Woodford finished third in their first Southern Athletics League fixture of the season, at Hornchurch on Sunday 20 June. For this season only the league is regionalised, with the team competing in the East London division. Hosts Havering were clear winners ahead of Thurrock, while after a slow start WGEL pulled clear of Ilford and Newham and Essex Beagles.
The SAL was the last of the track and field leagues to start for the season, but unlike others there were no restrictions on numbers of competitors, events or teams. The overall league table will be based on the best absolute score by each team in the year (as some divisions will have fewer fixtures) and hosts Havering used home advantage to full effect to score 344 points, a higher score than they achieved in their first NAL match allowing for different eligibility. Woodford will aim to benefit from their home matches on Sunday 11 July or Saturday 14 August to move up the overall league table, but used the first fixture to ensure athletes had the opportunity to compete rather than focusing on filling gaps. While Woodford scored notably more per scoring position filled than any other team, the gaps meant they finished over 100 points behind the hosts, and almost 40 behind Thurrock.
In the period following the first NAL fixture several Woodford athletes have been in action leading up this weekend’s National U/20 and U/23 Championships at Bedford and the senior British Championships and Olympic Trials to be held at Manchester next weekend. Amongst the many decent performances there was a personal best and Club “domestic” record over 110mH for Cameron Fillery. There was also a significant personal best in the discus for Precious Hamilton, another for Ben Potrykus and season’s bests for more.