id969-NJL Southern Promotion Match Copthall August 30th 2009 Report

Written by DH   

David Hillyer's reflections on our First season in the NJL.

“All good things must come to an end” – Geoffrey Chaucer 1374

“All good things must come to an end” – K&P NJAL Team 2009

Due to holidays, injuries and three very late withdrawals a severely weakened K&P team contested the NJAL Southern Promotion Final at Barnet Copthall. Our smallest team of the season in terms of numbers (9 girls & 9 boys), with only 3 recognised male runners, did really well to finish 7th of the 8 teams involved. We may well have struggled to finish much higher, but the shortage of competitors meant that those who did turn up were forced to compete in more events than normal and this resulted in at least 2 of the team picking up injuries.

The Match Result was as follows:


The Saxons



City of Norwich



Basildon Beagles



Medway & Maidstone



Team Southampton



Tonbridge AC






Brighton & Hove AC


The Saxons are a composite team comprised of athletes from Chelmsford AC and Ipswich Harriers whilst Basildon Beagles is a combined team from Basildon AC and Newham & Essex Beagles.

Although we did not do extremely well there were several highlights to mention:

Performance of the day:

We finally managed to get a fit Mary Iheke on the start line and she did not fail to impress with our only “A” string victory in the 400m decimating the field by nearly 2 seconds in a time less than 0.2 outside her PB in difficult conditions, made even more challenging by her hair band falling over her eyes in the home straight. She backed this up with a 2nd place in the 200 (only 0.1 seconds behind the winner) plus good performances in the High Jump. Hammer and 4x400 relay. Unfortunately Mary moves up an age group next season.

Also worthy of special mention are the “Distance Duo” of Maddy Hardwick and Gaby Miles who impressed in both the 800 and 3000 events picking up 30 points between them. Maddy is another athlete moving up to the Senior ranks and she will be greatly missed.

In addition, mention should be made of the performance of U17 Hussain Al-Kemachki who improved his 6kg shot PB by almost a foot in finishing 3rd in the A string Shot (behind two U20s ranked in the top twelve in the country, one of whom won the Athlete of the Match award).

Hilarious moment of the day:

Although they may have been short in numbers, this did not dampen the spirits of the boys. Following the decision of the girls to paint a flag in team colours on their faces, some of the lads decided to join in. However, they could not just leave it at a small decoration on their cheeks which resulted in Gordon, Patrick and Will painting their faces. arms and legs in various colours. The excuse was that they wanted to look like Usain Bolt. The problem was that the only similarity with the great Jamaican was that they were wearing spikes as well. Never mind it made us all laugh!!!

A near second was the advice being given, yet again, to Emily McIlwain. After her problems in the Long Jump in the Reading match, Emily was now complaining that she would not be able to compete in the High Jump because “my legs hurt”. Several suggestions were yet again forthcoming, but the one that finally seemed to work was that she speak to her coach, Stewart. This immediately galvanised her into action and she stopped moaning for the rest of the day.

Finally, close up in third place was the look of absolute relief on Track Judge Brenda Ford’s face at the end of the meeting. This was due to the fact that she was not the official responsible for disqualifying 3 of the Basildon Beagles relay teams for various infringements, which resulted in a heated discussion on the finishing line.

Detailed results can be found on the Power of 10 and NJAL websites, although several of the competitors’ names are wrong as the results were compiled from initial declaration sheets submitted on the Friday. I will endeavour to place a corrected sheet on the K&P site in due course.

The team members who did compete at the Final were:

Girls: Rahannah Gillette-Vernon, Maddy Hardwick, Mary Iheke, Harriet Lester, Emily McIlwain, Gaby Miles, Katja Schlerf, Leanne Bettis and Amelia Maugouber.

Boys: Hussain Al-Kemachki, George Corcoran, Patrick Hillyer, Chris Jennings, Gordon Lester, Asher Nelson, Tom Parry, Will Trimble and Adam Wicks.

My thanks go to the Team, who still managed to keep smiling although in the unfamiliar position of being at the bottom of the match standings for the first time this season. A special thank you goes to fellow Team Manager, Michele Wicks, who has managed to keep both the team and I focused on several occasions. Our officials on this occasion were Brenda Ford, Maurice Joyce (who came via the Inter-Counties at Watford), Debbie Vernon, David Stead and minibus driver supreme Clare Nelson. Finally, many thanks to the parents and friends who turned up to support the team; it was greatly appreciated.

So our initial foray in the NJAL has come to an end. I believe we have achieved far more that we hoped and the venture has enabled a close bond to be formed between several of our club members. Apart from Mary and Maddy, the only female team member moving up is Harriet Lester who, as our main Hurdler and Long Jumper,will also be greatly missed. A few of the boys will also no longer be available, but the nucleus of the team will be returning. With the addition of some of the U17’s next season, plus the hoped availability of some who have been injured for all or nearly all of the season, there is no reason why we should not emulate, and even improve upon, this season’s achievements. I wish the team well in 2010!!!


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