The last time that TVH men competed in the Premiership was in 2007, and with three surviving members of that team amongst us (Nav Childs, Jason Comissiong, and Steve Whyte), we travelled up to Sheffield to kick-start our 2017 campaign. The hotel stay and team meal allowed team members to catch up and for the now famous TVH Spirit to rekindle after the relatively dormant winter months.
Conditions in Sheffield were challenging, with cold temperatures and a strong headwind throughout the day. It is fair to say that this was a step up on the competition we faced last year and it took a little while for us to find our stride. However, find our stride we did, and a string of solid mid-table performances, peppered with some top-3 finishes, secured us joint 5th in what was a competitive first match.
The day started with Toni Ademuwagun and Joel Clarke-Khan in the high J]jump. Toni, having attained a personal best of 1.95m the weekend earlier, cleared 1.90m to finish 3rd in the B-string. Joel, putting on the TVH vest for the first time, secured a commendable 2.00m for a 5th place in the A-string, with the cold conditions limiting the winning height to 2.15m.
In the hammer throw neither Steve Whyte nor Jamie Potton-Burrell had the start to their season that they wanted, with Jamie throwing 52.28m for a 8th place finish, and Steve unfortunately not achieving a scoring throw. However, after seeing what these two fine club athletes achieved last year, and with the season only just started, we are sure that they will come back determined to set the record straight!
In the long jump Ogo Anochirionye jumped 7.14m for a 4th place finish in the A-string, just 1cm behind 3rd place, and with the form that he demonstrated at BUCS the weekend before, he will be in strong contention for a high place finish in our next match. Nav Childs completed our solid showing in the long jump with a 6.64m 3rd B-string finish.
In a highly competitive field Craig Sturrock threw 41.76m for an 8th place finish in the A-string discuss, whilst Remco Goetheer achieved a best throw of 38.18m in the B-string.
Next up in the pole vault new club athlete Emmanuel Thomas cleared 4.00m to achieve 7th place in the A-string. Though he was a little disappointed with this performance his heights achieved earlier this year show that he will be competitive in his next BAL appearance. Stan Vilga completed the pole vault with a 3rd finish and best height of 3.60m.
For the first track event we were missing 400mH Chris McAlister who is recovering from a minor foot injury but Andrew Ajube stepped up to A-string with his usual courage and determination, running 58.48s in a close finish for 8th place (equal 7th on the clock). Abdi Ali competed in the B-string, making his first appearance in the TVH BAL squad, running 64.17 for a 7th place.
Andrew Walshe and Kieron Sexton stepped up to the 800m in the next track event. Andrew ran 1:53.85 for 6th place in the A-string event, whilst Kieron came home strong to achieve 4th place in the B-string with a time of 1:56.62.
Into a -2.8m/s headwind Edmond Amaning ran 11.09 in the 100m A-string, coming 4th, whilst Leroy Cain ran 10.97 (-1.5m/s) to come home strongly and finish second in the B-string race.
New TVH athlete Richard Ollington joined Rob Vallance in the 3000m steeplechase. Richard ran a 9:51.94 to come home 6th for the Valley, whilst Rob came 5th in the B-string in a time of 10:42.71.
Nav brought the good form that he found in the long jump to achieve a 14.37m in the triple jump, securing 5th place in the A-string. Steve Edwards came 6th in the B-string with a best jump of 12.24m, a distance he wasn’t too happy with but a solid effort given his recent fathering commitments, and one he will no doubt improve upon later in the season.
With new club sprint hurdler Jack Hatton joining us later in the season Jason Comissiong stepped up to the A-string 110mH race and with a good start (despite not using blocks owing to a minor back problem) he was firmly in the mix of the race. Unfortunately Jason pulled up at the fourth hurdle with a calf strain and was unable to complete the race. The cold conditions and a delayed start can’t have helped and we wish Jason a speedy recovery from which he can prove form. Nevertheless we did secure some points with a 6th place position in the B-string race.
We welcomed both Gavin Johnson-Assoon and Jack Swain to their first TVH match and both coped well with the cold conditions and a strong Premiership field. Gavin’s best of 64.92m earned him 5th place in the A-string event whilst Jack’s 59.08m throw gave him a 2nd place finish in the B-string. We can expect both Gavin and Jack to throw further in warmer conditions in the next match.
Back from warm weather training and in fine form Luke Lennon-Ford came home in 4th in the 400m A-string event, in 48.02s. Following a rapid opening 200m a minor footwear issue kept him on his toes (almost literally, as he nearly lost a shoe) in the final half of the race. There’ll be more to come from Luke this season, providing he keeps his spikes firmly on the ground. Edmond Amaning won the B race in a superb time of 47.4s, demonstrating his excellent capabilities over the 400, as well as the short sprints. Edmond later won the Club Man of the Match for his successful multi-eventing spanning his 400m win and strong performances in the 100m and both relays.
Our two 800m warriors returned to the track to do battle in the 1500 as well on Saturday. Andrew Walshe showed no weakness, even running a PB in the A-race, finishing 2nd in 3:59.64. Kieron Sexton came home in 5th place in a time of 4:14.98, perhaps a little tired following his stellar 800m performance.
Despite lingering fatigue from his return from the US on Wednesday, Victor Dos-Santos ran a fine 200m (in -2.1m/s) to come 4th in the A-string in 21.87s. He was followed by Nilrem Stewart in the B-string race, running 22.86s for 6th place in a close finish.
It was an excellent performance from new TVH distance runner Nick Goolab, who won the 3000m A-race, our first A-string win, in a time of 8:20.91. A hard-fought A-string track win in the Premiership saw Nick thoroughly deserving of the Track Man of the Match. Antonio Silva ensured we scored highly in the 3000m, coming 3rd place in a time of 8:35.32 in the B-string race.
After a delayed start the shot put was the last event of the day, and Remco Goetheer’s and Craig Sturrock’s high-calibre performances were crucial to our final team position. Remco threw 17.11m to come 2nd in the A-string. Although a sub-par performance by his high standards, cold conditions and a long delay in the timetable did not help, and nevertheless this performance earnt him Field Man of the Match for the highest points achieved in the field. We can expect to see extra distance from Remco in what will hopefully be a warmer next match. Craig’s win in the B-string shot was secured by a solid 15.55m throw – and season’s best (so far).
Our relay teams looked fierce on paper, and proved this and more on the track. In the 4x100m, (Ogo, Edmond, Luke, and Leroy) ran 41.81 for 3rd place, right on the heels of the 1st and 2nd teams. Luke and Edmond returned to the track for the 4x400m race in which the TVH men initially led the race, with Victor on the second leg opening up a lead. A strong field of 3rd leg runners clawed back the Valley men, but Edmond’s final leg brought us home in 3rd place. With several sprinters due to return later in the season the TVH relay squad looks to be a serious force this season.
In summary, with the returning club stalwarts and strong new recruits, the TVH men have found their feet in the new territory of the Premiership division. A London match at Lee Valley on June 3rd, and with the TVH ranks set to benefit from several more returning athletes, suggests that we can go even better than our solid opening match.