id1508-BAL Nat 3 M2 Abingdon June 8th 2013 Report

Written by PJAW   

Peter Waddington's words on a Good Day in deepest Oxfordshire.

Full Results - www.bal.org.uk

British Athletics League Division 3, Match 2

Abingdon, June 8th 2013

The K&P Men backed up their excellent 2nd place at Cardiff with an even better performance in Abingdon. Once again they finished 2nd behind Bristol & West, but narrowed the match points gap considerably, whilst fighting off a stronger challenge from Nene Valley Harriers, who still languish just outside the promotion places.

The omens didn’t look good going into the match. Team Manager, David Barrington, had to reshuffle his pack as a few quality athletes were forced out late in the week. Then the team bus was delayed, depriving club record pole vaulter - Gordon Lester - of warm-up time, leading to him no-heighting in difficult gusting winds. Our 2nd string, Bilen Ahmet, thus became the “A” and vaulted to a season’s best 3.60m, but nevertheless our points return suffered a dip from Cardiff’s level with no B points.

The match was a double-header with the UK Women’s League, so the timetable was rejigged, with Discus first of the throws at Abingdon’s back-up circle, outside the main arena. This competition lifted K&P spirits again, with both Andy Wheble (45.04m – 2nd A) and Chris Dack (42.68m – 1st B) throwing superbly and taking advantage of the wind to post impressive pbs. They couldn’t have picked a better meet to do it!

The windy 400H was once again a tough one for our lightweight hurdler Danny Eckersley, but he ran well (56.99 - 5th A) and looks in shape for a really good time if he ever gets to compete in calm conditions. Loic Malroux was pressed into emergency service as the B and ran strongly to finish 5th (59.16) despite nursing sore heels after his Cardiff Triple Jump victory. In the 800m the line-ups proved a lot tougher than at Cardiff, with both Bristol & Nene Valley strengthening and thus able to drop their impressive Cardiff A-strings into the B race. In consequence, Jon Darby had to really fight for 6th A, despite a well-judged race and improved time. In the B, Chris Bannon, returning from a debilitating virus that has held back his season, gamely warmed up for his 3K with a 5th place finish and pb time.

In the Field, Andy Wheble carried his good DT form into the Hammer, winning the B (42.55m) and in the A - Men’s Field Captain, Gareth Cook, kept up his consistently high quality throwing to take 3rd (50.38m). Long Jump saw the promising debut of HCA and outgoing Cambridge University AC President, Matthew Houlden, who tweaked his knee in the warm-up, but still won comfortably with 6.72m. Chris Hall also taking the B with 6.50m. With a gusting wind behind them, it was disappointing to see half our rival competitors failing to hit 6m!

You have to feel sorry for our sprinters, who yet again faced howling headwinds in the 100m. Jordan Smith-Bent had the worst of it, finishing 4th (A) into a -6.9! Tom Butcher was slightly more fortunate in comfortably winning the B and only facing a -3.4. Both went on to place 2nd in their 200m races, Jordan (A – 22.42

-3.4) and Tom (B – 22.95 -3.2). This season, they’ve taken our sprinting to new heights and have become consistent points machines for the team.

The Steeplechase saw another BAL debutant, Richard Mathie, who finished 3rd (B) in 11.20.50, ably backing up James Robertson, 5th (A) 10.24.64, who is looking more and more at home over the barriers. Both also bravely covered for our lack of Middle Distance runners in further races, but suffered in strong fields, with Richard (1500m) and James (3K) each bringing up the rear for a hard-earned point. Jon Darby was another hard man who doubled up in the 1500m, finishing 6th (A) in 4.10.04, and Chris Bannon produced the Middle Distance performance of the day winning the 3K (A) in fine Ethiopian-type style, sitting on the leader until the bell and then kicking hard to cross the line comfortably clear of the opposition. It was a pleasure to see him standing composed, watching his rivals come in after him and collapse on the track as they did so, exhausted!

The 110H looked likely to prove more tricky, with no specialists available and the headwind blasting, but Chris Hall made light of a -3.9 to finish 6th (A) in 16.86 and Loic Malroux fought into a -4.2 for 5th (B) in 17.30. In the Field, Shot Putt was scheduled earlier than usual, but everything else about it was routine as Nick Owen won the A (14.02m) imperiously, and Chris Dack whirled like a dervish for 2nd (B) with 12.42m. Chris then went on to throw his best Javelin distance for years (since joining us 1st Claim), hitting 59.75m for 2nd (A), with his wing-man, the equally able Will Trimble, winning the B (51.48).

High Jump wasn’t quite so successful. Matt Houlden cleared 1.70m (7th A) and Bilen Ahmet 1.65m (7th B), both looking capable of more, but not quite able to deliver. Matt’s knee was becoming more of a worry, so it was a relief that nobody was really able to push him in the Triple Jump, which he won with his first completed jump (13.67m), passing the rest of the trials. Chris Hall also won the B (12.99m), utilizing a bit more run-up speed for his best effort, but still very little step phase!

The 400m was probably the high point of an excellent meeting for K&P. It featured a third debutant - HCA - Tim Kuria, who not only won his maiden race ahead of a very classy A-string field, but did so with a massive pb of 47.94! The ever-reliable Justin Green backed him up well in the B (3rd – 51.10) and then went on to combine with Andre Nembhard, Jordan Smith-Bent and Tom Butcher in the 4x100m, finishing 2nd in 43.03, another excellent relay time. The 4x400m produced 2nd place once again, and yet another classy time (3.20.43), as our 4th debutant on the day, HCA Joe Gaynor, combined with Chris Hall, Jon Darby and Tim Kuria to great effect. Joe got us off to a great start, then Chris and Jon kept us in the hunt with Tim running a fine anchor leg and only just failing to run down the leader by 3 hundredths of a second.

It was a great day, somewhat spoiled by our hosts being unable to keep on top of the results and leaving us hanging for 24 hours before we learned that we’d finished 2nd on 343pts, behind Bristol & West (350) and ahead of Nene Valley Harriers (329). This places us 2 League points behind Bristol, but 2 ahead of Nene in the promotion places. Congratulations to all the team for a wonderful effort and to David Barrington for a well played hand! Let’s keep it going for the home match - 6th July!

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