RAIN delayed the start of the penultimate East Anglian League meeting at Ipswich, but the long wait before events didn’t deter Nene Valley Harrier athletes from fighting hard for a well-earned third place on Sunday. (July 6)
Despite missing many Harriers due to other athletics championships running on the same weekend, they made their mark against rival clubs containing national champions, beaten only by the two clubs leading them overall in the tables, City of Norwich and Ipswich Harriers.
Spalding athletes U15 Rosie Fresen and senior Natasha Segal stormed to new personal bests and wins over the 75m hurdles and the 100m flat races, with both recording times of 12.6, while Devon Spencer and Ellie-Mae Stokes dominated the senior triple jump competition, winning both A and B events with leaps of 10.34m and 10.08m respectively.
There were more PBs achieved in the 800m races, with U13 Amber Park smashing her previous best with a fantastic 2:32.8, Kelsi Ellis won the A string U15 race in 2:25.3, with club mate Paula Naylor scoring valuable points in the B race with 2:41.7, and Rosie Marshall and Jasmine Oldfield both won their respective senior races in 2:25.3 and 2:36.4.
U17 Megan Pusey bravely took on the throat-burning 400m for only the second time and ran a superb PB of 65.3, with senior club mate Jasmine Oldfield also running well to post a time of 69.2.
U15 athletes Charles Hughes and Kai Harrison continued their dominance of the throws competitions, winning their respective shot putt events with 10.90m and 8.89m and the discus with 26.44 and 25.42. Hughes went onto another convincing win in the javelin with 34.33m, while Harrison also did well in the hammer with 21.32.
Debuting in the U13 boys were Ryley Briston and Josh Munton, putting in strong performances in their first EAL meeting. Briston ran a swift 13.9 and 29.2 to place second in the 100m and 200m, while Munton jumped 1.25m to place second in the long jump on count back (recording the same height as the first placed athlete). Young Matt Church, still only 11-years old, competed in both the javelin (12.03m) and the long jump (3.15m), recording a big PB in the javelin.
At the other end of the age groups came Roger Hudson, who, at the age of 52, did well in the discus (18.87m) and the javelin (23.24), while his son Matt ran well in the 100m (11.8) before throwing the hammer to 5.27m to gain valuable points for the club. David Bush competed in his usual wide range of events and helped the Harriers to climb up the points table with his 18.2 in the 110m hurdles, 5.82m in the long jump, 10.22m in the shot putt, 30.73m in the discus and 36.59m in the javelin, while U17 Jake Richardson blew the field away when winning the 3000m by more than five seconds in 9:19.9, just one second short of his PB. Other U17 athletes to perform well were Lucas Fidler, running 2:13.8 in the 800m, Callum Crosby, recording 23.8 in the 200m, and Alistair Pitts, who stormed to 16.2 in the 100m hurdles.
The gutsy performances across all of the age groups has given the Harriers a fighting chance of making the league final in September, providing the club has a good turnout for the final league meeting next month at host club Cambridge & Coleridge’s track.