Written by TM
Enthusiasm and optimism from the opening match of the 2012 BAL campaign were tinged with disappointment with the end result of 7th place. There were some very good marks and performances,and plenty of commitment and enthusiasm - and whereas the mere 2 League Points we got leaves us a mountain to climb(and there's plenty of them where we go next!),the margins were very small and proof that the division looks very open . Full Result : Glasgow 306,Basingstoke 289,Southend 285,Blackheath 277,Notts 276,Crawley 270,K&P 267 and Exeter 222,with the full individual details at - www.bal.org.uk
The upgraded Down Grange Sports Complex,accompanied by warm weather,though affected by a blustery crosswind,looked inviting!
Unfortunately,our opening salvos put us into catch-up mode for most of the afternoon. All 8 clubs were competitive in most events,though,like us,were vulnerable at times. After 12 of the 19 contests,we were some way off the pace,with only Exeter adrift,but there was a customary surge from our field eventers and,indeed,from our later track events,and we closed rapidly,but,as seen from the final scores,not quite fast enough to overhaul any of the other 6 clubs.
Our sprinters were in really good form,and indeed had to be - Under 20 Tucker Bryant,though 6th in the A200,slashed his way to a fine PB 21.95;Jordan Smith-Bent clocked 11.24 and 22.32(another PB),Andre Nembhard took the B 100 in 11.08 and,along with Justin Green,they grabbed a speedy 3rd in the 4 x 100 with 42.68 - and we had 6 in the NS 100!
At 400/800,Jamie McCullagh,Danny Eckersley and Chris Hall struggled with the pace but at 1500(Chris Bannon and George Corcoran) and 5000(Thames H&H's Gordon Pearce and Brian Thursby-Pelham,the latter in his first track race for 17 years) we began to get amongst the front runners. Our hurdlers were in good form,with new HCA,Toby Harris showing good technique in both events,whilst Loic Malroux,whose multi-events capabilities,in hindsight,were not nearly used to the full, in the Highs and Tom Parry,on his return to the team after 2 years out with a cruciate ligament injury,with a PB 54.83 over 400,looked form horses. As with the shorter MD events,we were a tad exposed in the 'Chase,but at least we had 2 runners(James Robertson and Andy Arbour) where other clubs did not,and the same exposure was true of the 4 x 400 though Adam Bellis was again customarily aggressive on the anchor leg.
With the exception of the Vault where Gordon Lester improved his SB to 4.20 and Bilen Ahmet(3.80) was again solid despite a wrist injury,the Jumps,with injuries and absences, were our achilles heel and,after our recent strength in those disciplines,we can now see where we have to find a resurgence for the remainder of the season.
The throwers WERE superb - and how many times has that been written! In the Hammer,Gareth Cook and Andy Wheble found the circle far too slow,but got out to 5th and 2nd;Andy then got to grips with the Discus,albeit in the 5th round,to take 2ndA,with Nick Owen 3rdB;Nick excelled then by taking the Shot at 14.39 with Gareth 4th,whilst the piece de resistance was the Javelin again,even with Chris Dack languishing on the touchline! Four double firsts last summer were matched by the redoubtable Felix Hatton(67.58) and William Trimble,on his BAL JT debut,flung the spear out to 55.04 to easily grab the B. Those last two events,as many times,flung us back into the melting pot,but sadly the 50 points garnered fell just short of our necessity.
We'll be looking for considerable improvement,of course,in Scotland on June 30th,and we'll give everyone the best chance we can to pull ourselves right back into the mix,but it will,as always,be doing the very best with the resources,athletic and financial,we can entice across Hadrian's Wall.
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