The End of an Era - BAL Match 3
It had to come to an end at some point. After 12 years competing in the BAL Premiership, during which we've won 3 league titles, following our 7th place in match 3, the team will be relegated and will compete in National 1 in 2017. I have been team manager for the past 13 seasons and it has always been my philosophy that it's my job to ensure that we have a large enough group of athletes to mean that we are never over-reliant on individuals and that no athlete should ever feel pressured to turn out for the club. I therefore take full responsibility for the team's relegation and can only apologise.
After 8th place in match 1, where we were unlucky with all sorts of injuries and problems, the last two matches have been incredibly close. We are not markedly inferior to at least 3 or 4 of the other teams in the division, but we just don't have enough depth in some of the field events and particularly the shot and discus, where we have relied on the sterling efforts of combined eventers this year. Had we picked up just 3 points more in Manchester (the equivalent of a couple of places in one of the 19 events) and 10 more yesterday, we would have gone into the final match with more than a fighting chance of survival. It wasn't to be.
As it was, we were leading yesterday's match after the first few results came in and after 12 of the 19 events we were up in second. Unfortunately, our weaker events in the field came towards the end and we slipped down the table.
There were some real highlights however, despite the eventual low.
Chris Baker, heading to both Amsterdam and Rio this summer, could easily have rested ahead of his flight today, but came and won the high jump with 2.25m. I'm sure we all wish Chris the best of luck over the next few weeks. Tom Atkinson produced his first ever A string BAL win with a fine tactical run in the 800m, while we scored bumper points in the hammer (Alex Smith and Callum Brown) and 400m H (Matt Sumner and Oriol Piqueras).
Dwayne Cowan took a fine third in the 200m (backed up by a resurgent Callum Roughneen) and then joined Tom Atkinson, Matt Sumner and a revitalised Clovis Asong to take third again in the 4x400m. He also ran the 4x100m with Callum, Debo and Colin Hornby.
Matt Cullen and his protege Zac Harrop scored good points in a bizarre pole vault competition in which many vaulters elected to only attempt 2.60m, while Seun Okome, Jon Ferryman, Jordan Charters and Andy Burgess all contributed in the horizontal jumps.
The final match takes place on August 6th at Allianz Park and it is my view that we should try to go out with a bang and produce the best performance possible. I urge you to compete if you can and show the rest of the division that we are better than the 7th best team in the country.
As for the future, I will put everything I have into ensuring that we bounce back at the first time of asking and that we are in a position to win the BAL in 2018. Please join me.
Posted 05/07/2016 10:35