Woodford men’ s team finished 3rd in a very tight BAL Premiership fixture at Lee Valley on Saturday. Birchfield won again with 308 points, from SBH on 304, Woodford 277, TVH 276, Newham 274, Southampton 259.5, Sheffield 248.5 and Liverpool 209. Birchfield now head the table with 16 points, from Newham and Woodford each on 11, SBH, 10.5, TVH 8.5, Sheffield 8, Southampton 5 and Liverpool 2. In the end 3rd was a decent result for Woodford, again missing some top athletes, and also overcoming some problems on the day. As always there were many good performances no doubt aided by the rare decent weather, but none better than those from Jack Lawrie who recorded two personal bests and was close to his best ever in a third event. There was also a personal best for Phil Norman.
Jack Lawrie’s first p.b. came in the first track race of the day, the 400mH, where a very strong final 100m saw him improve his recent best as he won in 50.55 secs. Later Jack lined up for the 110mH where he was close to his best ever and placed 4th with 14.56 secs (-0.5). His second p.b. came in the flat 400m where, having lost the “B” man with injury, Jack volunteered to cover. As in the 400mH, Jack finished very strongly and just got up for 2nd with 47.92 secs. The “A” 400m was a good standard race and where Al Drammeh, in his first race of the season, found 47.58 secs only good enough for 6th. Phil Norman, who has made such progress in the steeplechase this year, stood in to cover the “B” 400mH, where he picked up an unlikely 3rd place with 57.02 secs. Phil’s personal best, however, came in the 1500m in a good quality field which was bunched at the bell in around 2m54 secs and, after a very quick final lap, he placed 3rd with 3m49.27 secs. Ross Tennant, who had been an early leader in the race, placed 5th in the “B” with 3m56.26 secs. With Dan Rowden unavailable as he was racing overseas, U/20 Canaan Solomon stepped up to the “A” 800m and only just failed to win, placing a close 2nd with 1m50.36 secs. The “B” also brought good points with Andrew Mariani also 2nd in a slower run race with 1m54.39 secs. The 5000m was of a good standard and Bradley Wattleworth placed 8th with 15m14.55 secs, while Paul Martelletti, only just back training having been out for some time injured, gamely placed 4th in the “B” with 15m22.67 secs. With Phil Norman racing on the flat, and Adam Kirk-Smith unavailable, it was left to Adam’s coach Tomaz Plibersek to fill the “A” slot in the 3000m steeplechase and, despite a fall on the first lap, and on little training, he picked up useful points with 5th in 10m02.64 secs. Angus Holford covered the “B”, and despite some ropey water jump technique, gained a very valuable 3rd place with 10m21.29 secs. In the sprints, with others missing, a not 100% fit Omololu Abiodun covered both “A” strings, placing 6th= in the 100m with 10.94 secs (+0.3), and 7th in the 200m with 22.12 secs. In the “B” events U/20 Shayne Dewar was close to his p.b.’s in both as he placed 5th in the 100m with 10.90 secs (+2.5) and 4th in the 200m with 21.77 secs (+0.5). Francis Smith was the other track athlete in action where he contested the “B” 110mH and placed 5th with 15.93 secs (0.0), which was believed to have been a Scottish Masters (M35) best.
The field events brought mixed results and fortune. The long jump saw a winning double; Che Richards had a good series and won the ‘A” with 7.63m (+1.5), and Anton Dixon won the “B” with 7.20m. The high jump was more problematic - with Will Grimsey in trouble with a knee problem warming up and unable to jump, Shayne Dewar cleared a token 1.30m which, with others no-heighting, ended up a surprising 5th=. “A” string Robert Wolski jumped despite suffering with a bad ear infection and associated headaches and was able to clear 2.03m but that placed 6th. The triple jump saw two seconds with Peter Kirabo recording a good 14.79m in the “A” and Che Richards 13.86m in the “B”. The Pole Vault saw Nathan Gardner make his Woodford debut and he cleared 4.43m which placed him 4th=. The hammer saw Andy Frost place 4th with 62.31m and in the “B” Peter Clarke was 3rd with 52.06m. The discus saw former British number one Emeka Udechuku back in action and he placed 5th in the “A” with 51.21m with Chris Linque 4th in the “B” with 43.79m. The javelin saw James Bongart back in action after injury and he placed 4th with 58.77m and Simon Bennett also 4th in the “B” with 54.58m. The shot saw the normally very reliable Youcef Zatat have three no throws, which meant Chris Linque was 8th in the “A” and there were no “B”points.
The 4x100m team of Tom Holligan, Che Richards, Joss Farquharson and Adrian Stamp placed 5th with 42.63 secs, whilst a makeshift 4x400m team of Andrew Mariani, Phil Norman, Tom Holligan and Ross Tennant were 6th with 3m31.57 secs, and notable within that was the 50.2 secs leg from steeplechaser Norman.