SMELLING VICTORY (BAL)
The 3rd senior men’s British Premier League (BAL) match of 2014 took place last Saturday in London and yet again the team did the club and themselves proud. Going into the match we were 1 league point behind our old rivals Shaftesbury Barnet courtesy of a 3rd place in match 1 and a great victory last time out in Birmingham.
With the Commonwealth Games coming up and the fixture taking place at the end of a busy period that included the U20 and U23 Champs and the Senior England Athletics Trials, we always knew that we would have a depleted team, but we also knew that we had some genuine quality and that, with a bit of luck, we would still be in contention to regain the title come the final match. The team did better than that!
I could scarcely believe it when I received the message that we had taken 2nd place behind Newham in the match and that Shaftesbury had collapsed and finished down in 6th place! That now means that a third place at home in Manchester in the final round will be enough for us to win the championship. To do that, we have to now ensure that we continue to field our best specialists across all events and make sure we have as few people as possible "filling in".
Nevertheless, those that did fill in on Saturday made a vital contribution. Indeed, we were 15 points ahead of Birchfield in 3rd, and skipper James Bailey (many thanks to James for standing in as team manager), Matt Cullen, Ryan Moore and Clovis Asong, who all took part in unfamiliar events, gained - you guessed it - 15 points. Who knows what the swing would've been had they not turned out?
They made a great contribution, but it would be wrong to attribute the second place purely to team spirit and commitment. There was genuine quality on show as well. Our only A string win came from Rimas Martisauskas, who threw a PB 18.70 to take the shot, but there were A string top 3s from Chris Wakeford, Allan Hamilton, Alex Smith, James Bailey and Andy Sutcliffe, to go with B string victories for Andy Burgess, Matt Cullen, Charlie Hulson, Dwayne Cowan and Dave Proctor. There were B strain podiums, too, for Umar Hameed, James Wignall and Debo Ademuyewo and Seun Okome, while it was great to see Clovis back to approaching his best in the 400m and junior Roy Ejiakuekwu executing a great sprint double. Indeed, 6 or 7 athletes doubled (or even tripled) and that's not including relays. Dave Norman, Ryan Moore and Thomas Furlong also produced vital points in a fine team effort.
We go into the final match full of confidence!
Posted 08/07/2014 07:31