id1983-SOUTHERN ATHLETICS LEAGUE Division 2 West – St Albans Match 3, June 15th

Written by Alex and the team managers, Izzy, Nicole and Ho   


We came into this match the weakest of all 16 teams within our division. University, exams and travel distances kept many of our athletes from being able to compete, so we struggled. We had a stronger team coming into this match, being able to fill almost all the events. But we were up against some strong opponents; mainly Newbury, currently 2nd in the league. Train delays put a momentary pause on the team momentum, as did Will Stapleton thinking 10am was an acceptable time to wake up. No matter, everyone arrived in due course and ready for the day of competing, or multi-eventing for some.

NB Bare in mind there was no wind reading taken so please take these results with some discretion.

Outstanding performances

The scoring system helps to compare performances between events and highlight some of the outstanding performances of the match. The top 10 performances from the men and women reveal some great individual results. For the men, Gareth Cook’s hammer throw of 52.70m (a season’s best!) took 4th place and a PB run of 15.1s in the 110mH for Alex Parkinson took 8th place.

The women, however, dominated their competition, taking 6 of the 10 spots. Mae “BUCS 400mH Gold Medallist” Thompson produced a 10th place score with her 400mH win, Louisa Stoney takes 5th and 6th with her 100m and 200m runs, and most remarkably Pippa Wingate takes 3rd and 4th with her shot and discus performances and 1st overall (men and women) with her hammer throw – huge congratulations!

Women’s team

On both the track and field, there were many winning performances. Louisa Stoney took wins in the 100m and 200m (both PBs), Mae Thompson won the 400mH and 400m, Isabella Shepherd-Evans won her 800m and B string 400m (both PBs), Ellie Arnfield won her B string 200m and 400mH, and fellow SAL manager Jo Richardson won her B string 100mH. In the field, Rhianna Reynolds won in the LJ and TJ and Pippa Wingate in the HJ, Javelin, Shot, Discus and Hammer – all amazing performances! There was also a huge amount of altruism and team-spirit (some may say insanity) in both the women and the men, many people taking on events outside of their usual repertoire. Hannah Lester and Isabella competing across 4 events, Mae, Rhianna and Pippa in 5, and heptathlete-for-a-day Ellie Arnfield ran across 7 events.

Hopefully this inspires some of you younger athletes to compete and help out these girls for a day in something you don’t usually do to help get the club some points – everyone can vouch how fun it is (Mae Thompson’s new favourite event is 3k!).

Men’s team

Results on the men’s side were equally as impressive. Abdou Njie took the 100m and B string 200m wins in a PB of 10.9s and SB of 22.6s, meanwhile Elijah Lyle-Vidal took the B string 100m win in a 11.0s SB and a strong 22.3s 200m run. Alex Parkinson and Chris Hall winning the 110mH and Will Stapleton winning his B string 400mH. Over on the field, U17 Freddy won B string TJ and came a close 2nd in the HJ by 3cm, Chris also winning the LJ, Mark Roberts picked up 1st place in the B string Javelin and PV, succeeding PV A string Bilen Ahmet who jumped equal 1st but placed 2nd on the tie-breaker, also taking the B string HJ and Shot win. Gareth Cook also had some impressive throws, winning the Shot and taking that top performance in the hammer to 3rd place – a tough field, for sure! The formidable trio Jon Darby, Alex Thomas and Eric Williams took on the 800/1500m amongst some fast competition, producing some suitably fast times– Jon produced a SB in both, Alex a SB in the 1500m, and Eric a PB in the 1500m. Special recognition to Will Stapleton who admirably filled many of the gaps in events but also wanted to a “proper” non-scoring 200m race, proceeding then to have the blocks slip out from under him, waiting a moment to contemplate, and then continuing to finish the race. Some honourable mentions to the non-scorers; PBs for both Marius Ball (11.6s) and Eric Hermanson (12.4s) in the 100m, PBs for Marius (23.8s) and Max Dickson (23.8s also) in the 200m, and Eric H PBing in the LJ (4.82m).

By the end of this exhausting (and hugely successfully) day for Kingston, we arrive at the relays. Considering our dominant performances across the day, we were the favourites (as decreed by myself). However, numbers were dwindling, and energy levels were diminished.

The women’s team managed to build a 4x100m from the few remaining ladies; Ellie, Mae, Hannah and Jo. They won convincing by 3 seconds to take the full amount of points. The 4x400m was less tempting to many, but Ellie, Mae and Isabella (who had finished the 2k steeple just prior) volunteered to run, but still needed one more. There was only one option left, the manager who was saving herself for a competition the next day – Nicole Kendall. In true team spirit, she donned the blue and black colours of K&P to complete the women’s 4x400m, who all agreed to use this as an opportunity for a victory lap (as if the remaining 3 hadn’t done enough laps of the track already). They jogged round with a smile on their face in well over 5 minutes to trickle over the points score.

The men’s team were in a similar position; Abdou, Alex P, Marius and Elijah dominated the 4x100m, but few were persuaded by a 4x400m. No matter, Elijah stepped forward (completely against his own will) to join Max, Alex P, and Will to jog a 5:12.0 to collect those final points – yes, we were lapped by the other teams.

Finally, a huge thank you to the officials who volunteered their day to help (Stewart Dickson, Ed Paxton, Dorinda Lester, Nicole Kendall, Humphrey Waddington, Catherine Arnfield, and the Reynolds entourage!). Myself and the other managers are incredibly proud of the team that led us to victory in this match, not only because of the win, but because it shows what we are capable of. Yes, we were bottom of the leaderboard, but if we are capable of beating the 2nd placed team then we are capable of doing very well in this division. If you want to take anything from this report, or if you didn’t read the whole thing (don’t blame you because blimey is it long – sorry), know that your attendance is the key to success in this division. So, no matter your age or ability, sign yourself up to compete or officiate!

The next match is HOME, Saturday 13th July. Hope to see you there!

All the best,

Alex and the team managers, Izzy, Nicole and Ho


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