At last the MAL got going albeit in the different form of a competition between geographically local teams known as the Gloucestershire Division, rather than the traditional 6 Divisions. The hope is the normal Divisions will return in 2022. This match was also the first for eight years where we have competed on our own rather than as a combined team with Yate.
The programme was slightly reduced with one jump, throw and race being rotated out of the three match series to help give time and space to accommodate COVID precautions. In this case the Triple Jump, Hammer and steeplechase had a rest but will be back for the last two matches.
Of the 40 athletes competing, 27 were new to the MAL giving us a great expansion of the competing pool for future matches and the first introduction of a senior league for some U17s. There were some great contests and it was yet another opportunity for our athletes to become reacquainted with competitive sport.
There are no league consequences for the team this year but nonetheless a match is a match and congratulations to Yate & District for a clear win. Gloucester AC took 2nd with us in sight as 3rd placed and Cheltenham & County a similar distance behind us. Forest of Dean were 5th with their small team.
We were particularly thin in the men’s field events with only one specialist across all jump and throw events. Middle distance and endurance runners filled a good number of spots to “give it a go for points” and we hoped they enjoyed the novel experience.
Teams are never easy to organise and this was Simon Knibb’s first event as the Bristol & West Team Manager and he did an admirable job that will only get easier. Many thanks to Chris Elson who helped on the day.
With the compression of competitions in the last month, all officials and the Yate stadium staff and volunteers have been run ragged and they deserve our thanks for making this and all other competitions possible.
Midland Athletics League Team Manager