There was a feeling of déjà vu about the first match of the season for the Valley team as the weather was a repeat of the wet and very windy first match last year. However, the usual club spirit shone and there were very encouraging results from new and younger athletes and with just a little luck it could have been a 3rd place start to the season.
The team result was a slight improvement with a 5th place finish which Manager, Paul Oppe, felt was a good result in view of the relatively weak team he was able to field in some events.
The TVH Field Man of the Match award was won by new signing Jamie Potton-Burrell. The 18 year old son of TVH regular Dave Burrell broke his lifetime best by over 4 metres to finish 3rd in the A string hammer with 52.29 in his first outing in club colours and is now in the top 5 in the UK for his age group. What a way to make a debut!
The TVH Track Man of the Match award was won by Myles Edwards, who is striving for a place in the Scottish Commonwealth Games team this summer. Myles was just out-kicked in a tactical 800m race but his 1:53.34 in wet and blustery conditions augers well for the season. Not satisfied with that Myles came through with a late challenge to snatch the 1500m in 3:57.37, again off a slow early pace and finished off his day with a fine 50.0 400m relay split. Not a bad day at the office!
The TVH Club Man of the Match award was won by Nigel Thomas for impressive sprinting in the 100m (10.54) and 200m (22.03) before running a storming anchor leg to snatch victory in the 4x100m relay in 42.27. Another busy day for the former British University champion who is coming back into form after injury,
With the top 3 sprinters unavailable (Lumar Sylvester ruptured Achilles, Edmond Amening and Victor Dos Santos both racing in the USA) James Olasunkanmi stepped up to the match having burst onto the scene last year with great early season form as a 16 year old. This year he has continues his good form and made his first team debut with a lifetime best of 10.78 in the non-scoring 100m before running a season’s best in the 200m of 22.10 and a great 3rd leg in the 4x100m relay. Still only 17 he is a name to watch for the future. Jason Commissiong also dipped under 11 seconds for the first time this year (10.96) before showing his versatility and club spirit by finishing 3rd in the B string110m hurdles (17.71) and also putting in a great 2nd leg in the 4x100m relay.
Delroy Mitchell paid the price for trying to mix it with Olympic decathlete Daniel Awde and suffered in the home straight but came back well later in the day to run a solid 51.7 4x400m relay leg. Luke Butler is a new face to the team and still only in his second year in athletics and his 52.64 was not far from his best time in windy conditions and he is sure to make significant improvement over the summer.
Another new face on the team was Spanish middle distance runner Mohamed Jebari El-Majoub, fresh from running a fast 1:52 during the week braved the wet and windy conditions to front-run a creditable 3rd in the B race in 1:55.93, just failing to hold off fast finishers in the last 40m. With the ability to run fast 1500m races he is a great new signing and is sure to make his mark over the summer.
Yet another new name on the team sheet was Keiron Sexton who showed great determination and grit to finish a really impressive 2nd in the 1500m B race in 4:00.86. The young Dubliner was delighted to run a lifetime best and his next target is to go sub 4 minutes.
Mohamed Mohamed has recovered from Achilles tendon problems over the past year and took advantage of the slow early pace and his great speed to take the 3000m race in 8:24.47 with teammate Mohamud Aaden in close contention, winning the B race in 8:29.37.
Jonathan Mann is still some way off race fitness, owing to final exams pressure, but still ran a solid 55.70 for 6th in the 400m hurdles A race. Club stalwart, Louis William, also showed great determination in snatching 6th place in the B race in 61.36 (in fact a lifetime best).
The steeplechase was a tough event for Sean Renfer. Originally a talented Tri-athlete and currently recovering from his London Marathon efforts, Sean managed to pick off a couple of runners to finish in 10:15.40.
The Pole Vault was held in truly awful conditions and the competition was suspended twice because conditions became dangerous with the result that the 3 best vaulters failing to clear heights. Sadly, this included Valley man Jack Phipps who recently cleared 5.00m and was hoping to go even higher today. It was not to be but he is set to make a breakthrough over the season. Mike Bartlett was therefore promoted to A string where he finished equal 3rd with 4.00m and later ran in the 110m hurdles for valuable points.
The Long Jump was a top class standard with 4 jumpers over 7 metres. Ogo Anochirionye was not far behind with 6.86 but Kerry Mathurin suffered with the windy conditions and managed only to make a mark for points.
The Triple Jump was a better event for the Valley with Nav Childs reaching 14.05m for 4th in the A event and Stephen Edwards taking 2nd in the B event with 13.61m.
The High Jump became a matter of damage limitation as Valley’s leading High Jumper Barry Pender is taking an enforced break. Stephen Edwards and Kerry Mathurin cleared heights for a valuable 7 points between them.
Team stalwart, Steve Whyte, again threw in 3 events and was a valuable point scorer; his busy afternoon started with the Hammer where 50.13m earned him 3rd place in the B event, with 38.40m in the A Discus for 6th and 12.37m in the A Shot for 8th place. Ali Mortimore backed up Steve in the Shot (11.63m) and Discus (36.38m) for 7th and 3rd place respectively.
Jon Harvey opened his season with 48.71m for 5th place in the A event with youngster Dawid Jerzykowski earning 2nd in the B event with 45.69m.
Team Manager, Paul Oppe said “I feel like I’ve lost a tenner and found a fiver. We had big gaps in the team sheet and I was expecting the worst but the team really got together and produced great performances. I was especially please with the form of the new people on the team. We have got some big guns waiting to come into the tea and I am still looking to a top 3 finish for the year. We’ve got a solid management team and the team spirit can’t be faulted, I optimistic!”
Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow
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Thames Valley Harriers
Herne Hill Harriers
Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow