Peter Browne reports:
The team looked a little weakened, and, with the loss of 7 first team athletes Paul Oppe and the rest of the management team were not confident of finishing higher than maybe 3rd or 4th. Happily we were in a strong position having finished 2nd in the first two matches and therefore had a buffer of 2 points over third placed Crawley.
As this was our most distant away match we had decided to stay overnight on Friday and Saturday and the effect was dramatic. Team spirit was very high with everyone interested in everyone else’s performances and support was very vocal. It was a day to savour and I can’t recall too many occasions when the Valley team gelled better or performed better individually and as a team.
We won and we won as a result of collective out-performance by the individuals in the team – a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts!
With this fantastic performance behind us we are leading the League by a point from Harrow who simply flopped on the day and finished a distant 4th. With one match remaining the Valley are set to be promoted back to Division 1 and only need to beat Harrow again to gain promotion as Champions.
Man of the match on the Track was Chris Macalister, who ran a lifetime best of 52.65 in the 400m hurdles before covering the 200m B event and producing another pb of 22.76; he also ran a solid 4x400m leg. Chris has now improve on his 2014 pb 5 times this season and is very close to running sub 52 before the season is out.
Man of the match in the field was Joe Steele whose 7.21m Long Jump represents a significant return to form following a series of injuries over the past 2-3 years that would have persuaded a less determined athlete to quit altogether. Joe is still on the mend and with a little more time and consistency in training will soon be threatening his lifetime best of 7.60m and beyond.
The clubman of the match was Jason Comissiong who has been a key member of the British League team for many years as a sprinter in his own right. Today Jason again demonstrated his versatility and commitment by running 15.79 for the 110m hurdles (his best ever), an impressive 45.40m Javelin and a fast and safe leg in the 4x100m relay. We are very fortunate to have such a talented, versatile and committed athlete in our ranks.
On the track the 100m saw us without our regular first team sprinters but Luke Lennon-Ford demonstrated again what a committed club man he is proving to be in offering to run the 100m (11.19 for 4th in the A race) as well as his preferred 400m before closing out his day with a majestic display on the final leg of the 4x400m. It is worth mentioning that Luke has only been a member of the club for a year but has already displayed the grit, determination and club spirit that we love to see. With a lifetime best of 45.23 over 400m the prospect of Luke running 400m hurdles in the final match is very exciting and we look forward to seeing how he can transition to another event.
Chaka Maillet made a welcome return to the team and is running as well or better than ever. His 3rd place in the 100m B event in 11.60 reflected the strong and gusty headwind that hit over 4m/s and his opening leg in the 4x100m relay was also impressive.
Mark Dyble was carrying a calf injury but was just able to finish the 200m A race and claim valuable points; although he was unable to run full throttle he finished 6th in 23.29. Chris Macalister followed up his 400m hurdles pb with another in the 200m B race where he ran 22.76 for 4th. Both 200m race had strong headwinds which slowed times down considerably.
Luke Lennon-Ford won the 400m A race with ease in an impressive 47.48, worth much faster in calm conditions. Training partner Omar Hutchinson was very close to his lifetime best when finishing 2nd in the B race in 50.02.
Paskar Owor is another athlete who has made a massive contribution his first season with TVH. Paskar simply loves racing and he continues to improve as the season progresses. His 1.54.40 for 4th in the 800m A race was another typically determined run as he fought all the way to the line and was just 0.4 seconds behind the winner.
Andrew Adjube is also in his first season with the Valley and proving to be another great clubman. Having run close to his pb early in the season with his University he seemed to lose some fitness. Although best known as a 400m runner he showed a return to form today with a very impressive 800m run as he finished 5th in the B race in 2:01.31, just 0.1 seconds outside his pb, before running a determined 50.7 on the first leg of the 4x400m.
Paskar returned to the track for the 1500m where he again demonstrated his dogged determination in battling back to finish 2nd in a season’s best of 3:52.20. Kieron Sexton returned to the team to run the 1500m although he has been concentrating on 800m this summer. Kieron was disappointed with his run but we are sure that he will return to form again shortly.
The 5000m has become a banker event for us this season with Mo Aadan and Antonio Silva again slugging it out and dropping the entire field in the first 3km before running further away from there to the finish. Although Mo held his form throughout to win handily in 14:34.80 Antonio suffered stomach cramps and had to throttle back in the last 3 laps but still held on grimly to clock a solid 14:45.49 to win the B race and finish 2nd overall.
We were missing Panos Bekiardis in the 110m hurdles but Jason Commissiong ran his fastest ever electronic time of 15.79 to snatch 3rd place in the A race. Casper Donnison helpfully agreed to cover the B event and was rewarded with 6th place in a new pb of 19.63.
Chris Macalister ran a lifetime best of 52.65 in the 400m hurdles A race despite drawing lane 1 and hitting a few hurdles along the way. We are sure to see him dip under 52.0 this season. Sadly, Casper Donnison was disqualified in the B care for a false start but it has happened to everyone at some time in their career and is a lesson learned. As mentioned above Casper made up for this by earning 3 points in the 110m hurdles, which represented the margin by which we beat Nottingham in the match.
The steeplechase has been a difficult event for us this year and we have had 4 athletes competing in the first 3 matches. Today we were fortunate to have Toby Clyde competing in his first 3000m steeplechase and the 18 year old ran a solid race to finish in 6th place in a very creditable 10:32.36. Sadly we were unable to field a second runner but this an area where we are looking to pick up points in the final match.
The field events produced good results for us today as we finished 2nd of all teams in the points. The Hammer saw club stalwart, Steve Whyte, throwing a season’s best of 49.99m to finish 3rd in the A event with Dave Burrell standing in for son Jamie Potton Burrell and reaching 40.62m for 4th in the B event.
Steve has been suffering with a back problem that limited his Discus and Shot but he was determined to earn as many points as possible. Dave has been recovering from early season injury and is also improving as fitness returns.
They again combined in the Discus and Shot with Steve finishing 6th with 38.76m in the Discus and Dave 5th in the B event with 33.06m. In the Shot Steve was 7th with 11.38m and Dave 6th in the B event with 10.68m.
Dawid Jerzykowski was just 3cm behind his season’s best in the Javelin and, in the absence of club number 1 Jon Harvey, finished 5th in the A event. Jason Commissiong continued his busy and varied afternoon with a fine 45.40 for 3rd in the B Javelin – not bad for a sprinter!
Michael Adenkunle finished equal 6th in the A High Jump with 1.80m and Ogo Anochirionye jumped a season’s best of 1.75m having already competed in his preferred Long Jump event.
The Pole Vault was a high scoring event although Greg Conlon was disappointed to miss out on winning the Pole Vault for the 3rd time this season but his 4.00m was good enough for 2nd place in difficult blustery conditions. In the B event Stan Vilga again cleared 3.80m, which is only 5cm below his best ever vault, to win the B event.
Joe Steele improved in successive rounds as he found his rhythm and his 7.21m jump was 18cm clear of 2nd place in the A event and won Joe the TVH field man of the match award. Ogo Anochirionye was also over 7m again today and his best jump of 7.05m won the B event by a massive 47cm! It has been a long time since the Valley had 2 jumpers over 7m in the same competition and we look forward to Joe and Ogo battling it out again in the final match in August.
The Triple Jump was also a high scoring event as Nav Childs benefitted from concentrating on just one event today and jumped a season’s best of 14.77m to win the A event by a massive 44cm and Stephen Edwards was tantalisingly close to 14m as his 13.99m won him 2nd place in the B event.
The 4x100m team were running together for the first time as Chaka Maillet, Lumar Sylvester, Ogo Anochirionye and Jason Commissiong combined together with safe change-overs to finish 2nd in 43.21. It was particularly good to see Lumar return to the team and to see him in action again after breaking his leg last year. We look forward to seeing him back to full fitness and racing in individual events soon.
The 4x400m was a very exciting race that saw Andrew Ajube run a great opening leg of 50.7 and handing on in 2nd place to Chris McAlister who clocked 50.3. With Omar Hutchinson (49.7) bringing home the team in front this allowed Luke Lennon-Ford (49.3)to cruise through to win comfortably in 3:19.71 more than a second ahead of Harrow in 2nd place.
Team Manager, Paul Oppe said “We always travel well and score heavily when away but today I was amazed to see how hard our guys were fighting for points and how much support they gave each other. We outperformed today as, with so many of the first team missing, I was resigned to finishing 3rd or 4th. It was a great performance and everyone made their contribution as we won by only 3 points but we are now in a position to get promoted as Champions. Up the Valley!”
|1||Thames Valley Harriers||322.0||8|
|3||Kingston AC & Polytechnic H||298.0||6|
|6||Nene Valley H||230.0||3|
|7||Gateshead Harriers & AC||227.0||2|
|8||Bristol & West AC||208.0||1|
|STANDINGS AFTER Match 3|
|1||Thames Valley Harriers||22.0||952.0|
|3||Kingston AC & Polytechnic H||16.0||891.0|
|6||Bristol & West AC||9.0||780.0|
|7||Nene Valley H||7.0||688.5|
|8||Gateshead Harriers & AC||4.0||481.5|
11 July 2015