2:32.27, there was no-one we could co-opt for the ‘B’ string. Ellen then ran the ‘B’ 1,500 and dug deep to finish fifth in 5:01.12 with a great last 40 metres.

One of the performances of the day was Fiona MARKS’ debut over 2,000 metres steeplechase. She finished third in the ‘A’ string in 7:16.37 to go twenty-first in the UK rankings (and out sprint Vicky Cronin who is currently ranked fifteen!). We definitely have someone who could follow Charlotte TAYLOR-GREEN’S footsteps in the event, as Fiona had never been over a single hurdle four weeks ago let alone clearing barriers and water-jumps!

In the hurdles Hattie DENT finished seventh in the ‘A’ 400 hurdles in 69.80; this was another event where we had no ‘B’  string. Hannah JACKSON had a good run in the ‘A’ 100 hurdles finishing third in the ‘A’ string in 15.18 in a close race and Hattie backed up well finishing second in the ‘B’ string in 17.04.

The jumps were an area where we have been short but Silvia AMABILINO got some points on the score board in the pole vault with good clearances up to and including 3 metres 50 centimetres which saw her finish third in the ‘A’ string – only three clubs managed to find a ‘B’ string in the event.

In the horizontal jumps Andrea JESUDASON finished fourth in a very competitive long jump with a best jump of 5 metres 27 centimetres before finishing fifth in the triple jump with a best jump of 11 metres 10 centimetres. Sam BARRETT jumped 5 metres 11 centimetres for third in the ‘B’ long jump only 1 centimetre off second. However, a tight hamstring meant that she withdrew from the triple jump as a precaution.

Elsewhere in the field Alice GROSJEAN threw the discus 38 metres and 2 centimetres for second in the ‘A’ string (the winner Phoebe Dawson of Southampton was in a class of her own throwing over 49 metres). Rownita MARSTON finished fourth in the ‘B’ string with a best distance of 26 metres and 45 centimetres.

The Javelin was another event where prior to the day we had no-one declared so a big thank you to Hannah JACKSON who threw 19 metres 28 centimetres for eighth place in the ‘A’ string and Rownita MARSTON who threw 15 metres 41 centimetres for fifth place in the ‘B’ string(while competing in her main event the shot putt at the same time as the javelin was running over an hour late).

Rownita and Ada’ora had a good shot competition with Rownita finishing fourth with a best putt of 12 metres 21 centimetres and Ada’ora finished second with 11 metres 56 centimetres.

Throughout the afternoon the ladies had been chasing Southampton and Notts (with Trafford and Cardiff clear in first and second) – had we finished third on the day we might just have avoided relegation – but by the relays it was pretty clear we would finish fifth. The 4 x 100 metres relay team gave it their best shot finishing second just behind Southampton 48.46 to 48.30 – so hats off to Hannah WILLIAMS, Bethan WAKEFIELD, Hannah JACKSON and Yvette WESTWOOD.

The final event was the 4 x 400 metres which included athletes who were stepping into the unknown:  Hattie DENT (70.2), Hannah WILLIAMS in her first ever run over the distance (60.4), Bethan WAKEFIELD (63.4) and Kate MALTBY (69.3) finished sixth.

With 181 points on the day we finished fifth (only 6 match points behind fourth placed Notts); we would surely have gained those points had the javelin not been over an hour late (so Christina had to leave) and had Sam Barrett been able to jump in the triple jump but we would still have finished seventh overall. What is far more important is that it was a great team bonding night away for those who came and there were some strong individual performances and it left everyone fired up to bounce back to Division 1 after a single year in Division  2.

Full results are below:

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