Written by DB
Still in there fighting - a determined backs-to-the-wall rearguard action in our weaker events,coupled with some class in our better events - albeit a typical roller-coaster performance overall and not one for the nerves - just kept the Team in a promotion place and stretched the gap to Crawley just behind us to 1.5 League Points,with only Ashford on August 16th to go.
Match result - Leeds 357/Bedford 311/Southampton 291/K&P 269/Crawley 262/Medway&M 261/Edinburgh 233/Channle I 191.
Overall - Leeds 24/1123;K&P 18/895;Crawley 16.5/869;Soton 15.5/839;Medway 12/768.5;Bedford 11/765;Edinburgh 6/654.5;Channel I 5/613. That means Crawley must beat us by 2 places and/or Team Southampton by three clear places - nice,but nothing upon which to rest our laurels just yet!
Full results on the Noticeboard at Kingston or click on - www.bal.org.uk
The weather was rotten for the first few field events,with the Vault and Hammer contested in slippery conditions;later,the sky relented,with some gusty wind,but not as vicious as Bedford can be.
We were in reasonable form in the sprints,Justin Green taking 3A 11.10 & 5A 22.29 over 100/200,and David Cook(11.28) & Chris Hall(22.92) getting 3rds in the B strings - these 3 were to contribute throughout the afternoon and were understandably worth a hot bath and TLC by 5.30pm!
With Adam Bellis one of a few favouring minor injuries,Jason Bernard took the 400 honours in his first individual BAL race(4B 51.7man);the 4 x 400 was a struggle(Chris,Justin,Adam,Jason) with tired legs abounding,though the sprint squad's baton changing was very good and they took 3rd in 43.34(Chris,David,JamesH,Justin).
The 800 upwards through the hurdles and steeplechase was a scene of 'strength of character' performances - we were a trifle outclassed at times but never bowed - Matt Field(3A 110H 15.41) excelled but Tom Beedell/Alex Thomas(800/1500),Mike Maranzano(3kSt/5k),Matt Hyett(PB 5k 18.13.8),Andy Arbour(3kSt),Bilen Ahmet(both hurdles) & Chris Hall(400H) each "stepped up to the line" in the cause.
"Kept alive by the jumpers & throwers" - how many times!! In foul conditions,Bilen Ahmet(3.20) & Matt Field conjured good PV points,with the latter sharing 1.75 HJ duties with Prath Kaneri with the weather clearing;David Cook(7.17/13.05) & James Heptonstall(6.41/13.64) were as effective as ever at LJ/TJ.
In the throws,Gareth Cook used his considerable experience to find a 53.30 HT(2nd),with Rob Smith grinding out a 4th,in a very greasy circle;the former(with a very handy 39.76 and,for the 2nd event,pulling out his best on the 6th trial to push the other teams back)) then joined Nick Owen(41.42) in taking a maximum in the Discus,and this was repeated by Nick(15.14) & Kyle Stevens(14.81) in the Shot - enormous boosts,accumulating a massive 56 points onto our score,just when we appeared to slipping out of contention. Sadly,our 'home banker',the Javelin,with our top 3 not able to contribute virtually all season,was a contrasting minimum.
Now to Ashford to deliver the killer punch - hopefully, we have a few returnees,but we shall sure need them,as David Cook(regular family Olympics trip) and Nick Owen(school trip to France),who won two events each at Bedford,cannot be there, and everybody will need to produce compensating performances to enable us to clinch our first promotion since arriving back in the BAL in 2003.
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