As track season draws to a close, the National Athletics League concluded at the NAL Finals weekend in Bedford. B&W were in a close relegation battle in the NAL Plate final, against seven other teams to try and avoid the three relegation spots.
At the NAL final, we unfortunately finished alongside Cardiff on 9 points to finish the season in fifteenth. This meant we joined Cardiff (14th) and Southampton (16th) in being relegated to the Championship.
As soon as the fixtures were announced for this season, we knew we faced a stiff challenge. B&W were only beaten by Glasgow and Swansea for miles travelled to the fixtures this season. We had to travel 85% further than Newham who narrowly avoided relegation in 13th, and nearly 20% further than Cardiff in 14th – who also benefitted from a home fixture at their Leckwith track.
Despite the challenges we faced, a massive thank you is due to all the athletes and officials who competed for Team B&W, and to Tristan for all his efforts in a tough first season as NAL Director.
We caught up with Tristan to pick out a few of his key moments from the season.
I have been really impressed by our athlete’s dedication to help us field four full relay teams every match. We have had athletes step down distances, step up distances and even field athletes pitch in to ensure the relay teams are full.
Congratulations to all our U17’s who stepped up to such a high-level competition! They all did really well, and all were good enough to compete at that level. A particular shout out to Ella Bowell, Mackenzie Ritson, Ryan Brady, and Delleah Belgrave.
Thank you to everyone who participated in every team, athletes, and officials
Thank you to Tom Foxon for helping with transport
Thank you to all who competed in an event that's not their own!
Thank you to the two Bens for helping field my teams.
In my first year as Team Manager, I have done my best to lead by example, doing all 5 events in every NAL match. I hope this is demonstrates how far we all need to go for the club to ensure we perform to our best in the National Athletics League!
Bristol & West have enough talent to compete in the Premier Division. Unfortunately, I was not able to field my best team at a single match in 2022. To get back into the Premier Division - and stay there - we will need greater commitment to the NAL in 2023. It is the highest-level competition that the club can offer. This means that any athlete looking to push themselves or wanting to compete at the highest possible level should try and make themselves available for the NAL fixtures and prioritise the NAL over other fixtures which gain them easy victory. Growth occurs from a competitive contest, which the NAL provides only a handful of times each year.
Bristol and West will be back next year in the NAL Championship to fight to win back our place in the Premiership.