The only way was Essex for Nene Valley Harriers on Sunday, as the clubs talented track and field squad made their way to Chelmsford for the 2nd round of this years Southern Athletics League, where they took on Blackheath and Bromley, City of Portsmouth and Chelmsford Athletic Clubs. Ken and Barry wrote separate reports for this one so here they both are.
1. Barry's report
Having been beaten into 2nd place by just a single point in the first round of matches, The Harriers were determined to go one better this time They did so, with victory achieved in emphatic style, taking a club record 231 points and finishing 36 points ahead od their nearest rivals Chelmsford AC A number of individual club records were set in the process.
Nene Valley boast a highly successful youth policy, and draw in youngsters from large parts of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. This is starting to bear fruit, with a steady flow of young athletes now establishing themselves in the senior team. 16 year old Holly Brown has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the country at the Pole Vault since taking it up as a 13 year old. Brown showed her class finishing 2nd against a field of senior vaulters at Chelmsford, setting a club record of 3.20 metres in the process. Another exciting prospect, Rosie Fresen won the 'B string Pole Vault at the age of 15.Fresen is something of an all-rounder and also contributed points in the 1500 metres Steeplechase,and the High Jump.
Alex Hampson is one of Nene Valleys hottest properties, and he won a tactical 1500 metres in a relatively slow time of 4:16.7. The Michael Prosser coached 17 year old showed tactical astuteness beyond his years, as he resisted the temptation to break the other athletes, unti the last lap where his rapid acceleration left the other runners trailing in his wake.
The Nene Valley engine room was firing on all cylinders with the ever reliable Sean Reidy, Dave Brown, David Bush,Adam Fidgett and Andrea Chapman all making their usual telling contributions, whilst 41 year old Simon Achurch had a day to remember setting new club veteran records, in both the Hammer and Javelin. Martin Tinkler won the Shot Putt and Discus with throws of 14.38 metres and 39.49 metres respectively, and was also named man of the match.
Emily Maltby set a club record of 11.56 whilst winning the Triple Jump, also gained points in the high jump, long jump,and 100 metres hurdles. The inform Cat Foley won the 1500 metres in a time of 4:51.3, and the oldest member of the team Nicky Morgan continued to regain form following a lengthy injury lay off earning valuable points in the 3000 and 1500 metres races.
There is a pleasing willingness in this team for athletes to pull together, and take part in events that may not be their speciality for the good of the team. This should stand the club in good stead throughout the season, as they strive to cement their position near the top of division 1. The next fixture is at Brighton on June 20th.
2. Ken's report
A large contingent of Nene Valley Harriers attended the Southern Athletics League second match at Chelmsford on Sunday. Having finished second by just one point in the first match, the men and ladies set out on Sunday meaning business. Once again several athletes stepped in to fill gaps in the squad, competing in events which are not necessarily their forte but held their own al the same. By the fifth event of the day Nene Valley had managed to gain a 10 point advantage on their opposition and half way through the meeting they had extended that lead to over 20 points. The final score of 231 points was an excellent achievement in an away fixture and was 36 points more than their nearest opponents, the biggest margin the club has ever achieved.
It was another great supporting display by the club with all offering plenty of vocal support to those competing. The officials and parent who attended with the club, assisting in the sand pit despite the couple of downpours during the day and ensuring that we do not lose points which are hard to win.
Martin Tinkler won the man-of-the-match award for the fixture for his shot putt and was followed by Robbie Shaw in fourth from the same event. In the ladies man-of-the match award Lily's 100m attained second place and further placings were awarded to Andrea (4th) for her hammer throw, Becky (5th) (6th) for her shot and Emily for her triple jump. Overall the performances represented the day's results with Nene Valley athletes filling six of the twelve award places.
There were many notable performances Simon Achurch continuing his one man intention to re-write the club record books with masters records for the Javelin (41.18m) and the hammer (43.19m). Holly Brown who broke the clubs pole vault record, during her first southern league competition for the club, her vault of 3.20m being higher than any other female at the club previously and even challenges a number of our male athletes. Emily Maltby returning to form with a massive 11.56m club record in the triple jump. Lily Hughes equally her club 100m record and now having run the same 12.0s time three times this season, we all expect a sub 12 second 100m any time now.
Emily Maltby achieving the club record despite also competing in 4 other events to get the club through on the day. On the men's side Adam Fidgett continued to fill more events than any other person and David Bush showing prowess in diving over the 110m high hurdles. After hitting fifth hurdle hard he realised that he would be disqualified if he laid his hands on the sixth so literally dived over it. David got back on his feet and only failed to catch the penultimate competitor when he again smashed into the last hurdle, great guts and determination for the cause.
Rosie Fresen continues to be the only person to run a steeplechase with a smile on her face the whole distance managing to clear the barriers without the pole she used to achieve her personal best 3.05m vault earlier in the day. Cat Foley, a 3,000m athlete, running her first 800m since 2011 was extremely close to personal best set back in 2010. Megan Pusey having moved into the scoring team this season following injury to a fellow athlete knocked off over one second from her personal best 400m for the season. Worried about scoring and now racing as the club's A string athlete has reduced her time by almost 4 seconds this season already.
These performances and the many other new athletes to the league shows that the club is stepping forward and still involving as many athletes of all levels to achieve their personal bests which in the long term is what brings these types of results and enables the club to stay at a good level of competition.
The next meeting is to be held at Brighton on 20 June 2015 and look forward to seeing you all there.