A trip to Colchester on Saturday announced the start of a new Southern League season and a start in the top Division 1 for the Valley men and women after winning promotion as champions of Division 2 North last season.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the start they were looking for as a closely fought match ended in Colchester winning the match on 197 points, just 1 point ahead of Nene Valley on 196, followed by Norwich on 159 and TVH on 145.
Despite this result there were some great performances on the day including 10 individual wins plus a win in the 4x100m relay for the men and 4 individual wins for the women, as well as a number of pb’s for both teams.
Angela Barrett’s 12.72m win in the triple jump also won her the SAL Woman of the Match award and Mohamud Aadan just missed out on winning the men’s award after his 14m30.5s win in the 5000m.
The Valley’s own Man of the Match and Woman of the Match awards went to Mark Dyble for wins in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay on his Valley debut, and junior athlete Chiara Kafero-Roberts for 3 pb’s in the 200m, 400m and high jump on her Southern League debut.
With the step up from Division 2 to Division 1 this season Saturday’s performances showed that the Valley are capable of holding their own in this division and will have a point to prove in the next Southern League match at Walton on Saturday May 30th.
Women’s Match Report
by Amber Simukonda
It was a very small female team of 7 athletes that made their way to Colchester for the first Southern League match of the season.
We had Southern League debuts for Victoria Thomas and Chiara Kafero-Roberts – our U17’s athletes.
They both performed brilliantly despite their nerves and having to compete against senior athletes for the very first time.
Victoria equalled her PB in the 100 (14.2) and ran a PB in the 200 (29.5).
Chiara had an afternoon full of PB’s – running 29.2 in the 200, 70.3 in the 400 and jumping 1.30m in the high jump.
Our U20 athletes also had a busy afternoon with Marissa John competing in the long jump, equalling her PB in the high jump (1.40m) and coming very close to her PB in the triple jump (10.28m).
Aeysha Robinson also provided much needed points in the pole vault (2.50m), shot put (7.06m) and discus (18.53).
Our senior athletes are not ones to disappoint – the afternoon started with Maire Gorman going over the 400m hurdles followed by the 800m, 400m and she finished her afternoon of running with the 2000m steeplechase.
Dominant performances were recorded by Laura Britane winning both the javelin (46.42m) and discus (41.22m) and a triple jump victory (12.72m) from Angela Barrett which led to her being crowned the SAL woman of the match.
Men’s Match Report
by Phil Wetton
After a long coach journey on Saturday morning the Valley team were welcomed to Colchester with some mild sunshine accompanied by mild windy conditions and cool temperatures after the recent spring heatwave.
A 17 strong men’s team made the trip for the first Southern League match of the season and we welcomed 4 men on their Southern League debut.
Making their Valley debut were sprinter Mark Dyble, 400m hurdler Caspar Donnison and middle distance runner Antonio Silva, as well as middle distance runner Scott Brewer on his debut in the Southern League.
Despite missing a few key athletes there were some strong performances and it was a good sign of the determination and team spirit to ensure that all the men’s events were covered on the day.
In all the men’s team scored an impressive 11 wins on the track and field, as well as a total of 6 pb’s.
On the track there were 2 pb’s for Matthieu Ribault, 16m29.7s for 1st in the B string 5000m and 4m35.7s for 2nd in the B string 1500m, a 6m30.4s pb and win in the A string 2000m steeplechase for U20 athlete Robert Vallance and a win in the A string 110m hurdles in 15.7s for Jason Comissiong to equal his pb.
On the field Stan Vilga took 2nd place in the A string pole vault with a 3.75m pb and U20 athlete Odell Okwuosa easily won the B string triple jump with a pb of 12.70m.
The Valley’s own club Man of the Match award for the overall best performances on the day proved to be a difficult decision with so many athletes recording victories and pb’s throughout the match.
The winner on the day was sprinter Mark Dyble, for a sprint double win in the B string 100m and A string 200m in 11.2s and 22.8s respectively, and a leg in both the relay teams to help the 4x100m team to victory and the 4x400m team to 4th place – an impressive start on his Valley debut, well done Mark!
Getting things started on the track in the 400m hurdles was another Valley man making his debut, Caspar Donnison, and in a strong race he ran a season’s best 62.6s for 4th place in the A race, while Bai Bai Conteh stepped in to secure 3rd place in the B race in 69.4s.
With only 2 senior sprinters available on the day, it was down to the hard-working duo of Jason Comissiong and Mark Dyble to lead the charge in the 100m, as they both recorded a time of 11.2s which brought Jason 2nd place in the A race and Mark a win in the B race in a season’s best time.
In the 110m hurdles a strong finish earned Jason victory in the A race in a time of 15.7s to equal his pb and Caspar put his hurdling technique to good use for 3rd place in the B race in 21.1s.
Following on from the 100m Mark then doubled-up with a convincing win in the 200m A race in a time of 22.8s, while a 10 minute recovery time between the end of the 110m hurdles and start of the 200m was too much to ask of Jason.
Thankfully long jumper Ogo Anochirionye was already warming-up for a non-scoring 200m and was ready to go out and run away from the field for victory in the B race in 23.2s.
On a busy day on the track Caspar was called in to service for the 400m and a season’s best time of 55.5s saw him finish 4th in a very fast A race, while 800m runner Simon Baptist also found himself in a quick B race where his time of 58.0s put him in 4th place.
After a good winter season U20 athlete Robert Vallance showed his promise on the track by doubling-up in the 800m and 2000m steeplechase, and in his debut over 800m he recorded a good time of 2m07.1s for 4th in the A race, while 3rd in the B race in a time of 2m12.9s was a good result for Simon Baptist having only recently returned from injury.
In the 5000m Mohamud Aadan started as race favourite alongside Valley newcomer Antonio Silva, who was keen to race as a non-scoring athlete and make his debut in a Valley vest, and so it proved to be as Mo and Antonio ran away from the rest of the field for Mo to win the A race in a time of 14m30.5s, just 2s outside his pb, with Antonio less than a second behind to win the non-scoring race in 14m31.2s.
Not wanting to be left out Matthieu Ribault made it a hat trick of victories in the 5000m by winning the B race in a new pb time of 16m29.7s.
Matthieu then followed this up with another pb of 4m35.7s for 2nd place in the 1500m B race, while the experience of Steve Norris brought him home under 4m30s for 4th place in the A race in a good time of 4m29.8s.
A very well timed race and some good hurdling technique by Robert Vallance earned him victory in the 2000m steeplechase A race in a new pb of 6m30.4s, while Scott Brewer followed his non-scoring 2m33.4s run in the 800m with his Southern League debut in the steeplechase B race and scored some valuable points for 2nd place in a time of 8m56.0s.
As the competition on the track drew to a close the Valley entered a strong quartet for the 4x100m relay, made up of sprinters Jason and Mark, and jumpers Ogo and Stephen Edwards, who ran over to the track having only just taken a jump in the middle of his triple jump competition.
It proved to be a winning combination and there was no doubt as soon as Jason had the baton in his hand and flew down the home straight to win in 44.0s.
For the 4x400m relay individual 400m runners Caspar and Simon, 800m runner Robert and sprinter Mark all capped a busy day on the track with 4th place in a time of 3m43.4s.
It was also a busy day on the field for the Valley men, though with Ali Mortimore our only regular in the throws it was down to team spirit to ensure the B strings were covered in the heavy throws.
In his first match of the year Ali was up against some tough competition and starting in the A string shot putt with 11.25m for 4th place, he only just missed 3rd place by 4cm, with Ogo covering the B string for 4th place in his first ever shot putt of 5.15m.
In a very high quality hammer competition both the A and B strings were won with throws over 60m and Ali had to be content with 4th place in the A string with 36.77m, while Bai Bai threw out the hammer for the first time to earn 3rd place in the B string with 11.44m.
In a close discus competition Ali edged 2nd place in the A string with a throw of 33.82m and Bai Bai added to a busy schedule with another first throw in the discus of 15.10m for 4th place in the B string.
In the last of the 4 throws sprinter Jason turned his talents to the javelin and in a closely fought competition came away with a good 2nd place in the A string with a throw of 43.85m, while Ali took on the B string with a 37.95m throw for another 2nd place.
In the jumps, Michael Adekunle performed well in the high jump with a 1.80m jump for 2nd place in the A string, and U20 athlete Odell Okwuosa did well for 2nd place in the B string with 1.55m.
Following on from his improvement during last season pole vaulter Stan Vilga opened his Southern League account with a pb of 3.75m for 2nd place in the A string, while Bai Bai took a well deserved win in the B string with a jump of 2.20m.
There was also a strong combination in the long and triple jumps for the Valley, with Ogo just missing out on victory in the long jump by 11cm, with his 6.66m jump taking 2nd place in the A string, and he was well backed up by Stephen Edwards who won the B string with a jump of 5.73m.
For the final jumps of the day it was 1st and 2nd again for the Valley in a late starting triple jump, which didn’t help Steve as he had to interrupt his jumping for a leg of the 4x100m, yet despite this he still managed a jump of 12.98m for 2nd place in the A string.
Following on from a 5.30m jump in the non-scoring long jump Odell had a great end to the day as he continues to improve as a jumper and was a clear winner in the B string triple jump with a good pb of 12.70m.
As the final match scores were announced it was disappointing not have finished higher, but there were many good performances throughout the team that showed the promise of what we could achieve in Division 1 this season.
So I look forward to seeing everyone out for the next Southern League match on Saturday May 30th and showing what we can do as a team!
SAL Division 1, Match 1, Colchester, 25-04-15, Results
1 Colchester Harriers19742 Nene Valley Harriers19633 City of Norwich15924 Thames Valley Harriers1451