Once again the Valley team overwhelmed the opposition to win the 3rd match of the season and make it 3 wins out of 3, this time with a winning margin of 50 points.
The weather on the day was very mixed with bursts of warm sunshine interspersed with cool rain showers, which made many of the field events difficult for the athletes and heights and distances suffered accordingly.
There was nothing in the weather conditions that could dampen the fantastic atmosphere in the Valley team though as it became apparent from the first event that we were going to have another great day with wins from Jamie Potton-Burrell in the Hammer and Chris McAlister in the 400m hurdles.
Blackheath had a good day at their home track with Southampton’s challenge to the Valley falling away as they could only manage 4th place. This leaves us on the maximum 24 points after 3 matches with our nearest challenger, Southampton, 5 points behind. More significantly we are guaranteed promotion and only need to finish 6th or higher to go up as Champions! That represents promotion in two successive seasons and a long-awaited return to the BAL Premier League after a 10 year absence, and, with our Women’s team currently at the top of the UKWAL Premier League, means that we can once again claim to be one of the top clubs overall in the country.
The Valley men proved too strong for the opposition and once again demonstrated that supremacy by outscoring every team both on the track (by 32 points) and field (by 18 points). Bearing in mind that we were still missing some key athletes we are all looking forward to the challenging standard of the Premier League next season.
The difference between the Valley and the other teams this season boils down to three factors. First, we have benefitted from some new men, especially Craig Sturrock, Remco Goetheer and Subomi Onanuga. Second, our regular first team members have performed consistently well and the young, developing athletes have fitted into the team easily. Third, the team spirit has shone through right from the first match as the Valley men have all wanted to compete and do their best for the club and their team mates and I haven’t seen that in any of the other teams. Another great team performance today underlines the fact that we have performed well throughout the season – well done to everyone!
Man of the Match for Track was won by Edmond Amaning for his stunning 200m win in 21.08 which is just one hundredth of a second outside his lifetime best and was run into a headwind of 0.3m/s. Edmond had already won the 100m B race in a season’s best of 10.69 and returned to run a scorching second leg in the winning 4x100m relay team. It was good to see Edmond back in the team and he is committed to the final match where we hope to see his silky smooth running paying dividends with a sub 21 second clocking.
Man of the Match for Field was won by Ogo Anochirionye for his winning Long Jump. Ogo has jumped consistently well all season and has improved his best distance from 7.18m last year to 7.39m this season. It was a measure of his improvement that, although he jumped 7.16m (just 2cm below his best last year), he was disappointed with the distance. However, the weather conditions were not conducive to big distances and his win was the first of the season in a very high quality event. Ogo also proved his sprinting ability in running Mark Dyble so close in the non-scoring 100m that both were given the winning time of 11.00, a season’s best for Mark and lifetime best for Ogo, and that was into a headwind of 0.3m/s.
The Clubman of the Match was awarded to Steve Whyte for winning the B Hammer (with 46.57m) and B Discus (with 38.09m) and for his long and loyal support for the club all season long. His performances are particularly impressive in view of the fact that at the age of 52 he is still putting the youngsters in their place. Well done Steve, we hope to see you continue to make that massive contribution for a long time to come.
The day started as usual on the track with the 400m hurdles and once again Chris McAlister put in a great performance to win the A race in 51.33 having been challenged for 200m by Henderson of Glasgow, but whilst Chris continued to run strongly through the line Henderson’s challenge faded and Chris won by 1.3 seconds. This was a welcome return to top form for Chris following a couple of races that saw him drop away slightly from his early season 50.88 pb. Chris later ran another gutsy 400m race in finishing a very close 4th in the B race in 48.46.
Andrew Adjube has made a great start in his new event, the 400m hurdles, having been a regular BAL team member in 400m and 4x400m last season. However, having recently run a pb of 57.1, he was frustrated by problems with his stride pattern and ran 58.49 for 4th place in the B race, although this was only 0.09 seconds outside the time he ran in the 2nd BAL match.
The sprints are traditionally strong events for us but with Subomi Onanuga missing with a back injury there were initial worries. However, Edmond Amaning made his welcome return to the team and we proved to be stronger than earlier in the season. Leroy Cain was one of two athletes who suffered a false start in the 100m A race but Leroy showed real determination and resilience in returning to run a near pb to win the 200m B race by almost 2 clear metres in 21.48. As previously stated Edmond won the 100m B race in a season’s best of 10.69 and looked majestic as he strode to victory in the 200m A race in 21.08.
Luke Lennon-Ford improved on his time in the previous BAL match to run 48.05 for 3rd place in a tightly contested 400m A race but had left himself just too much to do in the home straight and was finishing fastest of all. Luke is still getting back to fitness and we hope to see further big improvements over the next few weeks. As previously mentioned Chris McAlister ran another strong race for 4th in the 400m B race in 48.46 and the 400m hurdles/400m flat double is a really tough call.
Paskar Owor again showed great determination in the 800m A race but was carrying a niggling knee problem and was unable to hit top speed although he finished strongly to claim 5th place in 1:55.02. Paskar looked more comfortable in the 1500m where he finished a creditable 2nd place in 3:55.57 just a couple of strides behind the winner.
Kieron Sexton again ran a sensible tactical race in the 800m B race and was well placed throughout and just unable to cover the final kick from the winner. However, he finished strongly after a 60 second first lap to run 1:56.94 for 2nd place.
With Myles Edwards having recently undergone knee surgery to address a long term injury problem which has kept him out of the team all season and Chris Thomas unwell, it gave Conor Kissane-Wood the chance to make his first team BAL debut. He ran a determined race to finish 7th in the B race in 4:10.37 and it can be daunting to run in an event where the standard is this high but, with a current best of 4:08, this 21 year old showed great determination and, along with Chris Thomas, should improve quickly before the season is out. We also wish Myles all the very best for a swift recovery and a return to the team next season.
Mo Aadan and Antonio Silva were both back for this match and earned massive points in an event that has become a bit of a banker for us. Mo has recently dipped under 14 minutes (13:59.36) and looked a class apart from the field as he timed his drive for home perfectly, winning by a comfortable 11 seconds in 14:24.35 after a slow first 3km. Still only 26 Mo has a lot of time for further improvement and sub 13:50 this season looks possible. Antonio Silva is recovering fitness following a calf injury but finished 2nd in the 5000m B race in a season’s best of 15:00.60 and with another month’s training he should be back up with Mo battling for maximum points.
The 110m Hurdles was again another quality race and Panos Bekiardis made a return to the team to dip under 15 seconds for the first time for TVH this season, clocking 14.94 for 4th in the A race, whilst Jason Comissiong also took 4th in the B race in a time of 15.53, a season’s best despite suffering from an inflamed ankle. We look forward to Jason closing further in on the 15 second barrier before the season is out. In typical style Jason also agreed to cover the Javelin in the absence of Dawid Jerzykowski and threw 36.93m for 6th place in the B event.
Robert Vallance ran a storming last lap in the 3000m steeplechase to finish 5th in the A race in 10:13.47 as Andy Hennessy ran another canny race to work his way up to 3rd in the B race in 10:43.87. With both Rob and Andy capable of quicker times we look forward to the final match where we hope both will be running season’s best performances.
In the field all the throwers and jumpers suffered from the changeable weather conditions and in particular the rainy spells, with distances and heights well below best performances. Jamie Potton-Burrell recovered from a nervous start to throw 54.04m in the Hammer and record his third win in three matches this season. Steve Whyte continued the wining trend and completed his third win of the season in the B event with 46.57m – a winning margin of almost 11 metres on his younger rivals. Unfortunately, Jamie is unavailable for the final match, but he did supply my favourite quote of the day – “Sorry I can’t be with you for the final match – but my Dad will do it!” – and we look forward to seeing club stalwart Dave Burrell back in the team at Basingstoke.
Craig Sturrock was missing with a health problem so the Discus saw a competition between Remco Goetheer and Steve Whyte for the first time this season as Remco won the domestic battle by a metre (39.09m to Steve’s 38.09) and they finished 3rd and 1st respectively in the A and B events. We wish Craig a rapid recovery and hope to see him back in action for the final match on August 7.
Remco Goetheer was back in the team again for the Shot and, having recently thrown a lifetime best of 18.04m, looked hot favourite to win today. True to form Remco won by over 1.5 metres with a winning throw of 16.60m in tricky conditions and continued his massive contribution to the team scores this season. Big man – big points! He is coming to the final match and with Craig hopefully also back in the team the throws look like big points scorers again.
Jamie Potton-Burrell again threw in the B Shot and again picked up valuable points in finishing 4th with 11.83m in an event that saw everyone well down on their best distances.
Jon Harvey came out on top in the domestic Javelin competition throwing 48.29m for 5th in the A event, as Jason Comissiong helpfully covered the B event in Dawid Jerzykowski’s absence with 36.93m for 6th place.
As previously mentioned Ogo Anochirionye was a clear winner in the Long Jump at 7.16m with a winning margin of 19cms, whilst Nav Childs was 3rd in the B event with 6.03m.
Nav Childs was 5th in the Triple Jump A event, jumping 13.18m, with U20 junior Odell Okwuosa jumping 12.52m for 3rd in the B event. Unfortunately one of our talented young jumpers, Jude Bright-Davies, had to withdraw from what would have been his British League debut with an injury. We wish him well for a rapid recovery and hope he is able to compete well in the European Junior Championships later this month.
Wiith Greg Conlon and Erik Tropp missing in the Pole Vault Stan Vilga was 6th in the A event with 3.60m, while youngster Danny Burrowes battled with minor injuries to clear 2.60m on his British League debut for 6th in the B event.
Michael Adekunle is still recovering from a recent twisted ankle but in awkward weather managed to clear 1.80m for 6th in the High Jump, with 15 year old Toni Ademuwagun clearing 1.75m to finish a highly creditable 2nd in the B event.
It is worth mentioning the non-scoring sprints races as, apart from Ogo and Mark Dyble in the 100m (see above), Luke Lennon-Ford ran 11.19 and Chaka Maillet ran 11.43 as warm-up races prior to their later competitions. Mark Dyble also ran a solid 22.40 to win the non-scoring 200m.
The 4x100m team was the same as ran in match 2 except that Edmond Amaning replaced Subomi Onanuga. The running order was therefore Chaka Maillet, Edmond Amaning, Mark Dyble and Leroy Cain. I reported that the team had run 41.73 at the home match in June, which was the fastest since 2011. I am struggling to find the last time we ran 41.36, which was the time we hit today. It was certainly prior to 2008 when Power of 10 started their records! Again we had a “play safe” plan and it worked beautifully. With all changeovers organised for safe changes it was surprising to see how fast the guys had run and it is clear that we can go much faster if we want to stretch the changeovers. Chaka again had a solid and safe first leg before handing over to Edmond who flew down the back straight, Edmond handed over to Mark who again ran an impressive tight bend before passing on to Leroy who ran strongly, finishing a clear and comfortable winner.
Despite Chris McAlister being rested following his 400m hurdles/400m flat double we still had a strong looking 4x 400m team on paper. Lloyd King ran a determined first leg, clocking 50.6 from blocks and keeping us in contention near the front of the pack. Andrew Ajube battled hard throughout his second leg and finished strongly in a split of 50.1 to keep the Valley still in the mix. Taking off on third leg was Kevin Kimuana who was making his British League debut and was rewarded for his fine effort with a 48.1 second split as he handed on to anchor leg, Luke Lennon-Ford. Despite Luke running a 47.8 split he was unable to chase down the leaders and crossed the line in 4th but with just 0.27 seconds covering 2nd to 4th it was a very close and exciting finish to the day. The time of 3:16.62 was, apart from a 3:15.73 clocking last year, our fastest time since Power of 10 records started in 2007. Clearly, with Chris McAlister returning to the relay team that time can go this summer – maybe at the final match next month?
Finally, thanks should go to the team management group. I believe that we are the only team to operate with a group of managers, with Caspar Donnison, Phil Wetton and myself working together with the support of John Husbands and Tony Taylor. We have benefitted from the experience of the group and with the enthusiasm from Caspar as Team Captain this season it is proving to be a winning formula. Of course we must also give credit to Paul Oppe as we are building on the fruits of his work in recent years and the wave of success from last season has continued through the current season with obvious results. We are now looking forward to the final match with the intention of stamping our authority on the Division 1 season by achieving another win at Basingstoke on August 7 for a perfect score of 4 wins out of 4. Celebrations are planned for the evening after the match – watch this space!!
UP THE VALLEY!
|1||Thames Valley Harriers||348||8||16||24||684.0||1032.0|
|2||Blackheath & Bromley H & AC||298||7||8||15||533.0||831.0|
|3||Glasgow City AC||286||6||7||13||477.0||763.0|
|5||Herne Hill Harriers||264||4||7||11||529.3||793.3|
|7||Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC||235||2||5||7||474.8||709.8|
|8||Enfield & Haringey AC||209||1||8||9||533.3||742.3|
LEAGUE STANDING AFTER 3 MATCHES
|Position||Club||League Points||Match Points|
|1||Thames Valley Harriers||24||1032.0|
|3||Blackheath & Bromley H & AC||15||831.0|
|4||Glasgow City AC||13||763.0|
|5||Herne Hill Harriers||11||793.3|
|7||Enfield & Haringey AC||9||742.3|
|8||Basingstoke & Mid Hants AC||7||709.8|