TVH took one of their largest teams ever to a national league match at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. Everyone made a significant contribution to TVH’s victory. As usual, there was a fantastic atmosphere amongst the team from the first to last event. Despite the cold weather conditions, TVH ladies were rewarded with an amazing 8 wins, 4 new club records and 8 personal best performances. The team is incredibly well balanced this year with points being evenly split between A and B strings, and between track and field. It was very encouraging to see all our new athletes being doing so well.
The ladies in the field did not enjoy the cold weather and in general the distances were a little down for all .competitors. The first throwing event of the day was the hammer. One of TVH’s new members this year is hammer thrower Pippa Wingate. Pippa did well to get a couple of good throws out, with her best 56.32m placing her 4th in the A string. The very reliable GB junior international Katie Lambert put another very good series of throws together with her best of 55.08m placing her 2nd in the B string.
The pole vault is an event that is split into two pools. Featuring amongst the early starters was Aeysha Robinson who did very well to clear 2.50m for 4th place in the B string. In the A string, one of TVH’s new members, Clare Maurer, fresh from her BUCS gold medal from the previous weekend had another great competition setting a fantastic new club record of 3.80m as she finished 2nd on count back and was rewarded with the TVH Field Athlete of the Match award.
New club captain, Angela Barrett, has had to adjust her training to protect an ankle problem and take off from her ‘weaker’ foot. Angela remarkably still managed to jump 5.79m in the long jump to place 2nd in the A string. With a number of TVH’s leading jumpers unavailable due to injury, Ellie-Mae Stokes, who was originally signed as a javelin thrower last year, was given the opportunity to do the long jump in her first UKWAL match. Having competed for TVH in the Youth Development league for TVH, Ellie stepped up very well to TVH senior team we an excellent personal best equalling jump of 5.21m and 2nd place in the B string.
Over on the track, as usual the 400m hurdles is the first event. Lucy Ferguson was hampered by a hamstring injury but valiantly finished the race to win 2 good points in 7th for the team with 68.38. With a number of athletes unavailable, the team were delighted to welcome middle distance athlete Joanna Mobed back. Joanna volunteered to get over the 400m hurdles for the points. With other clubs failing to field complete teams she managed to beat our total points target for the hurdles with her 5th place finish. In fact, TVH remarkably had no 8th place finishers all day.
In the 100m hurdles club stalwart Angelita Broadbelt-Blake got off to a flying start as she lead to the 1st hurdle. Angie was beginning to pull away but unfortunately carried too much speed into hurdle 3 and hit the hurdle badly. Despite getting to the finish line, Angie was disqualified for use of hands. The winning time of 13.66 by the Birchfield athlete is a great indication on how fast Angie will be going this season. In the B string, GB international heptathlete Jess Tappin made a welcome return to the team and had a very good run to finish 3rd in the B string with 14.23.
Very big points were picked up in the sprint events despite the cold weather. Clieo Stephenson opened her season with a very fine 11.82 for 2nd place in the A string 100m. TVH were delighted to welcome England international Rebecca Campsall to the sprint team. Rebecca made an excellent debut by scoring maximum points in the 100m B string with a fast 11.89 and a very good 24.40 into a -2.4 m/s headwind for 2nd place in the 200m A string. Jess Tappin participating in her second event in just 30 minutes had a solid run in the 200m for 6th place in the B string (25.48).
Following her gold medal at BUCS the weekend before, TVH’s 400m star athlete, Zoey Clark, ran a very well judged race to comfortably win in 52.85, a time that won her the UKWAL Overall Athlete of the Match award. Our final sprinter making her UKWAL debut was TVH’s promising junior Jozae Grant. In her first ever 400m race Jozae did very well to run 59.89 to finish 7th and later ran a good leg in the 4x100m team.
The cold weather was much more suited to the middle distance team. In the 800m there were two TVH athletes making there UKWAL debuts. In the A string Katie Olding with a very fast finish did well to run a season’s best of 2:15.60 for 5th place. Sophie Preece, a 400m specialist, kindly agreed during the week to move up and try the 800m for the first time. Sophie ran a well-paced race to dip under 2:20 (2:19.90) for an excellent 5th place in the B string.
After some excellent road relay performances for the club over the last couple of years, it was great to see Irish international Ann Marie McGylnn finally make her UKWAL debut in the 3000m. Ann Marie stuck to her race plan and target pace, holding off Verity Ockenden, an English international from Swansea in the closing stages. Ann Marie set a lifetime best of 9:20.89 and broke the club record by 10 seconds. In the B string, Fiona Thompson also had an excellent race to finish a superb 2nd just outside 10 minutes with 10:01.68.
Ann Marie was soon back in action in the 1500m. After a relatively pedestrian first two laps, Ann Marie injected some much needed pace and held off Scottish international Emily Dudgeon of Edinburgh AC to win the A string in 4:30.29. 17 year old, Kosana Weir, making her UKWAL debut, also had a brilliant run to finish 2nd in the B string in a new personal best and a U20’s club record of 4:41.44. For her fine display of middle distance running, Ann Marie was awarded TVH’s Track Athlete of the Match award.
The final individual track event saw Stephanie Ainley debut in the UKWAL in a brand new event for her, the 2000m steeplechase. Stephanie was TVH’s most consistent cross country performer over the winter having returned back to racing after a 7 year absence. Stephanie looked like a complete natural over the barriers running a very good 7:40.76 for 4th place.
Back over to the field and there were some outstanding performances from the team. The discus was a very high class competition with three athletes going over 50m; Sophie Parkinson-Brown’s throw of 43.95m placed her 5th in the A string and just behind was Sophie Mace with a very good 43.24m for 2nd in the B string. The shot putt was another high class competition. Danielle Opara did well to place 3rd in the A string with 12.70m. Pippa Wingate in her second event of the day scored more valuable points in the B string with a fine 3rd place with 11.35m.
Having had four TVH athletes make the final of BUCS the previous weekend, the high jump is one of TVH’s most competitive events. In conditions not suited to the jumpers, Pippa Rogan did well to finish equal 3rd in the A string with 1.70m. Just behind on count back was new member and BUCS high jump silver medallist Teele Palumaa, who also jumped 1.70m to win the B string.
TVH’s strongest event over the last few years, the triple jump, continues to be one out the clubs best events despite injuries to a number of our top ranked jumpers. In her second event of the day Angela Barrett managed to find a very good jump to finish 2nd with 12.36m. Also in her second event and with a train to catch, Teele Palumaa only had time to do two jumps. Her 2nd round effort of 11.56m was good enough to win the B string by over 1 metre.
The javelin was a fantastic event as TVH’s duo Laura Britane and Olga Kotmilosi were joined by non-scoring Jess Tappin as they picked maximum points with two wins! Laurensa launched the javelin to a brilliant 49.01m to win by nearly 4.5m and set a new personal best and the 4th club record of the day. Laurensa for her great team effort won TVH’s Club Athlete of the Match award. Olga Kotmilisi also did very well to win the B string with 39.58 and Jess in her third individual event of the day, with no warm-up throws due to the 200m earlier was not far behind with 36.78.
The relays are always a great spectacle and again they did not disappoint. TVH’s 4x100m team was made up by 400m runner Jozae Grant, 100m hurdler Angelita Broadbelt-Blake, 100m specialists Rebecca Campsall and Clieo Stephenson. With some excellent changeovers and fast running in between, the team did very well to get the baton round in a good time of 48.01 for 3rd place. TVH’s 4×400 quartet of Katie Olding (in her first ever relay), Sophie Preece, Jess Tappin and Zoey Clark rose to the challenge and ran a tremendous race with our two 400m specialist Sophie (56.0) and Zoey (52.0) running especially impressive legs closing down gaps to finish in 3rd place in another very good time of 3:49.64.
Thank you to all the officials that helped with the events running so smoothly: Roger Fitzgerald (timekeeper), Maire Gorman (track judge), Dave Huffer (track judge), Marion Huffer (field official), Roy Clarridge (field official) and Alan Ferguson (field official). Thank you Florian Vogel for all these great photographs and also to all the other supporters, drivers and parents that helped out on the day – it was truly an all-round great team effort from everyone!
The remaining two matches are on Saturday 3rd June (Eton) and Sunday 16th July (Bromley) when it will be decided if the team will regain their title from 2015 as the best ladies team in the UK and get another chance to represent GB in the European Champions Club Cup next year!
|Team||League Points||Match Points|
|Thames Valley Harriers||8||234.5|
|4th||Windsor, Slough E & H||5|
|Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers||3|
|7th||Blackheath and Bromley Harriers||2|
|8th||Woodford Green with Essex Ladies||1|