Kirsty Addy reports
The 2nd bank holiday weekend in May represented the Alexander Stadium favourite weekend of the year as Thames Valley Ladies graced their track and city to compete at the European Champion Clubs Cup championships! With 10 teams competing and only the top 6 avoiding relegation to group B, this was the aim.
The competition was strong from the off, but we hit the ground running (quite literally). In the sprints Zoey Clark, and Jess Tappin both gained solid points in the 400m/400m hurdles running 52.76 and 60.03 respectively, whilst Rebecca Campsall dipped under 12 seconds in the 100m with 11.96. Brittany Robinson and Hannah Hall also ran impressive times in the 100m B race to show the depth TVH ladies currently enjoy in the sprints.
Kosana Weir rose to the occasion in a speedy 1500m race, and posted a time of 4:41 whilst Lisa da Silva ran 18:21 in the 5000m and first part of her endurance double over the weekend.
Angela Barrett placed a brilliant 4th in the triple jump to add more crucial points to the tally whilst Molly Caudery received maximum points in the pole vault matching her own GB junior record that she set at the Commonwealth games!
On the throws side of things Pippa Wingate’s 57.10m in the hammer and Amelia Strickler’s 15.77m in the shot also contributed further points and put us in a really strong position going into the 4 x 100m relay after day 1.
Hannah Hall, Rebecca Campsall, Clieo Stephenson and Annie Tagoe were in the faster of the two races and secured a fabulous 4th place overall in the relay as well as our position on the leader board going into day 2.
Fuelled by the hotel breakfast (the poor chefs never saw us coming…) TVH ladies were ready to rumble on day 2. Angela Barrett added a 5th in the long jump to her 4th from the previous day.
Angelita Broadbelt-Blake won her race in the 100m hurdles posting a time of 13.98 to get us off to a solid start. Zoey Clark added to this and won her race in the 200m with a time of 23.89.
It was great to see Laurensa Britane competing and securing vital points in the javelin after time out from injury, and Sophie Mace achieving 44.51m in the discus.
Our young athletes gained much experience in the 800m and 3000m and did not fail to disappoint. Alice Harray went off with a quick first lap and ran a 2:14 whilst India Weir had a fantastic run to achieve a personal best and a TVH under 20’s record with a time of 9:51!
On tired legs Lisa da Silva by far did the most laps of the weekend and did a great job placing 6th in the steeplechase after the 5,000m on day 1 in her endurance double!
Perhaps the performance of the weekend came from Pippa Rogan who just missed out on maximum points in the high jump (on count back). After a tough year in 2017 it’s great to have Pippa back performing at such a high level.
In true show biz style, all the stops were pulled out for the finale of the competition in the 4 x 400m. We had ordered in a down pour along with some thunder and lightning for maximum effect. Jess Tappin, Charlotte Buckley, Aisha Naibe-Wey and Zoey Clark posted a time of 3:40.49 to secure 7 points in the last event.
Starting the day in 4th overall, we weren’t quite able to catch the top 3 clubs, but neither did we fall down the table. TVH totalled 124 points and had a 22 point lead over the Italians in 5th (ASD Bracco Athletica). By maintaining 4th overall we achieved the best performance from a GB ladies team for a generation! The only previous team to better us was the Essex ladies who achieved 3rd back in 1987.
TVH grouped together a performed brilliantly over the weekend! Every athlete should be proud of their contribution and know that this is not the peak. Being so close to the podium simply fuels the fire to come back and do better next year!
A big thanks to all that came to Birmingham to support the team. A special thanks to Jade and Lucy for keeping the ladies in tip top shape and Manuel for giving up his time year in year out.
Up the Valley!
For more brilliant photos from Christophe: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146244754@N06/albums/72157669727102438/page1
Full Results: https://eccc.athletics-uk.org/default.asp