Written by PJAW
British Athletics League Division 2, Match 4
Kingston, August 8th 2015
On a gloriously hot, sunny day at Kingsmeadow, K&P’s Men made the most of the weather and home comforts with a terrific performance (including several PBs) securing 3rd place on the day and 3rd place overall in BAL Division 2. This is one place better than last year’s excellent finish, and is undoubtedly, the best season ever enjoyed by the team in the modern era (i.e.: post the Kingston AC/Surrey AC/Polytechnic Harriers merger). The result saw us established at 19th in the 20 Top Men’s Teams in the Country and is a fabulous achievement for every athlete in the team and everybody associated with them and the Club.
Kingsmeadow looked in great order for the match, with plenty of wonderful support from Club members and a host of very competent officials leading each event. Even the delay to Nene Valley’s bus on the infamous M25 couldn’t ruffle the feeling of calm organization, as the Field events were put back by 30 minutes to ensure that all the teams started on a level playing field. That being said, Gateshead were severely disadvantaged by this match clashing with a Northern League fixture, resulting in them only sending 6 athletes to defend their honour.
Hammer was the only event to start on time as the Nene throwers had travelled separately and avoided the M25 jam. Here, Club Field Captain, Gareth Cook finished 4th A in a tightly contested field with a strong 50.79m and Andy Wheble hit a PB 44.68m for a well deserved 2nd B, despite appearing to break his Hammer in an early throw. In the Pole Vault, Bilen Ahmet jumped to a season’s best 4.03m for 3rd A and Gordon Lester overcame his mid season run-up yips with a B-string victory (3.83m), maintaining the excellent returns we’ve come to expect for this event in 2015. Long Jump also delivered good points, with Chris Hall (another who’d looked a bit short of his top form of late) finishing 4th A with a good series of jumps topped by 6.76m, and Matt Houlden looking a bit “end of season weary”, but still managing 2nd B (6.36m).
High Jump saw even better results as we welcomed back 2 prodigal sons in the form of Michael Cole and Alex MacIntosh. Michael travelled a long way to be with us from his Army barracks and was rewarded with a comfortable A-string win (1.98m), while Alex jumped a season’s best 1.88m for 2nd B. This was comfortably the best performance from a High Jump pairing since we re-entered the League in 2003. Discus was another great event for us, as Chris Dack threw a pb 46.85m and was unlucky to be narrowly pipped in the later rounds, finishing 2nd A, with Andy Wheble winning the B (40.27m) as K&P once again demonstrated our amazing strength in the Field.
The K&P Track has at times been a cause for concern over the last couple of seasons, but we enjoyed some strong performances in this last match. The hurdles races have been consistently strong for us this season and the Kingsmeadow match was no exception. In the 400H, Tom Parry ran close to his PB for 3rd A (53.88s) with a storming effort on the home straight and Danny Eckersley also showed plenty of fight as he finished 3rd B in 56.34s. Tom also finished an excellent 2nd in the B 110H (16.03s) and Chris Hall showed his consistent quality in the A-string finishing 5th in 15.72s. The 800m has also produced some good results for us this year and this last match gave us some intriguing tactical exercises from our runners. In the A-string, Scott Evans decided to take the race on before the end of the first lap and managed to split the field, running close to his PB (1:54.88) and holding on for 3rd place despite two kickers getting past him on the home straight. The early move was probably astute, but Johnny Duggan’s attempt to lead the B-race from the start might have cost him a place or two, although he ran with huge heart and finished a creditable 4th despite struggling over the last eighty metres (1:57.25).
The sprints have been problem areas for us this season, so it was good to welcome back HCA, Linus Field, for his first outing this year and Elijah Vidal - back from holiday. In the 100m Linus ran one hundredth inside the fastest time by a K&P athlete this season (11.21s), but it was still only good enough for 7th place in a rapid race with a 0.8 tailwind. Elijah had the misfortune to hit a 1.5 headwind, but still managed 4th B in a time (11.37s) close to his legal best and went even better in the 200m to finish 3rd A-string, with 22.77s, and was once again unlucky to face a 1.9 headwind which meant his run was even better than his time suggested. Linus then followed up with a very decent 4th B 200m (23.03s). It was also good to see U17 - Will Stapleton - in the non-scoring 100m. I guess he won’t have encountered too many sub-11s sprinters before, but he ran without fear and I hope he’s pleased with his 12.11s time. In the 400m, U20 - Max Perez-Diaz - stepped up to the A-string without any signs of trepidation. He set off with real intent, but paid for it on the home straight and then hit lactic trouble after the race, but was rewarded with 5th place in a PB-equaling 51.00s, which, being electronic, should probably be valued more than his hand-timed previous mark. Some might say that he went off too fast and it cost him a sub-51s time, but it was good to see him commit so courageously and I’m sure he’ll benefit from the experience over a distance it’s notoriously difficult to learn how to pace. In the B-string, 800m runner Johnny Duggan made his debut over the distance with a creditable 51.65s outing for 6th place.
In the longer distances, James Robertson continued his good form over the 3K Steeplechase barriers, finishing a hard-fought 3rd A in the hot conditions and clocking 10:04.0, and Veteran stalwart, Andy Arbour, stepped into the breach after a long (limbo dancing induced!) injury lay-off in the B, finishing 6th (11:57.5). On the flat, in the 1500m - Tom Heslop (HCA) defied a groin injury, finishing 6th A (4:06.91) and Jon Darby overcame his aversion to the distance to also finish 6th (B) in 4:07.97; and in the 3,000m, U20 - Neil Wellard - also really attacked the race and found the last 3 laps a struggle, but ran close to his PB for 8th A (9:11.02) and B-string, Andy Robinson belied his M45 status with a solid run, finishing 6th in 9:35.68.
Finally on the track came the relays and in the 4x100m, Elijah Vidal, Chris Hall, Humphrey Waddington and Matt Houlden surprised themselves running the fastest K&P time this season (44.26s), but in a 5-team blanket finish they were squeezed out to 6th place. Our 4x400m squad (Tom Parry, Max Perez-Diaz, Elijah Vidal & Linus Field) also ran a season’s best with a classy Grade 1 - 3:24.10, but still finished 5th in a field of super-quick teams.
Back in the Field events, Triple Jump saw Team Manager Humphrey Waddington again surprising himself with 3rd A (13.80m), while Matt Houlden gamely fought his way through the event, despite looking heavy-legged, finishing 2nd B (13.70m). In Shot Putt, star thrower Chris Dack was perhaps smarting from the Discus and couldn’t quite connect to his 15m form, still hitting a very classy 14.76m, but finding himself in the unusual (but laudable) finishing position of 3rd A, after a string of hard-earned victories in Division 2 against excellent opposition. In the B, Club Legend - Nick Owen hit a season’s best 14.29 to win the string and maintain this event as one of the jewels in the K&P crown, but it was probably the Javelin that really produced the champagne moment of the day as William Trimble launched a huge PB 66.82m effort to win the A-string by over 11m - a fitting reward after all his injury setbacks. The versatile Linus Field backed him up ably with 48.41m for 2nd B.
So a day of excellent performances from K&P athletes finished on a real high. TVH (363pts) won on the day, Harrow (343) 2nd, Kingston (329) 3rd, Crawley (270) 4th, Bristol & West (250) 5th, Notts AC (248) 6th, Nene Valley (247) 7th, & Gateshead (69) 8th. The final divisional standings were very similar. TVH were champions (30 League points), Harrow 2nd (28), K&P 3rd (22), Crawley 4th (21), Notts AC 5th (16), Bristol 6th (13), Nene Valley 7th (9) and Gateshead 8th (5).
Many congratulations to everybody who has competed for the team this season, and to their coaches, and to Team Manager - Humphrey Waddington - and assistant & advisor David Barrington. Many thanks also to David for his organizational skills at this match, along with Peter Shilling and all the K&P officials and helpers and all the many officials who supported the meet from other clubs. Finally, many, many thanks to all the supporters who turned out to support the team at Kingsmeadow and throughout the season - you’ve given the team a huge boost and we’re very grateful to you all!
We’ve had a great year and after the SAL and Rosenheim Final have seen the summer to a close, let’s rest a bit and reflect on our achievements with pleasure, then start to work damn hard through the winter to get ourselves in even stronger shape for next season. Let’s set our sights on going even better next year and having a real run at promotion to Division One!
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