Nene Valley Harriers
NVH grab second place in Southern Athletics League!

SAL Basingstoke

NVH grab second place in Southern Athletics League!

After the men travelled to Redruth (Cornwall) last weekend the Nene Valley men’s and ladies team had another long trip but less than half the distance to Basingstoke in the Southern Athletics League. This is a low price to pay for the level of competition that these athletes are facing and competing in. The team had been badly hit by the Loughborough Invitational, exam hysteria and injuries but those who travelled competed to the highest degree and were well supported by the clubs officials which looked more like a hospital evacuation.

In poor weather conditions, the clubs athletes acquitted themselves well and the excellent team spirit led to an unexpected second place on the day. It should not be underestimated the impact that the team spirit, dedication and support of those present had especially Rosie Jacobs and Simon Achurch who competed in four individual events each. The club also bloodied a good number of new and young athletes who enjoyed the competition, despite the weather and vowed to make the team regularly in future.

After, Rosie Jacobs and Devon Spencer leading by example after starting the day competing in the 400m hurdles and following with the next event running the 800m after the club failed to have any 800m athletes available for the day. This performance and commitment stimulated the men’s 400m double win by Ashley Sandall and Dave ‘Blade’ Brown and the efforts of our 800m boys. Ollie Bowling and Niam Payne both competed well despite Ollie’s cut foot and Niam also competing well later in the 1,500m.

This fixture was not only tough due to the weather but there were a number of the UK’s top multi-event athletes within our competitors’ teams. Despite this a number of personal best performances were achieved including Emma Hornsby’s club record of 5.66m to win the ladies long jump. She had been supported by new athlete to the team, Jasmine Allen who achieved the English Schools qualifying distance with a leap of 5.36m. The high scoring club’s horizontal jumpers saw almost maximum points in the triple jump with Emily Maltby and Devon Spencer missing out on the maximum by a few centimetres. Emily and Devon recorded good distances despite the downpour which started during their warm up jumps and eased off just after they completed the event.

All three of the club’s middle distance and distance runners who attended the meeting came away with personal bests, vet Nicky Morgan recorded 19:27.01 in the 5,000m, first timer Josie Fortune ran 5:09.90 in the 1,500m and in the same event Chloe Pavey ran 5:16.81 before competing her first ever 1,500m steeplechase in a time of 6:37.32. Nicky’s time was exactly a minute quicker than her previous best time run last year.

Martin Tinkler, who recorded two wins and one second place, also equalled his discus personal best with a throw of 42.50m but set a new best in the hammer with his second place throw of 34.81m. Along with Simon Achurch, who threw everything he could find and new athlete to the team, Grigorij Kondratovic scored well in the throws. Andrea Jenkins followed her golds in the masters European Championships with two wins in the ladies throws. A feat also achieved by Becki Hall and Lydia Church.

The clubs short hurdlers all achieved second place results running into the strong head wind with Sean ‘Rocky’ Reidy and Adam Fidgett representing the men and both also doing well in the 400m hurdles where Rocky won with a time of 56.93s. Emily Maltby and Rosie Jacobs (also the 400m hurdles) competing.

Despite a few athletes not being mentioned in this write up, their performances are non the less important and vital to the overall results, they have taken points away from competing clubs and have all added to our points tally. In a match where we only lost by 9 points and only 15 points ahead of third place all points won are important.

Team managers Tim Needham and Ken Maggs were proud of the athletes and officials who travelled and turned up to help on a windy and wet day. Neither of them had expected to achieve the result recorded considering the strength of the competition and the numbers missing. All present showed true grit and determination to record a result which should help to secure our position in this division, a feat the last couple of winners and runners up have struggled to achieve.

The team’s dedication and commitment was fully demonstrated by Sean ‘Rocky’ Reidy (and Suzy for letting him) who travelled down to Basingstoke to compete in the 400m and 110m hurdles; he then left to be back with Suzy in Peterborough as she gave birth to their 7lb baby girl. Congratulations to both of you from all Nene Valley.

Ken Maggs

Results can be downloaded here.