Written by Chair
Our Chairman,Peter Waddington's fully-warranted glowing report on our team's success north of the border.
Full results at - www.bal.org.uk
British Athletics League National Division 3, Match 1
Glasgow, June 4th 2011
The long journey to Glasgow for our opening fixture was a daunting prospect, but the K&P Men more than rose to the occasion. We finished in 2nd place, only 19pts behind our hosts and a huge 79pts ahead of Channel Islands in 3rd. Despite being narrowly defeated, this was a magnificent performance. Division 3 is a lot stronger this year and every point had to be fought for, with our athletes rising to the occasion in fine style.
Team Manager, David Barrington, did a remarkable job in persuading so many to travel, and warm thanks must be extended to Andy Arbour, whose excellent logistics skills made such a complex excursion seem smooth and seamless. Special mention should also go to non-traveller, Maurice Joyce, who selflessly volunteered to drive the team minibus for the Gatwick drop-off and pick-ups, and also to those athletes and their families who negotiated their way to Scotstoun independently, and finally to the several fundraisers and donors who contributed to the trip.
Arriving in Glasgow on a balmy Friday night, we were regaled with tales of sun and 26 degrees of heat. Saturday was a very different story. We faced clouds and persistent wind, gusting up to 29mph. It was very chilly, but at least the stadium was an impressive one, with a cheery bright blue track and the welcome refuge of a warm indoor straight.
The day commenced with 3 Field events, Hammer, Long Jump and Pole Vault. All are strong areas for K&P and delivered good performances with an excellent points return. The Hammer competition was really strong across the A strings and co-Men’s-captain, Gareth Cook, unusually found himself finishing in 5th place despite some very decent throws. Luckily, Andy Wheble was able to take advantage of some weaker B’s and redress the balance with a win. Meanwhile, the Pole Vault had to be moved to a back-up position just off the far straight (with the run-up on the track), due to the strong cross winds. With the wind now at their backs, Gordon Lester (A) and Bilen Ahmet (B) proved an excellent pairing, despite the competition suffering an enforced break as the 400 Hurdles were run. Both finished second,on borrowed poles,with Gordon breaking his PB/Club U20 record at 4.40m, just 5cm short of the Club Open mark. In LJ, our jumpers took full advantage of the wind as David Cook worked his way back to imperious form, winning with 7.38m, and co-Men’s-captain - Humphrey Waddington - eased back into serious post-operative BAL action with 6.71m for 2nd (B). Both look as though they have a lot more to come.
The Track opened with the 400H, where Matt Field (A) and Danny Eckersley (B) faced not only a fearsome wind in the home straight, but enough high quality athletes to make even Matt pause for breath and try some momentary silent contemplation. Matt improved his (already very useful) PB to 54.91, despite the conditions, but it was still only enough for 5th place. Unlike Matthew, Danny doesn’t carry much ballast, so the wind made life very difficult for him, as he finished 4th. He was disappointed with the time, but he will get a lot faster as the weather improves and is very highly valued for his guts and reliability. The next event – 800m – was expected to be a struggle. Jamie McCullagh had recently returned from an African trip having gained a violent stomach disorder and lost a lot of weight in consequence, while 400m specialist, Adam Bellis, was asked to fill in the B, after our first two choices dropped out of the team. It seemed unfair to expect too much of them, but Jamie ran a canny race to finish 4th (A) and Adam picked up 2pts for 7th (B).
In the Field, both Tariq Fadare and Maris Kuklis went into the High Jump on a training-lite programme, but Tariq still eased into 2nd (A) with 1.90m and Maris scraped over 1.75m for 4th (B). In the Discus circle, Nick Owen hit some form with 40.60m for 3rd (A) and Andy Wheble produced another solid throw of 37.70m for 2nd(B). Humphrey Waddington also doubled up with a 14.09m Triple Jump for 3rd (A), alongside Tariq Sheikh (B), making his BAL debut. Tariq found the conditions hard to master, but thought of the team and importantly, got a safe one in for the points (5th).
Another BAL debutant – Ciaran Mackey, from the historic Clonliffe club in Dublin – made a big contribution with a hard-fought 400m 3rd place (A) in 49.69, a great effort in the conditions. Unfortunately, Adam Omisore couldn’t match it in the B race. Struggling to hear the sotto-voiced lady-starter in the howling gale, he wasn’t properly “set” when the gun went and was rather perturbed to see all the other sprinters haring away from him at a rate of knots. Sadly, it didn’t occur to him to set off after them. Instead he stood up to get a better look, before wandering off to the side of the track, bewildered. By the time he’d returned to his lane and commenced his lap, he already had the letters “DQ” by his name and K&P had a zero in the points column.
Prior to the agony and the ecstasy of the 400m, we had some other very useful Track races. After a modest start to the season, our sprinters are beginning to hit some form. Perhaps hardened by the Kingston headwinds, they thrived in the conditions. Justin Green came 3rd (100m – A) with Andre Nembhard 2nd (100m – B). Later, Jordan Smith-Bent finished 2nd (200m – A), with Victor Nwagbara 1st (200m – B). I won’t give their times as they were running into winds ranging from -2.5 to -3.7, but they delivered great points on the day. Also thriving in the wind, Matt Field interrupted his weekend-long monologue for just long enough to dominate the A 110 Hurdles, winning by nearly a second from his nearest rival. Danny Eckersley found the B event more of a struggle, having been press-ganged into it for the team, but finished a creditable 4th.
The Javelin and Shot represented two further events where K&P have a tradition of strength and they didn’t disappoint on the day. In the JT, Felix Hatton was another athlete working his way back towards top form and his 69.77m throw (1st – A) was a season’s best. He was very well supported by Chris Dack, with 53.10m (1st – B), and thus Javelin produced our only double win of the day. Shot Putt was nearly as rewarding, with the redoubtable Nick Owen (14.74m) and Gareth Cook (11.54m) taking 2nd in the A and B strings respectively.
Back on the Track, in the 3K Steeplechase, Tom Beedell faced a pretty decent field and ran very close to his PB, despite the testing winds, to finish 2nd (A); and James Robertson, looking more and more strong and confident over the barriers, knocked around 10 seconds off his PB for 3rd(B). Tom put in a big effort for the team by doubling-up the ‘chase with the 1500m only an hour later, where he finished bravely in 4th (B). Also in the 1500m, Craig Price put his on-going quest for romance on hold to compete this weekend, finishing 6th (A) with a decent time for his first serious race of the season. His body is probably more of a canvass than it is a temple, but it is to be hoped that EasyJet got him back to Kingston in good enough time for him to trawl the clubs to find somebody who might appreciate it.
In the 5K, Jud Hough looked well short of full fitness, but ran a clever race for team points, picking off a couple in the A, with Andy Arbour dogging out a personal duel in the B slot and finishing 5th. The day was rounded off by two strong 2nd places in the relays, with Justin Green, David Cook, Jordan Smith-Bent and Victor Nwagbara (4x100m - 43.13) and Jamie McCullagh, Adam Bellis, Adam Omisore, and Ciaran Mackey (4x400m - 3:23.68) doing the honours.
This was undoubtedly the best performance by a K&P Men’s team since we re-entered the BAL. We had our longest journey yet, but managed to get a party of 38 (including hardy supporters) up there and scored a record K&P points tally, crushing everybody, but the home team. Furthermore, the standard of the opposition was higher than usual in this division, especially with Glasgow’s ability to pull in top athletes from clubs all over Scotland and Channel Islands’ rumoured sponsorship incentives. There might be a case for us awarding caps!
It is now very important that we maintain momentum and focus. We should win promotion if we can keep consistent. Last year we missed our chance, as performances wavered after another great start. This year we look even better, but the opposition is strong enough to punish us if we show any sign of complacency. Let’s keep on pushing. Glasgow will have to do all the travelling from now on, so let’s put them under pressure and challenge for the divisional championship.
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