Updated: Jun 12
A cold, wet and sometimes windy Tamworth welcomed 5 officials and 21 athletes to match 2 at the back end of a school half-term, extended bank holiday, the middle of exam season and the day after a club National Athletic League (NAL) match.
So few athletes trying to fill 86 competitive slots was always going to put us on the back foot for the team competition, but not for the individual performances, effort, and sense of adventure. Of the 21 athletes there, 16 had either had a PB or SB. Thanks everyone, it was a great day out, bar the weather.
Performance wise we need to start with Elaina Gard who was all over the place throwing the javelin, trying to clear the high jump bar, romping round the 3000m steeplechase to a new Division 1 record, and then joining in the trial mixed 4x400m relay. I am sure Elaina influenced Sam Johnson and Lee Gawler in having a go at the Javelin. Great effort guys, but looking at the distances thrown you might want to ask Elaina for some tips.
Also doing four events was Maria Townsend, giving some representation in the women’s throwing events, and she had been competing at the NAL the day before in Kingston. To complete the day she also helped out with our field official duties. Sarah Long had an injury niggle so didn’t run the sprints but joined Maria in the unfamiliar Shot Putt and supported our slim team of field officials.
Andrea Jesudason also helped the field officials in between winning both the Long Jump and Triple Jump competitions. Brilliant team contribution all round.
In addition to Maria Townsend, we had a number of club heroes at both the NAL and then again at our match where they all did multiple events. Thanks Katy Roy (2 events), Maria Jones (3 events) and Luke Burgess (2 events).
Neil Kennedy led our charge in the 800m and team newcomer Matt Brydon gave the 3000m steeplechase a good go and finished despite hurting himself mid-race.
Our sprint teams were represented by Willa Gibb (100mH) and Tamara Jackson (100m) who are both mid-exams along with Yusef Hussein and newcomer to the team Euco Lima. Fine performances all round and when Yusef was too delayed by traffic to be allowed in the Long Jump, he swapped straight over to fill a slot in the 100m along with Euco.
The 4x100m relay team was eclectic with Yusef, and Euco combining with George Hunter after his Long and Triple Jump and Mr Adventurous himself, middle distance runner and part time Javelin thrower, Sam Johnson. It was great to watch and the relief you all showed when you found out it was another team that had been DQ’d showed how much you cared.
Clare Jolliffe has been a great servant to this team and was there again running the individual 400m, 3000m and mixed relay. Cadie Hibbard was due for her first outing in the team keeping Clare company in all three events, but after getting back to Bristol at 4am due to a delayed flight, couldn’t make the 400m but still drove up to run in the 3000m and then the mixed relay.
The A and B mixed 4x400m relays were introduced as a trial but the teams were fairly mismatched and all bar one quartet ran the same order so there was no great showstopping climax to the day. We were down to the last athletes standing but still got two teams out with Ben Maliphant and Tom Halling combining with Maria Jones and Elaina, and then Lee Gawler and Daniel Thornton combining with Clare and Cadie. I am not sure if these are the first B&W mixed relay teams but if they are, we have new club records to be proud off as well as a brilliant team effort.
Thank you to John Deaton for taking the lead with our field officials. John is an Avon County official and makes an amazing contribution to our club taking on the Field Referee at our home match and then travelling up for this one in addition to the many other events he supports. Ian Moss was another NAL and MAL double header hero officiating at Kingston and then doing the same at Tamworth for our match. Bev Barrett has had difficulty making events due to work commitments and it was great to see her back in Timekeeping action. Jon Jackson completed our officials line up as well as providing team management back-up.
We have two matches left (17th July at Rugby and 13th August at Notts) and currently sit fourth out of six teams in the league. Gloucester are good and gone with all other teams close enough to be in a five way relegation fight with two going down. I think we are perfectly poised to romp up the league to safety if we can get a bigger team out. I will be coming out for availability for the Rugby match at the end of June.
A look at the PB and SB’s shows the high level of performance people were producing on the day:
Women’s PB’s – Clare Jolliffe (400m), Elaina Gard (3000m S/ch & JT), Sarah Long (SP)
Women’s SB’s – Maria Jones (800m), Katy Roy (1500m), Clare Jolliffe (3000m), Cadie Hibbard (3000m), Andrea Jesudason (TJ), Maria Townsend (DT)
Men’s PB’s – Luke Burgess (3000m), Lee Gawler (3000m & JT)), Matt Brydon (3000m S/ch), Sam Johnson (JT)
Men’s SB – Euco Lima (100m & 200m), Thomas Halling (1500m), Daniel Thornton (1500m), George Hunter (LJ)