Senior Women Survive – For Now
It was a 'do-or-die' match for our senior women at the UK Women's Premier League match at Sportcity at the weekend. With a background of 23 League titles and runners-up 9 times in the league's 38 year history, the only club that's remained in the league through its 38 year history, was likely to be relegated if we could not finish better than 6th place. This demise is largely due to the absence of endurance runners to fill any of the middle distance events. As a result, the club (competing as City of Manchester) finished last at the first match in Edinburgh. A rallying call by team manager Cara O'Brien for this home match failed to mobilize the troops and with the problem worsened by a further shortage of horizontal jump athletes, deputizing team manager Jack Frost and assistant Neil Donbavand deputizing for Cara at a wedding in Ireland, were not alone with a sense of foreboding.
In near perfect, sunny conditions, the team dug deep and there were many gutsy performances, fine PB's and inspiring examples of team spirit. Kirsten McAslan, hot from her recent senior GB debut at the European team championships and preparing for the next weekend's senior trials, ran PB's of 11.83 for 100m and 23.92 for the 200m 23.92. Abi Fitzpatrick was also in fine form and delighted with a well deserved 400m Hurdles PB of 58.23. Imani Modahl ran a very positive tactical race in the 800m and was rewarded with a PB in the 800m running 2.19.52, breaking the 2.20 barrier for the first time. U17 Aimee Pratt, having earlier competed in the English Schools Championships, front ran a determined 800m up against Senior Women and smashed her PB running 2.17.3 to finish 2nd. Tyra Watson returned to her winning ways with a very satisfying win in the 400m hurdles (57.8) and 2nd in the 200m (25.9). The weekend also saw the return to form with season's best performances for Kelly Massey (400m 52.99) Kirsty Law (Discus 51.90m) and Jenna Hill (800m 2.11.31). Katie Byres (pole vault) won valuable points for 3rd and equalled the league record. The day was topped by a fine 4 x 400m relay victory with Tyra Watson, Abi Fitzpatrick, Lauren Brennan and Kirsten McAslan.
It was such a hard fought day that in the points tally there was so few points separating the clubs, we could easily have finished as high as second but in fact we finished 7th. The 'Dunkirk' spirit was admirably displayed by our European and Commonwealth 400m medallist who then went and did the long-jump despite never having done it before. Unfortunately, her point could not count1. Also, well done to Jenna Hill who competed in two events despite having an Achilles tendon problem.
The battle to avoid relegation from the UK Women's League Premiership Division now goes to the final match at Blackheath (London) on August 3rd. With ALL hands 'on deck and with the other competing team's results working in our favour, we can STILL avoid relegation ...just about. The message must therefore goes out to ALL our coaches and athletes that we must have nothing less than our strongest athletes available if we are to avoid relegation. (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick. Photos courtesy of Roger Evans)
Posted 10/07/2013 11:28