Woodford won their opening fixture in division 3N of the Southern Athletics League on a fine day at Lee Valley. A strong start helped set up a comfortable win ahead of hosts Harlow. Ilford came through for third ahead of Huntingdonshire and Newham & Essex Beagles with Loughton 6th.
Among new athletes making their competitive debut for WGEL ahead of the national league campaigns, male athlete of the match George Vaughan dominated with 54.16 in the 400m hurdles and won the 110h by almost as far in 15.24(-1.9w). Top scorer was U20 Amelia MacDonald, who won the long jump (5.30) and 100m hurdles (16.46), in which the B went to Phoebe Fuhr who had already taken the pole vault. As well as welcoming new athletes, it is always good to see athletes trying their new events in the first match of the season. Amongst these was U20 Millie Finch, taking her debut 400m hurdles in 73.70 (and winning the B TJ).
Track successes included controlled but dominant wins by Anna Clark in the 800m (2:13.97) and Alicia McArdell in the 1500m (5:11.60). Paul Scanlan took the 400m (backed up by B string Adrian Richards) but unfortunately pulled up in the 200m. Success on the field was led by Peter Clarke in the hammer (55.50), backed up by M50 Fergus Harford, with Peter also taking the B shot. U20 Frank Moore won the JT in a 45.24 PB, with Silvia Cruz taking the womens along with B string Jade Currie. U20 Rebecca Fafowora won the triple jump and the B HJ.
Our U20s were out in force along with quite a few U17s ahead of returning to the YDL upper which is the main focus for the age groups this year. PBs included HCA Eloise Lewis (200 25.99 -0.4w), Karina Hope-Bruce (200 27.05 -1.3w), Joba Ashiru (1.70HJ, 200 24.75 -1.9w) and Ola Ogunade (5.81LJ and 11.13 debut TJ). Victoria Cuthbert (HT 36.23) and Agnes Kissi (B SP winner in 8.38) set new bests with senior weights. B string wins included Joey O’Neill (100m), and Jos Farquharson (200m).
Rounding out a successful day and underlying that it was achieved by strength in depth, the team also enjoyed three relay wins in times that were faster than we have previously achieved in the SAL since joining in 2013. The mens 4x100m team of Ola Ogunade, Jos Farquharson, Joey O’Neill and Laolu Abiodun (44.54) were followed home by a non-scoring U17 team (46.97). The womens 4x400m team (Samanta Bendaraviciute, Temi Olusesan, Amelia MacDonald, Anna Clark) was clear going into the final leg but Anna’s 58.3 final split ensured a wide winning margin in 4:15.17. The mens 4x400m team (Zac Islam-Moore, Laolu Abiodun, George Vaughan, Adrian Richards) lagged our U20 non-scorers team after a strong training leg from Jos Farquharson, but Laolu stormed through to set up an easy win, with Adrian’s 50.3 leg even lapping one team. The time of 3:31.5 was WGEL's fastest since the first BAL match of last season, while our non-scorers were third overall in 3:49.8.
The win sets the team up for a strong push for promotion, with the second match on Sunday 20 May at Perivale. The team manager would like to thank all who competed and helped out on a very successful day.