BAL 1 CARDIFF
Chris Baker set a club record 2.25m in the high jump as a wet and extremely windy Cardiff hosted the first BAL match of the "summer" on Saturday and, with wind speeds reaching -8.2 in the 200m and gusts so strong that the discus had to be cut short, it is safe to say that it was a tough day for all concerned.
Despite a number of withdrawals from the team in the preceding days, hopes were high for a solid start to the season and so it proved, although the top 3 placing only told part of the story. Shaftesbury were the runaway winners on the day, leaving the rest of the clubs present to scrap for position and scrap we did, with the likes of Matt Cullen, Jonathan Ferryman, Allan Hamilton and Nathan Roach stepping in to win points in less favoured events and 48-year-old John Nicholls making a return to the team and picking up valuable points in the shot.
It was also great to see Matt Hunt back in club colours after a lay-off with injury and Rory Evans make a superb debut with a 46.97 clocking in the 400m for 3rd in the A.
Yet it wasn't all about fight and determination. The team had A string wins from Alex Smith (backed up by Floydy), Rimas Martisauskas and a truly astonishing performance from Chris Baker, who put himself into Commonwealth Games consideration with a club record and PB 2.25m in the high jump.
The endurance events ended up being the back bone of the side, not for the first time, and Niall Brooks, unbeaten in the BAL notched another A string double in the 800m and 1500m, with Dave Proctor matching his efforts in the B. James Bailey, James Wignall and Dave Norman also contributed to the points haul, as did Ryan Oswald, Gabriel Odujobi, Callum Roughneen and Debo Ademuyewo (who was almost blown off his feet with the 8.2m headwind in the 200m) in the sprints.
Allan Hamilton, Jonathan Ferrymand and Nathan Roach provided the points in the horizontal jumps and Matt Sumner and Darren Lewis provided an excellent springboard for the day's track events with strong showings in the 400mH.
Sadly the wind meant that only 9 pole vaulters recorded valid efforts and neither Matt Cullen or Andy Sutcliffe were among them, but, with 3 matches remaining, they and the rest of the team still have plenty of opportunities to compete in more favourable conditions.
A huge thanks too, to John Smith on team management duties and James Bailey for team captaincy.
Posted 13/05/2014 07:20