UKWAL & NORTHERN PREMIER
Jack Frost, Tony Simmons & Fechin Mc Cormick
“Put me into any events I’m needed” was (at least) twenty weeks pregnant KATIA LANNON’S phone-call to team manager TONY SIMMONS, for the crucial penultimate UKWAL match in Bristol at the weekend. In a best case scenario, the club had the promise of promotion back to the Premier Division because of the quality and depth of the club’s talented athletes. However, new, enthusiastic and very capable team manager TONY SIMMONS could muster only 15 athletes and a host of excuses to embarrassingly cover the 37 match events.
Katia is a former British international heptathlon but motherhood and injuries put paid to her promising career. She hadn’t competed further than 200m since 2012 yet she bravely took on the 400m and immediately afterwards the ‘marathon’ 3000m.....and all this, remember, whilst at least twenty weeks pregnant! Of course, she was lapped and her very modest 14 minute (plus) race could have been matched by any of the club’s women. Nevertheless, her five points from both races significantly put the club four points ahead of Southampton into 7th place. She called it, “stepping up to the mark’!
Young pole-vaulter, SARAH Mc KEEVER found herself stressed and stranded in an unknown housing estate far away from the track with a wrong postal address, enough to turn a young girl about and go home but she persisted and, with a stroke of luck, this young pole vaulter with a perpetual smile that lights up all who meet her, made it to the track and not only won near maximum team points but incredibly volunteered for the completely unfamiliar high jump, just to support her club and team colleagues.
JACK FROST, TERRY SUTCLIFFE, BRIAN GOULDEN and FECHIN Mc CORMICK, none in the throes of youth, volunteered as track and field officials so the club had it full complement of officials to win maximum team points and spent all day in cold and rain sodden Blackburn before rushing away without a change of clothes or a wash, to catch the 5.30 club bus for a five hour journey to Bristol where another long day was spent as T & F officials so the club could again benefit from the officials maximum team points.
Javelin thrower NATASHA WILSON had never previously done a triple jump and had to be shown where to jump from yet she did it to maximize team points. Her javelin colleague, international ROSIE SEMENYTSH also bravely competed in the completely unfamiliar triple jump and hurdles and how the club and team are also indebted to them.
Discus throwers KIRSTY LAW and LUCY KIRK are not hammer or shot throwers per se but they competed in all three disciples and bagged a lot of team points. Young sprinter HAYAAT BAH-TRAORE competed in Blackburn at the Northern League and then travelled all the way to Bristol to compete for the club again on Sunday.....and so on it goes.......
All to a person expressed their ‘disappointment’ of being ‘let down’ by their club/team colleagues and club coaches and felt their hard work and sacrifices went for nothing. With more colleagues supporting them, the club could have been vying for promotion in the UKWAL rather than languishing a very disappointing seventh from the eight competing teams and bottom in the Northern League.. Team manager, JACK FROST described his team’s turnout in the Northern League and resulting bottom 6th place (for the second time) as ‘absolutely abysmal especially for the women’s sections”.
Sale is possibly the largest of the competing clubs in both leagues and has arguably the largest athletic resources of real talent. Such ‘abysmal’ results must concern every athlete, coach, official and manager. Trafford AC finished an impressive 4th in Bristol (Well done to them) with more limited resources than Sale and they travelled the same difficult weekend!
Horatio Nelson’s battle cry before Trafalgar has got to be Sale Harriers “England expects........... that every member will do his duty" .
In the Northern League, even if Sale win both the next matches, it’s too late to possibly avoid demotion so the club will have to go into a special ‘qualifying’ match on August 22nd. Only athletes who’ve competed in the earlier matches will be allowed to compete so it’s paramount everyone, especially our prominent athletes and women are available. For the final UKWAL match on relative home-territory of Wigan – forget now about promotion, that’s too late, but it’s got to be all hands again on deck, especially our prominent women, to rescue the ‘abysmal’ situation as best you can.
No-one begrudges a young athlete the experience of a lifetime at the pop festival Parklife; of course athletes must always attend family weddings and other family events; of course every athlete must chase international opportunities and major championships. These are not the obstacles......
One becomes cynical of the excuses in the eleventh hour before every match for dropping-out and there are all too many of them. I’m also long enough in sport and been successful enough in it to say to athletes and coaches that you can compete yourselves to fitness rather than waiting for ‘fitness’ before competing.
League matches aren’t essentially about targeting PB’s. That’s a culture that needs to change. If PS’s come they’re a bonus. Club matches are about ‘team’ and team success and you didn’t have to be in superb condition to compete for the club to great benefit. These League matches can be ‘process’ rather than ‘end points’ and I suggest they be built into every athletes training programmers as integral. Sale has more talented athletes than most clubs who would be ‘gold-dust’ to ‘team’ just competing in 3rd gear...... and still have invaluable competitive experience and be a real team and club asset
It’s important that club and team priorities are ever more apparent in coaches’ training plans; sacrosanct training sessions can indeed be valuably exchanged for competitive opportunities in these Leagues that will benefit the club and individual objectives can indeed be sacrificed for the greater good of the whole. That’s life. That’s a club! Get with the programme!
Sale Harriers expects.......
Pictures from the Northern Premier League.
Posted 10/06/2015 09:15