BAL captain Alex Daley muses on a season of ups and downs which ended with the men taking the Division 3 title.
What a crazy season that was… A few days have passed since our final match of the year and it seems only fitting to give a full year round off.
Final Division 3 standings:
Bristol & West AC: 25.0
Notts AC: 23.0
Bedford & County: 19.5
Trafford AC: 19.0
Nene Valley H: 17.0
Enfield & Haringey AC: 10.5
Southend AC: 9.0
Match 1: Leigh
The clash with BUCS and last minute drop outs meant that it was a rocky start to the season to say the least. Not exactly how I hoped my spell as captain would start, we finished the first match in 7th. The smallest team we would field all season meant that it was all hands on deck. The point difference between 7th and 8th would prove crucial in providing a buffer later in the season. We got
away with it, but we will not survive for long in Division 2 if we have a day like this. Total athletes: 13.
Match 2: Chelmsford:
When a team goes from 13 to 20 athletes we can expect a boost, that boost was in the form of a 43.5 point victory over the home club. We were absolutely dominant on the track and with the field stepping up with 30 points more than previous match. From 7th to joint 2nd. Total athletes: 20
Match 3: Bedford (BIG weekend):
Match 3 is always an interesting one, with all leagues held at the same venue on the same day. They say “you’re only as good as your last match”, and that’s just how it went down. This time, a 45 point advantage on the home team. A great effort saw us take the top seat and pin a target on our backs. Total athletes: 21
Match 4: Notts:
It’s worth noting that in every match this year, the home team has outperformed themselves and not failed to finish in the top 2. In my post match 3 analysis I outlined Notts as a real threat and that proved accurate. Notts were able to score an outrageous 388 points in the final match, gapping 2nd place by 63 points. The key thing here, 2nd place was the Red and White vest of Bristol. With huge change in the scores in the final match we saw a complete change in the table apart from who headed the leaderboard. That means we remained top of the league and secured the league title. Total Athletes: 23
Before delving into the athletes who made this happen I want to touch on the team management. Roger, who has already given an enormous amount of time to the club in his position, has been team manager for a number of years. Despite (much to my annoyance) not been persuaded to do a 100mN/S, no one has been more instrumental in the performance of this team. On behalf of the team I would like to that Roger for making this happen. Being team manager is not a glamorous job, in fact I think he probably spent most of his time on the phone to hire care companies and hotels than anything else.
So, for the athletes…
As per tradition we have 3 awards, this year they went to:
Clubman of the year:
Present at every match, competing in 100m, 200m, Javelin, Shot, High Jump, 4×100 and 4×400. Callum joined Bristol & west as a higher claim this year and has proved an incredible asset to the team. We will sign Callum as a first claim member this winter and look forward to many a season with him.
Performance of the year:
Awarded for outstanding performances at British league matches. Dajon (new to the team this year) took almost 4 tenths of a second off his 110m hurdles PB to win his debut race back in June. His first sub 16s clocking aided to a huge team win that day.
National Athlete of the year:
Mike, present for match 3 has had a fantastic season on the track. 4th place at British Champs saw Mike as the obvious recipient for this award. He completed the tough 15,3k double for us in the crucial match 3 to help secure our 2nd win of the season.
This year’s League winning team:
Team manager: Roger Brocklesby
Team Captain: Alex Daley
I wish to also mention:
Abby Miles, who has made a position for herself within the team and is now regarded as an expected on the team sheet. Attending all 4 matches this year she has provided great coverage of the season as well as support on the day.
Scott C Bajere, our resident wheel man. From changing tyres to lugging half the team around when things don’t go to plan. Without Scott we would have been in some rather hot water this year. He certainly got more than he signed up for this year.
Whilst I was counting up the number of matches each athlete competed in, Roger made me aware of 2 stats and I feel recognition is needed:
Sam Boulton, who competes for the red and white in the Disc, Shot and hammer has competed for us in 13 matches in succession. The only reason his consecutive match streak doesn’t go back further is his commitments to English Schools.
As a club we are incredibly indebted to Sam and his Dad, Darren Paul Boulton for their unwavering commitment to the team over the last few years. Sam competes in events that as a club we do not hold depth- it would not be untrue to state that without Sam we would not be where we are as a team.
Darren is our eyes and ears on the throws, and is another integral part of the team.
Caspar Eliot has been present for 15 of the last 16 matches and goodness knows how many before that. His ability to cover the middle has been instrumental in the club’s successes.