Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC

UAG YDL – Match 2 Report

Please see below the two reports from our team managers!

YDL UAG Men’s Team Match 2 Report

A significantly depleted (injuries, illness, exam revisions, International duties and half-term holidays meant that many of our regular athletes could not take part) team bolstered by several new signings made its mark on the Southern Premier division with its second win out of two this season.

Making our intentions clear, our team coach was the first to arrive to find that Paul Austridge and Steve Rowe had already arrived to set up the Blackheath and Bromley team team tent which would prove to be a much needed later in the day when the late May afternoon demonstrated to us why outdoor competitions aren’t held in February.

First on the track were our star hurdlers. Rayhan Mourtada and Sasha Morrell – both coming off personal bests at the Chelmsford hurdle fest the previous day – had excellent outings. Rayhan ran comfortably to win the A string u20 400mH while Sasha scored another PB by coming third in the A string u17 race. Late injury withdrawals meant that we had no B string runners in either race.

Because of a change in the structure of the YDL, the regular season matches alternate between 1500 and 3000 races. This meant that Match 2 would be the only one to feature a 3000 this year. It netted us a very decent points haul with Alex Middleton and Harry Fage taking 2nd in both the A and B string u20 races and in the u17 race, a rapidly-returning-to-fitness Lucas Elmquist and his training partner Nathan Clark worked together to secure 2nd place in the A string and first in the B string.

Next on track were our 100m runners.

First up was new club member Jack N’Douba who blazed to a solid 11.01 and 3rd place in the u20 A race. A very last minute substitute for the B race, Chi Hemenson who was pulled out of the LJ sand to get to the start of the 100 did very well with 6th in the B race but far off his personal best.

In the u17 100m, Oji Okoro and Daniel Olatunji secured valuable points for the team with 4th and 5th place finishes.

While the short sprints were going on the track, our long sprinters were limbering up. James Lawson and Nathan Firla each ran solid times to secure 2nd places in the A and B races but the pleasant surprise of the day was Sam Mowa, returning from injury with his first 400m of the season, poking in a 49.6 as a non-scorer. This time would have been good enough to win the A race today. Next up were the u17s where Ryen Rennie ran a solid race to come 2nd in the A race while Tane Chambers came through with a YDL season debut in the 400 with a near-PB and 3rd place in the B race.

While our sprinter hurdlers were preparing themselves and the women’s 300s were being run, the wind, rain and cold reminded us all why we don’t run outdoor track competitions in the winter. Our wet and cold hurdlers did their best to stay warm and limber and really stepped up the task. The duo of Rayhan Mourtada and Eliot Ferguson finished 1st in the A and B string races with Eliot securing the A string win and a PB of 14.25! In the u17 race, Sasha Morrell was off his Chelmsford-best but still ran solidly to earn points for the team in a really tightly run race.

The weather was still playing up for the 200s but nevertheless, Jack N’Douba ran a brilliant 22.18 for 2nd the u20 A race and Oliver Driscoll dominated the B race with a winning time of 22.89. In the u17 races, Oji Okoro secured 4th in the A race and Victor Cardon came through with a magnificent final 50 to move from 4th to 2nd in the B race.

Our 800m runners really proved the depth and strength of our squad. In very hotly contested races, Jasper Brooks was just pipped on the line to 2nd place in the A race while Mark Constable, finally having broken the back of the 2 minutes in the 800 earlier in the week, broke the barrier again as well as all of his competitors, comfortably winning the B string. In the u17 A race, Hendri Verster and Connor Wray both also ran very solid races coming in 2nd in each of their races. Both would go on to feature in the 4×4 relay!

Naturally, while the track events were taking place, we had great results out in the field.

Nathan Firla, enjoying his time filling in for our “proper” hammer throwers was a little dismayed to find himself as an A string today and while he didn’t throw a PB, did manage to come in 5th place. One of our “proper” hammer throwers, George Henderson, made his season debut for the club with a healthy 42.58 throw in the u17 competition, good enough for 2nd place.

Our long jumpers in the meantime were out in the pit. Arhcie Powell jumping to a PB of 5.10 and a 5th place in the u17 competition (1 cm off 4th place) while in the u20s, a 5.80 was good enough for 3rd place for Chi in the A string while a slightly injured Dennis Savage was not far behind distance-wise but winning the B string for the club.

The triple jump featured many of the same names with Dennis scoring a 4th place in the u20 A string and Archie Powell a 6th in the u17 competition.

The men’s discus saw the debut of new club member and decathlete Ibrahim Halil who won 4th place for us in the A competition while our hurdler Sasha Morrell came 5th in the A string u17 competition and an “I’m up for it” Connor Wray warmed up for his 800 by winning the B string discus!

Over in the SP, through a clash of events we didn’t manage to field a u20 athlete; however, new club member Olivier Coulibaly stepped up and despite slippery, cold and rainy conditions came a solid 2nd in the A string competition. One of the highlights of the day though was undoubtedly our para-athlete Nehemiah Dick who won the B-string competition by nearly 1 meter from his competition.

The clash that kept our u20 athlete from the SP (admittedly a team manager mistake!) was the high jump competition. Despite the pouring rain and gusting winds, Ibrahim Halil cleared 180 to come 2nd in the u20 competition while on the u17 side, training partner Josh Dako matched his 180 to also come 2nd while Victor Cardon came 3rd in the B string with a 155 clearance. Just behind him was the fast improving Archie Powell with a non-scoring 150.

The wind and the rain did our Pole Vaulters no favours. After their warm-up a significant delay meant that they were in “do our best mode”. Dependable Charlie Platt unfortunately no-heighted freeing himself up for a last minute dash to the javelin (more on that later) but Oscar Witcombe and Finn Kitteridge did their usual thing by winning both the A and B string.

The final field event was the javelin. Ben Platt continues to impress with his return to form and threw a 41.82 to secure 3rd place. While over on the u17 side, it was wonderful to see Ellis Ibrahim return to YDL competition with a 47.58 to win the A string while a disappointed Charlie Platt, being reminded by the officials that he couldn’t throw his PV pole as it hadn’t been weighed in, threw a more traditional implement instead an impressive 42.92 to comfortably win the B string competition.

The day was rounded out by an impressive set of relays. Our u20 men continue their struggles with getting the baton all the way around the track though did better this time and I believe were winning when they missed their last exchange. Jack N’Douba, Eliot Ferguson, Rayhan Mourtada and Sam Mowa can, in any case hold their heads high.

The u17 men were another that featured numerous changes throughout the day. Last minute changes and a hasty baton-exchange coaching session did mean that Victor Cardon, Tavarion Bennet, Daniel Olatunji and Oji Okoro got it home safely in 5th place.

Meanwhile, our steeple chasers whose events were interspersed between the relays also performed incredibly well. Harry Fage just missing out on entry standard for the 2000 chase coming in 2nd in the u20 competition and James Barnes following closely behind. Oliver Ward ran brilliantly to come home in 2nd in the u17 competition while Tane Chambers who had gamely volunteering to “hop the barriers for a point” to the loud cheers of his team mates, came to win the B string competition!

As a small aside, it filled me with pride for the club when I heard athletes from the other clubs start to cheer for Tane alongside ours and one of them commenting to me, “it’s incredible how Blackheath gets people out for every event”.

The u17 4x400s showed their dominance in the event. Massive performances by Sasha (having already done the 400h, 100h, and discus), Connor Wray (800 and discus), Hendri Verster (800) and Ryen Rennie (400) romped to an over 7 second victory with splits of 54.0 for Sasha, 52.2 for Connor, 52.7 for Hendri and closing leg of 51.2 for Ryen.

The mixed 4×400 relays brought a whole new meaning to drama. While we believed we were winning the competition, it was definitely a lot tighter than past meetings and we wanted to ensure as many points as possible to secure the victory.

The A string team of James Lawson, Cameron Kelly-Gordon, Tallulah Ndikanwu and Sam Mowa ran brilliantly. We were virtually inseparable from the SBH team and a battle down the home straight saw Sam nearly track down the SBH runner coming a close second. However, as it transpires, SBH had been disqualified so we ended up with a comfortable win. Splits of 52.3 (James), 58.4 (Cam), 59.5 (Tallulah) and 50.4 (Sam).

The B race definitely did not lack in drama. New-found 400 talent Oliver Driscoll led it out followed by Julia Newman (running her 3rd 400 of the day), 800m talent Hannah Clark and being brought home by Nathan Firla. A back-and-forth race saw Nathan take the baton with a 20-25 m deficit. Digging in, Nathan tracked down his opponent like a heat-seeking missile taking him off the final bend and romping home in style. Splits of 54.0 (Oliver), 60.9 (Julia), 63.1 (Hannah) and 50.8 (Nathan).

An incredible day. Thanks to all for your efforts and for being such incredible support for one another. What a team!!!

Ian Firla

(UAG YDL Men’s Team Manager)

YDL UAG Women’s Team Match 2 Report

The season seems hardly to have started, but the second match is already upon us and, with only three this year, there is little room for error if we want to spend a weekend in Manchester at the end of the summer. Global warming appears to have interfered with the metabolisms of our distance runners, many of whom appear to have gone into hibernation and we are missing too many other athletes who we would like to class as ‘regulars’.

On the brighter side, we have several debutants who all contribute to the day’s performance: Ella, having travelled all the way from Dorset, came close to winning her shot and helped out with hammer; Faith S recorded two PBs (in the 100m and 200m) and led off the U17 sprint relay; Silvia stepped up in the 200m; Niamh (2nd) and  Angelina (1st, having already placed 2nd in the 3k!) were strong in the s/c; and Honey followed up a win and a 2nd in the 100/200m by leading home the winning U20 sprint relay team.

Other notable performances, in no particular order, came from: our pole vaulters (Lydia, Elsa and Maddie), who all ‘medalled’; our shot putters, with wins for Rianna (who later added a javelin victory) and Tallulah; more wins for Alyssa and Leah in the 300m and, with Beth and Megan, in the 4x300m; podium finishes for all the 800m girls (Hannah, Assia, Liv, Megan and Leah); more medal finishes from Sapphire, Lacee and Ella in the hammer; a solid showing from Erin in the discus; 1st and 2nd for Jodie and Sienna in the sprint hurdles and 2nd and 1st  for Sienna and Tallulah in the long hurdles; more podium finishes in the jumps for Joyce (LJ&TJ), Jessie (LJ, HJ… and javelin) and Emily (TJ); and, from Matilda who stepped in to cover a variety of events.

It may therefore not be that surprising to learn that we once again won the match, ahead of Windsor and Harrow & Decorum. It had been fairly close for some time earlier in the day but we pulled through for a reasonably comfortable victory, if not quite as comprehensive as that in the first match.

We are thus now well placed to cement our place in the September Final but will also want to ensure we secure the Southern Premiership title by producing another solid performance at SBH in the last match at the end of June.

Tim Soutar

(UAG YDL Women’s Team Manager)

Blackheath & Bromley News Desk

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