UK WAL Wigan
Result 7th place. Relegated to Division 2.
The prospect of relegation had been with us since our poor showing at Bristol in Match 2, when we were unable to field a full team for the final crucial match at Wigan on August 9th, and finished in 7th place. For our final match at Wigan, it was obvious that we could not allow the same situation to happen again. After all, the match was virtually a home tie, and we are Sale Harriers after all, one of the biggest and best clubs in the UK. Surely teams like Bristol, and Cardiff, would struggle just as we had in Match 2, with the overnight stay, distance travelled, and of course, availability of athletes with summer holiday commitments. One week before the match it would be no exaggeration to say that the Sale team was looking pretty awesome with strong athletes in most events, and all events covered.
This was the point at which things started to go wrong, because during that week, and in particular within 48 hrs of the match, no fewer than 40% of the selected athletes withdrew from the team. Of course, genuine injuries and illnesses are unavoidable, and no blame can be attached to the athlete. Neither can late selection for international competition which the club will always support. However, all the other teams, including Southampton (who finished in a distant last place) had more athletes than us, and in particular, Bristol and Cardiff (2 teams that in theory we could have expected to finish ahead of). Both these teams were able to select athletes in all events where we had 8 gaps. They subsequently managed to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively, thereby ensuring their survival in Division 1.
Those Sale athletes that were competing, did their utmost, and can be proud of their achievements. 8 events were won with a further 6 gaining 2nd or 3rd placings. Special mention goes to Jess Taylor, our Commonwealth Games medallist heptathlete. Jess had competed and won in Spain the previous week but unexpected family illness had caused great stress and worry. She could have been forgiven for pulling out of the team. Instead, Jess showed her class by winning 100mh, Long Jump, and 2nd place High Jump, not forgetting helping 2 winning relay teams.
Talented young multi eventer, J’nae Ward, also proved her worth by winning 100mh, 2nd place High Jump, and valuable points in Shot. Our sprinters were very impressive. Lucy Evans with a 1st and 2nd place in 200m and 100m, Becky Wilson won her 100m. Kirsten McAslan, ahead of her trip to Beijing as part of the British relay squad, made an excellent contribution to 200m, and all 3 helped win the relays. Kirsten even threw a javelin for the first time. Jennifer Simmons carried the flag for Sale in 400m and 400mh, and still found some energy to help us win 4 x 400m relay.
Chloe Doggett answered an SOS for a pole vaulter, having competed the previous day, and together with Ebbie Danson-Chappell made valuable contributions. Katherine Barker, despite little training, made herself available for 1500m, whilst Luisa Candioli, once again found herself with 1500m and 3000m, with just an hour recovery in between. Kathy Wellam also showed her continuing value to the team with a sterling effort in the 2000m s/c. Abi Irozuru was a class act winning her Long Jump, and Rosie Semenytsh , as usual, was superb in Javelin and managed to support the team in both discus and hammer. Special mention also to Jasmine Burke, hammer and discus, for giving up her weekend to help Sale on both days, and to Abi Fitzpatrick who helped the relay team, in spite of a health problem.
Thanks to Dave Greenwood for the excellent pictures. See more at http://www.darkstarphotos.com/ukwal-at-wigan
Posted 16/08/2015 16:37