Avon Under-15 Sportshall Athletic Team at the 2018 Sportshall UK Final  

18 Apr

On Sunday 15th April 2018 Sportcity, Manchester was the location for the National Sportshall Finals.

The Under-15 boys team from the Regional Championships were not all available for the final. Sam Payne regrettably broke a wrist and was advised not to risk further injury. Hopefully Sam will be back for next year! Steve Kerfoot stepped into the scoring individual events with great enthusiasm having been limited to non-scoring individual events and the paarlauf at Torbay.

We gathered at Sportcity and set out to have an enjoyable day. Gathering was interesting as my car broke down on the M6 and we had to be relayed to the Travelodge for the overnight stop. So thanks to all the parents who ensured we were all present and correct.

The boys’ team performed excellently against nine other Regional winning teams plus Devon who had been awarded a place as the best second place finishers at the Regional Finals. Based on the top four performing team members the squad was third. The relay performances were so good that Derbyshire could not deprive the team of third place which equals the previous best finish by the Under-15 Boys back in 2001 and one place better than 2017.

We had hoped for an excellent outcome for Lewis having been very well placed in 2017. I was excited by Ashya’s standing long jump ability and hoped that with some speed bounce practice he too could make a big impact like Lewis in the individual list. It is very encouraging that Steve and the Akinyemis are all young enough to compete again next year and adding Sam Payne there is a hope that another very strong team will emerge.

Lewis fulfilled our and probably his own hopes. He managed an all round consistency and a very well merited podium position. Ashya was somewhat under the weather after his quick 2 lap run. Some chilling fresh air and we managed to time it right to get him back for a first round attempt at the Standing Long Jump of 2 metres 82 centimetres and he then found the spark to continue and produced 2.93 metres for the best ever leap by an Avon athlete. He may look back at the speed bounce where he equalled his Torbay performance. 10 more bounces would have seen him on the podium with Lewis. Steve’s speed bounce was a highlight too. Christian made life difficult for George Bunner who was judging the speed bounce. A fairly quick pace was suddenly changed to lightning pace for a final flourish. I think George just about managed to get the total right.

Boys – Team Score                                   All-rounder Placings

Warwickshire             1241                                                                           Points

Berkshire                   1171                 2nd = Lewis Hembrow-McKinley   268

Avon                           1110               14th     Ashya Gray                            233

Derbyshire                 1094               29th     Steve Kerfoot                                    207

Tyne & Wear              1019               34th =  Christian Albon                                  197

Norfolk                                      974               38th =  Solomon Akinyemi                192

Powys                           931               52nd     Samuel Akinyemi                  172

Devon                          909

County Londonderry   899

North Yorkshire                           883

Merseyside                  867

There were 66 athletes representing Regional Teams and 5 top individuals who were from teams that had failed to qualify for the finals. The younger trio who will hopefully compete in 2019 should shoot up the listing and as an example Lewis leapt up 17 places from 2017. On the day there was a maximum of 38 competitors in an event. The races were all time trials but the 4 x 2 lap relay did have heats and a final. The aim is always make the final and then hope the other finalists are more exhausted. In the final 3 teams were quicker than in the heats.

Athlete Performances

Event  Perf     Ranking                      Points Event  Perf     Ranking                      Points

Lewis Hembrow-McKinley   4 Lap  42.0    5th                    92        Shot    10.77  8th                    86

STJ     8.10    6th                    90

Ashya Gray                            2 Lap  19.8    5th =                91        SB       70        28th=               44

SLJ     2.93    2nd                   98

Steve Kerfoot                                    4 Lap  42.7    13th=               75        SB       86        4th                    94

SLJ     2.24    32nd                 38

Christian Albon                                  2 Lap 20.5    22nd=              54        SB       78        11th =              77

STJ     7.05    18th                 66

Solomon Akinyemi                2 Lap  19.9    7th=                 86        Shot    9.33    23rd                 56

STJ     6.57    26th                 50

Samuel Akinyemi                  4 Lap  43.6    20th                 62        Shot    9.48    20TH                62

Slj        2.34    27th                 48

4 x 2 lap relay ( Lewis, Ashya, Christian & Solomon) 3rd place in  a heat 1.20.1 & 4th = in the final 1.20.4

8 lap Paarlauf (Samuel & Steve) 5th place 1.25.4


A big thank you to the parents of the athletes. Without your support the successful outcome could not have been achieved. Your presence or support from a distance as well as the practical action to be in the right place at the right time was great.


On a personal note I did arrive home by 5.15 p.m. on Monday. My car could not be sorted whilst at Manchester without me having to stay on so I arranged a vehicle recovery to my usual garage in Bath. The garage will diagnose and sort it as soon as they can but they are very fully booked for some days.

Whilst we may be looking ahead to next year and beyond folk have to realise that I, Dave Turner and Sue Jones have been organising the Avon Sportshall teams for a long time. This was my twenty-fourth year and Dave and Sue even longer. We have to look at continuity planning as noises have been made for a few years that this may be the last.

Encouraging results come about from organising the annual trials which includes previously identifying potential team members from schools events and clubs then the selection process using performance statistics from the trials.

There is the administration of making arrangements and communicating with parents. Hopefully there are two trips each year. One to Torbay and the second to Sportcity Manchester ( Facilities either provided free or at a very modest fee).

So for the Under-15s  I would like to bow out as an adviser to a successor or two and be available to officiate at Torbay and Manchester. There is no reason why the Under-15 Team Manager should have to manage both genders.

If anyone reading this is interested in Team Management for the Under-15 Avon Sportshall Athletics team do contact  me and I would be delighted to explain how things work. We are not looking for a twenty five year commitment but it could be just the opportunity you never imagined  until now.

A full set of results can be found on www.sportshall.org

Sportshall Under-15

36  Solomon Akinyemi
37  Ashya Gray
38  Christian Albon
39  Steve Kerfoot
40  Samuel Akinyemi
41  Lewis Hembrow-McKinley

Hilary Nash 17 April 2018