id959-BAL Nat 2 M3 Leeds August 1st 2009 Report

Written by PW   

Peter Waddington's special eye-witness review from the In-field.

Full results - www.bal.org.uk

British Athletics League National Division 2, Match 3

Leeds, August 1st 2009

Report by PW

The K&P Men carried on their excellent Bromley form with a hard-earned 5th place in West Yorkshire. As last year, South Leeds Stadium proved cold, wet and windy, but our athletes (no doubt hardened by the marathon journey North, playing sardines in the RaKAT bus, and a night in the sub-tropical heat of Woolley Edge Travelodge) produced consistently gutsy performances to keep ourselves just clear of the relegation zone at close of play.

The K&P Men’s team has always displayed great fighting spirit, but this season the tight-knit camaraderie seems to have risen to an even higher level, with new K&P members, HCAs, and grizzled veterans giving their all, not just in their individual events, but also in their support for their team-mates. This was exemplified by the welcome appearance of injured Javelin star, Felix Hatton, who came over from Sheffield to support the team. It was such spirit (along with a lot of ability) that enabled K&P to overcome the loss of some of our most experienced athletes for the match in Leeds. Given that we were deprived of the services of competitors who’d contributed 125 of the 290 points scored at Bromley, this 5th place finish was a remarkable achievement.

In a re-jigged timetable (due to the inadequacies of the Leeds stadium layout) Shot Putt was first event of the day. This might have proved a shock to Kyle Stevens’s system if Team Manager, David Barrington, hadn’t thoughtfully got him to the venue a couple of hours early to get him acclimatised. With club rival Nick Owen absent in South Africa, Kyle carried a huge responsibility to deliver a good start for the team and found himself struggling to better an early monster 15.12m throw from TVH’s Steve Whyte. With his last putt and a huge effort,plus a yell from Alannah,Kyle finally got one out to 15.15m to win the A string and set the tone for the day. His B string athlete was joint Men’s Captain, Gareth Cook, who warmed up for his favourite Hammer, with an 11.25m SP for 4th place. The warm-up obviously worked well, as Gareth hit a season’s best 52.92 HT to take 2nd in the A, with Kyle winning the B (48.53m). (In truth this competition wasn’t the strongest of the season, as even Richard Holt - coach to many K&P track athletes and masquerading as Blackheath & Bromley - managed to pick off 3 scalps with a Herculean 15.85m throw!) As further penance for missing the previous match, Gareth had to throw the Discus as well. Here the competition proved rather tougher and his creditable 36.27m only earned him 7th place (A), with Kyle (5th B) also finding his pirouetting, balletic grace in the circle less well rewarded than it might have been.

The horizontal jumps represented an area where K&P was actually able to strengthen from previous matches, with David Cook and Humphrey Waddington back in the fold, although Humphrey was still well short of full fitness. David duly won the A Long Jump and it is a measure of his star quality that he could be unhappy with his 7.08m distance. Humphrey backed him up with a B win (6.68m), but aggravated a knee problem in doing so, which limited him to one ugly attempt in the Triple Jump (12.85m. 3rd – A). David then backed him up in turn, with a solid 2nd place in the TJ B string (12.83m). In the vertical jumps things were slightly less rosy, although Bilen Ahmet did record a pb 3.63m in the Pole Vault for 4th place. He might have gone even higher if he hadn’t had to keep running to the far end of the stadium to contest the High Jump, which was on at the same time, and where he finished 7th (B). Gordon Lester, managed =4th in the B PV, but was hoping for more before his back problem flared up again. The team is indebted to Gordon for turning out on his birthday and hope that he will return to full fitness and 4m form soon. Back in the High Jump, Chris Dack found the cold and wet conditions inhibiting, struggling to 8th (A), but found a bit more in the even wetter Javelin where his 49.30m (7th A) would have earned him a few more places on most other days. In the B JT, Humphrey’s knee injury limited him to just one hobbling attempt in the downpour, but he somehow managed to pick off a couple of even weaker contenders for 6th.

On the Track, the Hurdles are proving to be a highpoint in K&P achievement, as Matt Field will be sure to tell you if you are ever foolish enough to ask him. 400H was first event up, with the gutsy and consistent Danny Eckersley finishing 2nd from an unfavourable draw in Lane 8 (55.80). As Tom Parry had been called up to represent Wales U18 in his first international meet, Matt Field volunteered to step into the 400H breach, running an excellent 55.55 pb (2nd B). The question was: how much would this effort take out of Matt for his speciality, the 110H? The answer was: not that much, as he fought his way into a -3.0m/s headwind to finish 2nd in the A race in the same time (15.17) as the 3rd placed runner, who’d narrowly pipped him at Cardiff. The ever-reliable Chris Hall also fought well for an apparent 3rd in the B race, but benefited from Herne Hill Harriers being penalised for a technical infringement, which then moved him up to a fine 2nd place.

On the flat, it was all change in the 100m line-up, as David Cook and Andre Nembhard filled the A and B respectively. Both found the strong headwind difficult to handle, but fought all the way to the line (David – 7th A; Andre 6th B). Andre also ran the B 200m with Chris Hall stepping up to the A in the absence of Justin Green. Chris was in a blanket finish, and judged 5th (22.41), but only 3 hundredths off 3rd place. Andre was also close to those ahead of him, finishing 7th (22.96), and it’s very nice to see him back in the team after more than a year away. In the 400m the quality of the opposition was always going to prove a problem, but Adam Bellis ran a season’s best 51.00 (8th A) and Jason-Louis Bernard picked one off in the B (7th - 51.80).

Our Middle-Distance prospects looked pretty bleak in the absence of Jamie McCullagh, but cometh the hour cometh the men…in this case, Michael Hobson and Craig Price, who are tough men indeed to take on the 800/1500m double. Both did admirably. Michael finished 4th in the A 800m (1.57.63) and 6th in the A 1500m (4.06.02), which is a pretty good return at this level. Craig ran a season’s best 1.58.40 to finish 4th in the B 800m and did well to complete the B 1500m in a decent time and 8th place, given his lack of mileage since his comeback from Michelin Man to svelte BAL athlete. At 5K Tom Beedell and Julian “Jud” Hough found themselves in the toughest race of the season, where their placings (Tom: 8th A, & Jud: 7th B), didn’t reward them enough for two fine runs and two excellent pbs (Tom: 15.24.14, & Jud: 15.32.00). Our 3K Steeplechase men also found themselves in a very hot race, both finishing 8th, but Andy Arbour will have been pleased to bring his time down below 11 minutes again, and new member James Robertson ran a pb 10.23.51 despite a nasty tumble on the first lap, which showed both his courage and potential.

The Match scores were tight as we headed towards the relays, with Harrow and K&P neck and neck for 5th place, and Mr Barrington looking a worried man(What! Not again.Ed). Despite some of our dodgiest changeovers yet on the 4x100m, we got the baton round in a rather pedestrian 44.28 for 6th place and were elated to see that Harrow didn’t finish! Finally on the 4x400m we ran a very good, solid race to finish 5th (3.24.25) with Harrow 2 places behind us and Mr B could rest easy, as we ended the Match in 5th with 255.33pts to Harrow’s 250.33! Overall in the League, we head into the last match at home in 6th place, just 1 League point ahead of a resurgent Leeds, with Swansea in 8th and certain to go down. Everybody and every point was vital at Leeds and we need everybody out at the last match and giving everything if we are to make sure that it is Leeds City who go down and not Kingston & Poly!

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