id432-BAL National 3 M3 Ashford,Kent July 1st 2006 Report

Written by DB   

A fine team performance,with some impressive marks,saw the BAL squad achieve their best-ever placing in their present run in this National competition - 2nd with 322pts. The team stays in 4th place overall but is right up with the leading teams with the Gateshead match to come to complete the season. Match result - 1 Gateshead 349/2 K&P 322/3 Derby 295/4 BMH 294.5/5 Notts 272/6 M&M 241/7 TS 216/8 R&N 186.5 and overall Gateshead lead with 23 league pts from Derby 19,BMH(936.5) & K&P(913.5) are 3rd and 4th each with 17,5th are Notts 13,6th M&M 8,with R&N 6 & TS 5 likely to be facing requalifying in September.

In the sprints,Victor Nwagbara happily overcame a slight hamstring niggle to keep well in the mix taking 4A 100 11.12 & 2A in his favoured 200(22.12);in the Bs,James Heptonstall showed recent form was no flash in the pan grabbing 3rd at 100(11.14) and a superlative improvement over 200(22.8 down to a legal 22.11) gave him victory there.Over one lap,Jamie McCullagh also proved recent form by again going under 50(3A 49.9),with James Moroney,not at 100% but still present,hanging on for a 52.47 clocking(6th) in the B;Jamie took 3rd at 800(1.55.08) and Alex Thomas was within a few 100ths of his best at 2.02.36. Moving to 1500, team captain Mike Maranzano again ran as hard as ever clocking 4.14.48,the best by a K&P member this summer,with Alex Thomas again,on his last track appearance this summer,very close to his PB(4.24.64). The scorching heat gave the much-travelled Ross Shaddick(7A 17.12.9) & Ron Taylor(6B18.10.59) a hard time over 5000 but they were there in the thick of it,whilst HCA Andy Fulford ran a PB over 3000St(9.47.9) to bring us good A points,though Andy Arbour still seemed to have the strains of Auld Lang Syne in his legs,for want of a better description(return to menu for explanation!). Improved hurdles showings also involved our HCAs mostly with Dave Taylor(5A/6A 110H/400H),allowing Mark Roberts to pick up an excellent 2ndB over the highs(16.12) and his coach,48 y.o.Howard Moscrop,a World Masters Champion in recent years, to repeat to the world what a class exponent he remains,winning in what can only be described as a scintillating 56.6. Howard would also have been delighted that another protogee,Toby Ulm,who won the first BAL match 400H for K&P as an HCA,took the gold in the ISF World Gymnasiade Champs in Greece the same day in a fine PB 51.97 - though still short of his coach's own PB of some years back! The track events wound up with a useful 43.43 2nd in the sprint relay - Chris Hall, Andre Nembhard,Heptonstall,Nwagbara - and an exciting 3rd over the 4 laps in 3.22.45 - McCullagh,Fulford(49.8),Moroney,Nwagbara.

Over in the field,things were happening with James Heptonstall getting that elusive 7m with a winning 7.02 and Chris Hall again competing well with a 3rd in the B(6.15);these two also picked up 2 5ths in the Triple,Hall getting out to 12.11 for a PB. The Vault saw both Mark Roberts & Nic Owen over 3.20 but there was no Rugby weather intervention this time,whilst Prath Kaneri equalled his 1.85 HJ PB in taking 5A - at late notice,Mark Roberts scrapped for points in the B(1.65). In the throws,we were magnificent(how many times have we said that) - 4 1sts and 4 2nds from the 8 strings,thus dropping only 8 points from 112 max. In the Hammer,a very slow circle nearly did for Gareth Cook & Kyle Stevens but they kept their heads with a double(G - 53.61 & K - 47.58). In the Discus,both Nic Owen(42.34) & Felix Hatton(41.18) threw season's bests for 2 2nds;at Shot,Kyle almost claimed a win with a marginal foul over 15m,but it was the rejuvenated and slimline Nic who took 2nd in the A(14.99) with Kyle winning the B at 14.55;and in the Javelin Felix(60.94) & HCA Chris Dack(55.27 PB) both claimed 2nds - breathless stuff.

Just one of those days to savour - not only,one hopes,for all 21 competing members of the team but also the travelling entourage. Next stop Gateshead.

Full results can be found on the BAL site - www.bal.org.uk

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