A valiant defence of the Midland Athletic League title but pipped at the post in the end. The combined Bristol & West/Yate & District team led the league entering the final match of the year by the narrowest of margins from Birchfield and it was all about where we finished up relative to one another for the title. We led Birchfield for about 2/3rds of the day even though we were both in unfamiliar positions of 3rd and 4th, but in the end our injury weakened and smallest team for a while got pipped, but still took a worthy second in the league.
We were either first or second in the league all season confirming we are one of the main players on this league while also knowing how to enjoy ourselves. Through the year we introduced a significant number of new athletes to team athletics from U17’s through seniors and Masters backing up our longer serving contributors.
We always have highlights at every match, but two U17 throwers volunteering themselves for the 3000m steeplechase to try and retain the title is very special. Toby Conibear (Hammer) and Lewis Wall (Discus) were full of enthusiasm before the event and even when the reality of what they were doing hit them in the race, they kept going in real pain and brought home more points home than Birchfield. We had a similar situation at Match 2 in Wolverhampton when 4 female athletes volunteered to cover the 100mH and 400mH hurdles between them. You know you have a team rather than a group of athletes when things like that happen.
Late injuries on top of the ‘August effect’ hit us hard and we had lots of multi-eventing going on as well as athletes being moved unexpectedly to the team. U17 Aaron Belchamber came along to his first match as a guest in the 100m and 400m but was told he was 400m B string when he got on the coach, and then A string an hour before the event to be backed up by M60 Pete Mountain to help keep the points coming in. Daniel Gregory was another debutant who expected to do a hefty four events but ended up doing six with Notts showing great sportsmanship by loaning him a pole to compete in the pole vault.
Tia Jackson is one of our most consistent high performers across multiple events and this match was no different. When asked if she could do one legal High Jump for points, she gladly went off and just stayed ultimately taking second place. Great talent and a great attitude combined.
Dan Brooks has competed in and won all four A string 100m races and also ran every A string 200m race recording two victories. Given the clubs we are up against in this Division that is a fantastic consistently high level of performance.
Lucy Durham and Matt Spicer are two athletes who are always there for us, and this match and season was no different. Lucy covered ‘extra’ events as she has often done over a number of years, and at the other end of the age range, Matt did his normal ‘Mr Versatility’ act of throwing anything that needs thrown.
We rarely reference specific performance levels but some things come along that deserve special mention. Adam Brooks (HJ) cleared 2.00m for the third time this year taking an A string win backed up by Jack Moore winning the B string in one of our many double wins of the day. Both Adam and Jack were multi-eventing as well.
Our U17 Abdi Hasan ran a PB of 1:55.5 for the 800m which is a remarkable time and the face of the runners behind him as he moved away from them was a picture. Abdi also ran the 1500m (SB) and 4x400m relay to celebrate. To continue the theme, Mike Proffitt won the 800m B string, ran the 1500m for fun and then also did the 4x400m relay. Another fine year completed and we look forward to next year where we will see Cannock & Stafford back with us and Abingdon AC as new faces, with Cheltenham & County and Wolves & Bilston being relegated.
Results are now on Power of 10 and the club affiliations are being corrected: https://www.thepowerof10.info/results/results.aspx?meetingid=235489
PB and SB’s on the day are listed below:
Women’s PB’s: Thema Osborne Hendricks (100m), Olivia Knight (100m), Emily Whitaker (400mH), Tia Jackson (=HJ & =LJ), Megan Williams (PV), Jodie Dale (JT)
Women’s SB’s: Ana Maria Duran-Mingo (3000m), Jo Smerdon (DT & JT)
Men’s PB’s: Abdi Hasan (800m), Lewis Wall (3000m & DT), Toby Conibear (3000m & HT), Daniel Gregory (PV), Matt Spicer (JT)
Men’s SB’s: Abdi Hasan (1500m), Jarlath McKenna (1500m & 3000m), Jack Moore (HJ), Archie Davis-Grant (TJ), Daniel Gregory (JT)
Steve Grant, Pete Mountain and Matt Muggeridge