id1271-BAL Nat 3 M2 Yeovil 2nd July 2011 Report

Written by PJAW   

Good news from Somerset

Full results - www.bal.org.uk

British Athletics League Division 3, Match 2
Yeovil, July 2nd 2011

The K&P Men triumphed in Yeovil, putting in an amazing performance to edge out the powerful and competitive Glasgow City team by a mere 2 points. This was rightly described as “phenomenal” by David Barrington, the mastermind behind the team, and was encapsulated by Felix Hatton’s BAL Man of the Match-winning performance, as he destroyed a decent (if overly noisy) field and smashed his own Surrey County record with a huge 72.26m throw.

Felix’s victory was all the more remarkable, given that his fitness to compete was in considerable doubt until late on Friday. He has had to go through various reconstructive surgery procedures, prolonged rehab’, and has suffered so many setbacks that an athlete of lesser character would certainly have thrown in the towel. Both he and his hugely supportive family deserve enormous respect and are a great credit to the Club.

Alongside Felix in the Javelin, Chris Dack won the “B” (49.00m) for a match-turning double victory, with both Glasgow’s athletes finishing last. The other double victory came on the Track in the 400m, where proud Irishman – Ciaran Mackey – broke his personal best to take the “A” (48.62) whilst in the “B” (as team-satirist Matt Field pointed out), Chris Hall appeared to break his 200m pb out of the blocks, but somehow hung on to take the win despite his over-exuberant start.

In fact the whole day was a remarkable one, with our athletes in fantastic form and producing pb’s and season’s bests all over the arena as they scrapped for every point. It was a fine sight, and the sunny weather and friendly and informal atmosphere created by the Yeovil officials combined to make it a most enjoyable day.

In the Field, David Cook led the way in a strangely subdued Long Jump competition, comfortably winning the “A” (7.10m). Humphrey Waddington couldn’t quite match him in the “B”, having led throughout, but getting pipped in the last round. Humphrey channelled his frustration into the Triple Jump, where 14.35m was easily his best mark since coming back from ankle surgery and placed him 2nd “A”. Ben White also placed 2nd (“B”) with 13.13m and both look as if there’s lots more to come as they enjoy more training time in the university holidays.

Gordon Lester was narrowly beaten into 2nd (“A”) in the Pole Vault (4.20m), but looks like he has the K&P record within his range, and Bilen Ahmet won the “B” (3.80m) on a brief stop-over, en route to a wedding in Milton Keynes. High Jump was also a happy hunting ground, where Tariq Fadare got back from Nigeria just in time to compete, coming 3rd - “A”, allowing Maris Kuklis to win the “B” with a season’s best 1.80m.

In the heavy throws, the doughty Gareth Cook/Nick Owen combination kept the points ticking over. Gareth came 3rd in the “A” Hammer (49.17m), 4th in the “B” Discus and 3rd in the “B” Shot (11.92m). Nick was a little down on his very best form, but still managed 4th in the unaccustomed “B” HT, 6th Discus - “A” (39.25m), and 3rd Shot – “A” (14.09m).

On the Track, our runners made hay… In the 100m “A”, Justin Green fought back after looking marginally slow out of his blocks, and finished 3rd (11.13). Tightening under pressure, Andre Nembhard, still coping with a niggle, hung on for 2nd - “B” after a great start (11.39). In the “A” 200m, Jordan Smith Bent looked rather like he was out for a stroll around the bend, but seemed to remember it was a race as he hit the straight and looked very sharp as he ran down the field into 5th (22.62). Victor Nwagbara started the “B” race more aggressively, taking the win in a slightly slower 22.91.

In the 800m, despite a dodgy toe, Jamie McCullagh was able to draw on all his years of experience to keep in the hunt, finishing 3rd (1.56.01). By contrast - debutant, Jonathan Darby, showed plenty of promise in the “B”, but may have run a little “green” in leading out the rest, yet fought gamely to take 4th. Craig Price adopted the same front-running tactics in the 1500m. He was rewarded with a pb 4.02.03 for 3rd “A” – and it’s great to see him starting to look like the athlete he was before injury and calories got the better of him. Perhaps he’ll celebrate with another tattoo? In the “B” it was good to see George Corcoran back in competition for the first time this summer. He was disappointed with his run, but he also ran a pb (4.04.84) and his 3rd place made it a great return to the team.

Just prior to this match, the Middle Distance squad suffered a big double-blow, with 2 key athletes dropping out. Two men volunteered to shoulder the extra responsibility and workload – Tom Beedell and Andy Robinson. They performed with guts, determination, and a lot of class, especially as Tom was carrying a virus and Andy is an M45! In the Steeplechase, Tom hung-in as the pace hotted up and then produced a storming finish for 2nd place (“A”), knocking nearly 6 seconds off his pb with 9.29.62. Andy also kept at it in the “B”, finishing 3rd on 10.06.83. They then went on to the 3K, where Tom fought hard for 4th - “A” (8.52.55) and Andy reeled-in several runners who set off at too strong a pace, finishing 3rd - “B” (9.13.72). The team owes them a debt of gratitude, along with Andy’s wife and family, who agreed to loan him to us for the day despite a big school function.

In the 400 Hurdles, we welcomed back top HCA Toby Ulm, for a mouth-watering clash with Glasgow’s excellent David Martin. On the day, Martin just shaded it, but he needed a pb to do it and it probably would have been a different result if Toby hadn’t been hampered by a recent injury. Toby finished 2nd – “A” (51.96). In the “B”, Danny Eckersley had been competing all week in the Island Games (representing Isle of Wight), where he came close to a pb in his heat with 55.04. Sadly, the workload caught up with him at Yeovil, and he faded to 4th as he tired in the straight, but we look forward to seeing him in his best form again at Kingsmeadow.

Danny’s fatigue unexpectedly saw Humphrey Waddington hooked out of the Triple Jump to run a “B” 110 Hurdles, where he surprised even himself with a 17.22 pb for 3rd place, keeping on running at the end, to get round to the pit on the back straight for his next jump. Before him, we witnessed another terrific “A” 110H victory from Matt Field, athletics’ own answer to David Haye, but able to deliver a bit more punch to back up the chat… Matt was yet another who broke his pb, with an excellent 14.77, and it looks like there’s more to come if he can avoid drifting back into tipping the scales at a weight more suited to a young water-buffalo.

The relays were both thrilling for very different reasons. In the 4x100m, the squad diced with total disaster. Justin Green, Victor Nwagbara, Jordan Smith Bent, and Andre Nembhard are all individually fast, but collectively they struggled a bit to get to grips with the technicalities of baton changing, take-over zones and check-marks, finishing 4th with 43.81. They look capable of much more. The 4x400m was thrilling because we so nearly got the better of a very powerful Glasgow unit. Chris Hall, Adam Bellis, Toby Ulm and Ciaran Mackey ran their socks off, but just got pipped at the end, finishing 2nd in 3.18.23.

It was a tense wait for the announcement of the final score and we feared that the win might just have eluded us. The scenes were jubilant when we heard that we had finished on a massive 394 points to Glasgow’s 392. Our two Clubs are dominating the division. Even more joy ensued when we realised that Swansea had beaten Channel Islands, meaning that K&P and Glasgow have opened up a 4 point gap on our nearest promotion rivals. The next match is at home, but we are going to need to be at full strength, and fighting just as hard, if we are to beat Glasgow again and make our bid for the divisional title. In the meantime let’s enjoy reflecting on what we achieved at Yeovil. Congratulations to everybody involved, athletes and supporters!

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