Northern T&F League - Division 3E - Meeting 3 Middlesbrough
[Sat 12th jul]
Sitting top of the league table, tied with New Marske and with quite a gap down to third place, the team was feeling confident going into match 3 of this year's competition. Unfortunately we were a little short on competitors due to injuries, illness and a lad's holiday to Magaluf, but spirits were still high amongst those in the green vests and we went into the day's competition hoping to secure promotion. Conditions were as good as we could've hoped for giving the disappointing weather we've had this summer, so there was more than one person looking to snatch a personal best.
Warming up the competition with some hammer throwing were the usual suspects: Ralph, Paul and Sharon, but were also joined by Christine Stretesky in the Wallsend vest. At the same time Julie Williams, being belatedly joined by Lauren Barrett upon her arrival. With these early performances getting us off the mark, it was time for the beginning of the track events, led by myself and the ever-present Michael Day. With great relief, I smashed my personal best and finished third with Michael fourth in the 'B' race. Lauren worked hard in the women's race to come in second, despite being a bit under the weather in the heat. Paul McAleer was our sole representative in the Long Jump, but acquitted himself well amongst tough competition.
Team captain Paddy made a return from injury with a fantastic 800m race, almost going under 2:10. Following up in the 'B' race was Joseph Woods with a first lap that Mr Farah would be proud of...his second lap was somewhat slower, but he still finished with a strong time and a third place. In the Women's 800m, Leanne Herron and Sarah Graham took on some tough runners, with Sarah doing well to hang on to third in the 'B' Race. Daniel N'Jai made his first performance of the day in the discus, with both himself and Paul Corrigan coming third, closely bested by New Marske athletes, which could prove crucial by the end of the day. Despite the efforts of Blyth/Wallsend so far, the other teams had brought their best to this meeting and it was proving hard to claim the points we needed. It would require some brave performances to stay ahead.
Next up on track was the women's 100m races with Ella Wood going on the attack with a fantastic race, followed by Christine proving she can sprint as well as throw. In the Men's 100m, Jake Masterman competed in the 'A' race, but was followed by a Blyth special, with Daniel, Craig Birch and myself all in the same race. Daniel stormed the race to take maximum points. Simultaneously Denver Stretesky was bringing further pride to the family name with third place in the High Jump, teamed up with Peter Skirrow who took first in the 'B' competition with an amazing personal best. Also in the field, Sharon was back in action throwing the shot putt, backed up by Jackie Garnett in the 'B' competition. Representing Wallsend's women in the triple jump was Julie Williams getting respectable points with a 4th place.
One of our usual big scoring events is the 3000m (occasionally with barriers). Due to further issues with Middlesbrough's water jump pit, the race was run as a 3000m flat and, against some serious distance runners from the other teams, Jon French and Chris Stobbs each claimed third in the 'A' and 'B' races respectively. The women's 3000m (also not with barriers) was run shortly afterwards with Elaine Liu and Helen Morris flying the green flag and reigning in further points. Before this though, Ella Wood was brave enough to take on the 100m hurdles, racing hard and getting under 20 seconds, a great benchmark and enough to break Lauren's club record. Sharon and Michelle took on the discus in the field at the same time, enjoying the sunlight that was bathing the track.
Teaming up again in the 110m hurdles was Daniel N'Jai and Craig Birch, Blyth's hurdling heroes. Once again, they took first place in the 'A' and 'B' races, keeping the team in touch with the others on points, with Daniel even taking a personal best. Paul Corrigan performed as strong as ever in the shot, backed up by Paul McAleer who was showing a real prowess for the field events. Ella and Michelle doubled up to come third in each of the 400m races, followed by some equally impressive performances by Daniel and Denver, with Daniel breaking the Blyth 400m record. Even with these exceptional races, Blyth were still battling with New Marske for third place, with South Shields/Birtley leading the day comfortably.
Leanne Herron rocked up to the start line once more for the 1500m, with Sarah Graham as her co-star, both of them pushing hard and beating the New Marske athletes in their races. Simon Lyon's first event of the day was the men's 1500m, in which he ran a brilliant time to take third amongst a tough field. Middle distancing once more was Mr Woods who ran a much more stable race to hold on to second. Busy breaking another PB in the field was Peter, who threw the javelin exactly thirty meters. Michael Day was not far behind at all in the 'B' competition. At the same time, Julie was going at the women's high jump, supplemented by Leanne, who managed to fit the jumping in around her race. Having recharged my batteries in the sun for a couple of hours, it was PB time once more in the Triple jump. Improving jump after jump I came up about half a metre ahead of my best. This was enough to take second in the 'B' competition (behind a New Marske competitor to my annoyance), and with Craig coming third immediately after racing the 200m, it was enough to take good points for the club.
Speaking of 200m, Michelle took on yet another event by going in the 'A' race followed by Christine, rivalling her son for the family's top sprinter. With Craig in the 'B' 200m for men, Jake was back in action to take a personal best in the 'A' race. The last two events before the relays were the men's 5000m and the women's javelin. Harry Coates led the charge in the 5000m, narrowly missing out on third place, with Matt Derbyshire also taking second in the 'B' race. Apparently Michelle has her eyes on a heptathlon as she competed in yet another event with the Javelin, backing up Sharon, Blyth's throwing queen. South Shields/Birtley had the meeting in the bag at this point, with Durham also securing second. However, the battle for second was far from over with only a couple of points between us and New Marske. Leading the green clubs out for the relays was the women's 4x100m team who could only take 5th, a few places behind New Marske. In the men's 4x100m, despite a fast race, New Marske finished ahead of us by just 0.2 seconds, pulling ahead by another precious point. Our team's luck was much better in the 4x400m with New Marske not fielding a women's team and our men finishing a single position ahead of them. However, it was not enough in the end and they finished just 2 points ahead on the day. Which means it's a three way battle at the top of our league now between ourselves, New Marske and South Shields/Birtley at the top, with Durham having an outside chance. With one meetting left to go, there is still everything to play for and it's going to come right down to the wire. it will take as many competitors as we can get and all our team spirit to secure our place in division two for the first time in the club's history. Exciting stuff right?