After our Covid influenced regional league last year it was back to full programme of top division competition with an opening home match at Yate.
We welcomed Birchfield, Gloucester, Notts, Rugby & Northampton and Tamworth and combinations of exam season, lower athlete numbers after Covid and I guess the travel, all teams bar Gloucester were down on numbers.
Gloucester romped home in first place (461 points) with an athlete in every scoring slot as well as great performances matching the sort of turnout they had all last season. We followed up about 100 points further back, Notts about the same behind us and there was a proper bun fight between Birchfield, Rugby & Northampton and Tamworth in the final three positions.
All in all, this was a decent start with great performances from the team we had on the day (see PB’s and SB’s below). We know that Birchfield and Notts in particular will come back strong and Tamworth and Rugby & Northampton have home matches coming so we will need to stay on it to maintain our top Division status.
We had 43 individual athletes competing and it was great to welcome 11 new people to the team. The team of officials was well into double figures and included support from Yate & District AC to cover areas we struggle with and also operate the photo-finish and EDM equipment. Thanks to all of them and also Hilary Nash who travelled with the Yate team as a Timekeeper to free up Yate officials to operate the photo-finish for us. It is worth noting Rugby & Northampton were penalised 15 points for providing insufficient officials. As well as making the day harder to run, that loss can take you down a position when it is tight.
Talking of officials, Andrea Garcia Lock, Henrietta Anstey and Emma Clarke combined officials’ duties with competing to get us valuable points with Season Bests in every event. Andrea pondered over joining Hen in the 400m Hurdles over a coffee 30 minutes before the race and then also did the 100m Hurdles while Emma ran the steeplechase on her own. Must be something about obstacle races.
The league have introduced the opportunity to gain bonus team points for exceptional performances relative to IAAF standards. Josh Schrijver (first time in the team and throwing up a weight) and Andrew Thomas (many many times in the team) earned us extra points in the men’s Discus. Great work guys and a brilliant example of the youth and experience we have in this team.
A look at the PB and SB’s shows the high level people were producing on the day and it was certainly a day for the sprinters amongst a whole host of others:
Women’s PB’s – Ella Bowell (100m), Maria Jones (400m), Amena Kofi (400m), Clemmy Houlden (400m, 800m), Amy Nicholls (1500m), Maria Townsend (SP), Lily Bailey (JT)
Women’s SB’s – Amena Kofi (100m), Hannah Pollock (800m), Maria Jones (1500m), Clare Jolliffe (5000m), Emma Jolliffe (5000m), Andrea Garcia-Lock (100mH, 400mH), Hen Anstey (400mH), Emma Clarke (2000m S/C), Andrea Jesudason (LJ, TJ), Maria Townsend (HT, JT)
Men’s PB’s – James Osola (100m, 200m), Josh Maggs (200m), Ryan Brady (200m), Tristan Jamieson (200m), Luke Burgess (400m), Sam Johnson (400m, 800m), Ollie Robertson-Kurd (1500m), Lee Gawler (5000m), Alex Mitchell (LJ, TJ), Josh Schrijver (SP, DT), Ruben Brady (SP, DT), Tim White (JT)
Men’s SB – Josh Maggs (100m), Ryan Brady (100m), Alex Fields (100m, 400m), Mark Ellery (100m, 200m), Neil Kennedy (800m), Thomas Halling (1500m), Tim White (400mH, 2000m S/C), George Hunter (LJ), Andrew Thomas (DT)