BRITISH ATHLETIC LEAGUE (1)
The first match of the 2015 BAL season took place on Saturday at Woodbourn Road in Sheffield. May matches are notoriously difficult to predict, with plenty of unknown form, lots of unavailability and variable weather conditions.
From a Sale perspective, we just wanted to make a decent start to our title defence. There were a few withdrawals in the week, but the team had held up well and we entered the match looking fairly strong. Nobody could've predicted what happened next. It was the closest match anyone could remember, with fewer than 3 points separating 2nd from 5th. Sheffield won their first ever top flight fixture with 327 points and we took a magnificent 2nd place with 289.3. Behind us were Shaftesbury with 286.5, Birchfield with 286.3 and Enfield and Haringey with 286.3. Woodford were in 6th and they exceeded 270, so it really was close.
It was a high quality meeting, with some genuinely great performances, including sprints won in 10.3, 20.6 and 45.8, to give a sense of the quality.
As you would expect with a match like this, it went down to the relays, where our quartets took a fine 2nd in 40.65 in the 4x100m (Rory Evans, Aaron Crowley, Debo Ademuyewo and Gabriel Odujobi) and our scratch 4x400m, led off by Matt Sumner, took a great 3rd in 3:15. Callum Roughneen and then Debo Ademuyewo (who flew around his leg) handed over to Aaron Crowley, making his debut 4x400m appearance, and he held on to seal overall 2nd place in the match.
Earlier, Chris Baker took a superb victory in the high jump with a 2.18m clearance and Dave King sealed the win in the 110mH, while there were also top 3 A places for Matt Sumner, Alex Smith, Rory Evans and Rimas Martisauskas.
In truth, it was a real team performance, with absolutely every point counting towards the total that saw us edge ahead of Shaftesbury, our recent title challengers. It was great, too to see Matt Hunt return after injury nightmares.
Thanks to John Smith, the Keiths, Roy Swinbank, Neil Donbavand, Brian Spriggs, Terry Sutcliffe, Tony and everyone else who made the trip to support/team manage. Thanks also to non-club photographers Roger Evans, Mal Jones and Tom Jones who have very generously attended and provided a number of photographs, some of which can be viewed on the club website (www.saleharriersmanchester.com ). Full results are at www.bal.org.uk.
Posted 13/05/2015 09:56