YDL (Upper) TRIUMPH
Fechin Mc Cormick
The tension and excitement at Wakefield on Sunday was comparable to the weather –a morning of grey skies giving way to an afternoon of progressively cloudless skies and sunshine. In this fourth and final match of the Youth Development League (YDL Upper) the club lay within the relegation zone so the task at hand was, above all, to beat Gateshead Harriers if we were to avoid the fall.
It was a nail-biting day and as exciting a day of athletics as one could hope to attend! Throughout the morning’s public announcements, the news was gloomy with Gateshead continually ahead of us sometimes by as much as thirty points. This was despite the valiant and successful efforts throughout the morning from the likes of our throwers Jack Seddon, Jaimal Brown, Natasha Wilson, Annabelle Dowd, Joshua Booth, Jasmine Burke and Will Scofield most of whom did several events. Our high jumpers also did more than their bit. U20’s winner Seun Okomo, had everyone applauding and Harry Lord and Luke Moloney both produced PB’s. Our U17 pole vaulters Luke Hannon and Annie Williams, our U20 long jumpers Alyssia Carr and Zenny Enechi, our triple jumpers U20 Tom Gerard and U17 Zenny Enechi all won their events and were valued like gold dust. Our endurance youngsters also shone – for a change. The likes of U20’s Matthew Beacock and Charlie Reid in the 800m, U17’s Jake Spilsbury and Dylan Battick in their 800m, Abi Linney and Frankie Reid in their 800 were all impressive. Despite our sprinters also giving it their very best– athletes of the ability of U20 Danny Heald, Kieran Donnelly (who was 3rd in the U20 race despite being only U17), Emmanuel Muke and James Ratcliffe and Hayaat Bak-Traore, we still failed to get the better of Gateshead Harriers. A major reason wasn’t the team efforts but, unfortunately those team ‘gaps’(again!) where we so often throw matches and diminish our competing athletes achievements. We had every reason to be worried!
Come the afternoon, those grey skies began to pass and things began to improve. It was an exhilarating afternoon of athletics with classy performances from the like of sprinters Danny Heald (200m) and Emmanuel Muka who both produced great PB’s and ‘B’ winner Kirsten Mc Nally (200m) and Toby Adejoymie (200m) that began to turn the tide.. The 110% efforts from the likes of Ellis Goldie Tom Adejoxmie, Kobefo Ntebelane, Tom Gerrard, Rachael Hibbert, Alice Bruce, Abbi Linney, Beth Kelly and Courtney Leonard and Annie Williams all helped to raise our hopes. Again, our middle distance guys made a big difference. Whilst Gateshead had no-one in the 3000m, we had good solid runs from Alice Bruce, Madeline Hole and Charlie Reid; you should have seen the Spilsbury twins in the 1500m stylishly flowing for 1-2; Matt Beacock was great and Brad Thornton produced a PB in his U20 1500m race. U17’s Frankie Reid and Abi Linney displayed great maturity in their 1500m and Aimee Pratt won the 1500m steeplechase by 100m and was especially outstanding. Though still U17 she’s won all of her YDL (Upper) races this year including beating the U20 women. Good luck as she targets the National title in a few weeks time.
All contributed to an afternoon string of victories and classy performances that had the Sale Harrier contingent of supporters, coaches, team managers and parents off their seats. The announcements began putting us in 3rd place behind Team Edinburgh and Team Glasgow. It was now down to the final relays.
What an exciting culmination relays are and these to a long day of athletics that began at 10.30am and embraced 76 events. It was 6pm and the stadium was electric as it echoed to the din of cheers. It was Sale Harries that prevailed winning most of the events. The question now was how close we were to Team Glasgow in 2nd place rather than was we ahead of Gateshead Harriers.
The final announcement! Team Glasgow beat us by a measly half point with Team Edinburgh clear winners with Gatehead relegated. By finishing 3rd, we now go forward to a paper match with those in 3rd and 4th places in the Northern, Southern and Midland Divisions. The winners of this paper match will take their place alongside the winners and runners-up of the Northern, Southern and Midland Divisions in the National final at Birmingham in September. Fingers crossed,
Again, special thanks must go to all who make it possible throughout the season. The likes of field official Brian Spriggs who rarely misses a match and is as gold-dust to these teams as are our best athletes not just for his expertise and the number of matches he attends pointsbut the number of match points he secures; to all the track & field officials; Jack Frost for his tireless managerial and administrative work, priceless coaches, self-sacrificing parents etc. I also thank Tim Doggett for his photographs.
Posted 30/07/2014 13:11