23 July 2017 -
Photos start here
The fourth and final league match of the upper age
group YDL campaign saw the the young men and women of B&B crowned as
Southern Champions for the second year in a row. Despite only needing to
come fourth to ensure the title was retained, nothing was left to chance as
we swept aside the Premier League competition to make it 4 wins out of 4
this season. That gave the team including the girls and officials a points
tally of over 3,300 for the season - over 400 more than second placed
arch-rivals Shaftesbury and more than the combined total scores of the two
bottom placed teams, Crawley and Norfolk.
As is typically the case at the tail end of a
demanding season, the squad was depleted by absences through injury and
(well-earned) holidays. Nevertheless the junior men had almost a complete
team sheet, in part due to the willingness of athletes to fill a gap for the
points when needed. That was true in the case of the hammer where Bertie
Harrington and Cameron Swatton joined our only available specialist, Charlie
Short, to ensure a decent return from the event. Neither disgraced
themselves with their 16m+ efforts but Charlie himself stole the show with a
38.74 PB for 3rd in the U17 A string - a fine reward for the effort Charlie
has put in all season.
Over in the Long Jump English Schools’ medallist Theo
Adesina was having "one of those days". Not surprising perhaps as the
talented multi-eventer has had a long season judging by the huge number of
performances recorded on his Power of 10 profile. With Theo well short of
his best Myles Xavier came to the rescue with a jump just under 6m which was
good enough for 2nd in the A string. Meanwhile Nana Okwesa continues to
develop, grabbing a 5.88 PB in the U20 string.
The 400 hurdles saw Coleman step up to U20 A string
with the versatile Prince Reid taking second in the B string. Coleman's race
was bizarre in that a hurdle that should have been in the Windsor lane was
standing in B&B lane requiring Coleman to make a detour. Despite some nifty
footwork from Coleman the result was that the WSEH athlete used the
opportunity to get away from him and take second place . A quick discussion
with the referee led to the result being nullified and the points for 2nd
and 3rd were sportingly shared equally between the two athletes. The U17
races saw Caelan Raju step up for a fine win in the A string and Will
Cahill, in his club scoring debut, was narrowly beaten into 3rd in the B
The U20 1500 race was another tactical one. Lewis
Mills and Aaron Enser both clung on to the pack for three laps but in the
end a strong SBH and Reading contingent got away from them on a last lap
“burn up”. The result was Lewis 3rd in the A string and Aaron 2nd in the B
string. In the U17 event Matthew Francis admitted to being a little below
par but the first year athlete still managed a solid 3rd in the A string
whilst Ben Gardiner’s reward for a 4:20 PB was 2nd in the B string.
Next the High Jump saw a very strong showing from B&B
with all three lads going clear at 1.80m. Both Kelechi Aguocha and Pedro
Gleadall seemed to get well above that height but couldn’t quite get the
technique right when it mattered leaving them to take 2nd in the U20 string
and 1st in the B string. Harrison Thorne then went a couple of heights
further gliding over 1.90 to equal his PB and win the U17 A string. In all a
near maximum score for the club.
It was then time for the “blue riband” event, the
100m. English Schools’ runner up Camron Lyttle produced yet another fine win
for his side, the only athlete to go sub-11 on the day into a strongish
headwind. Rhys Francis confirmed he is getting over his injury problems,
taking a good 2nd in the B string and it was 2nd too in the U17 A string for
Saracens rugby player Jed Hamilton on his “home” ground. Chizute wrapped
things up with a 3rd in the B string with a time just outside his PB.
Once again we were missing our javelin specialists - a
combination of injury, holidays and international duty, so it was up to the
multi-eventers to do the honours, Rico, Coleman and Theo all doing well for
In the discus the club were only able to field two
athletes, that was down to a complete aberration by the team managers! As
Allianz has an outside throws area the event was much earlier in the day
than usual but we forgot to tell English Schools’ finalist Dele Aladese who
was getting a lift to the event from mum Paulette. Despite some desperate
last minute phone calls and desperate driving from Paulette Dele sadly
arrived too late to compete. At least in the U17 event we had two athletes,
with Will Cahill and Charlie short taking 3rd and 1st in the A & B strings
Next up was the welcome club debut of English Schools'
400m runner Ethan Brown. Ethan who broke the club U17 400m record with his
48:01 performance at the Schools International two weeks beforehand was
straight in at the deep end up against the U20 A-strings of the best clubs
in England. Ethan wasn’t helped by getting the outside lane but nevertheless
ran a storming sub-49 performance only just pipped for the win by Windsor by
a tenth of a second. Matt Knight took care of the B string and was more than
a second ahead of the field to take a great win. U17 athletes Josh Gbagbo
and Robert Suckling both produced similar 53 second clockings for 2nd places
in the A and B strings respectively.
The Pole Vault saw the welcome comeback of George Pope
who has been struggling with injury. George picked up where he left off
however with an excellent 3.65 clearance for 2nd in the U17 A string. Pedro
Gleadall, who has had his own fair share of injuries, achieved the same
height and same 2nd place in the U20 string. The trio were completed by
Caelan who took a solid 3rd in the B string, also going over 3m.
Meanwhile on the track the distance boys were slugging
it out with Reading for the honours in the 3000m. It was good to see
tri-athlete Michael Eagling leading the race out and he produced a great
9:16 PB to win the U17 event. Callum Myatt narrowly missed out on a PB
himself but his 9:32 performance was good enough to win the B string and
make it maximum points for the club. In the u20 event Charlie Davis on his
return from injury took fourth, whilst Joe Georgiadis, also on the injury
comeback trail, took a good second in the B string.
Over in the Triple Jump Josh G was having a nightmare
which can often happen in what is one of the most technical events. Despite
having a 13m PB to his Josh couldn’t get things together but had to take a
“safe” 11.91 jump to ensure some points. On the plus side, Nana produced his
second PB of the day, his 11.96 jump moving him into the A string for 4th.
Kelechi took responsibility for the U20 string and in his first competitive
match of the season also PB’d for 5th.
The sprint hurdles saw English Schools’ finalist Rico
Cottell take second (to the ES winner) with the first year athlete recording
yet another sub-14 time. Harrison Thorne was back in action in the B string
and he also claimed a good 2nd place.
The 200s were next and Camron set off and full speed
but feeling tightness in his hamstring sensibly dropped into 2nd gear to
avoid a pull. Despite that he still got round in 22.6 to take 5th. Matt
Knight ran a strong B string to make it 2 wins out of 2, cruising away from
the field to cross the line almost a second a head of the 2nd place Reading
athlete. First year U17 athlete Kyle Reynolds-Warmington, also ran a
storming race in the A string, taking another fine win with a 22.52 timing.
That left Chizute to complete the scoring with a solid 3rd in the B string.
The U20 shot saw both lads record PBs with ES medal
winner Luc Durant’s huge 15.40m effort giving him a big win and pushing him
up to 4th in the UK rankings. Dele got rid of his frustration of missing the
discus in the best possible way, also getting a good PB for 2nd in the B
string. Multi-eventer Theo grabbed more points for the side with 3rd in the
Next came the 800m races and excellent races they were
too. In the U20 A string, English Schools’ 800 winner Ricky Lutakome was
taking on the ES 1500m winner, Hamza Kadir from SBH. Kadir went off like a
rocket and opened up a 25m lead after the first lap and with track running
out it looked as though there was no way Ricky could close a gap that big.
Ricky had other ideas though, pacing himself perfectly to gradually haul in
the Shaftesbury athlete and eventually bringing the crowd to their feet to
watch him cruise past with a savage kick with 150 to go. In the U17 A string
Peter Guy showed he is also learning to race, avoiding the temptation to go
off too fast but instead biding his time before running away for a great win
over the final 60 meters. In the B strings Matthew Francis took a good
second in the U20 event and Robert clung on for 5th in the U17 race despite
sustaining an injury.
The highlight of the steeplechase was seeing Lewis
Mills take more than 10 seconds off his PB to win the U20 race with his time
of 6:23. Charlie backed up well in the B string whilst in the U17 race there
was a battle for B&B supremacy between Cameron and Prince. It remained close
until the final water jump when sadly Prince tripped and fell in! Luckily
for him the incident doesn’t appear to have been captured on camera. Despite
that it was a big scoring event with the lads taking 2nd and 1st in the A
and B strings respectively.
That left the relays and with Camron sensibly deciding
to withdraw, Kyle stepped to run anchor with the U20 squad of Rhys, Matt and
Rico who had so far been unbeaten in the YDL throughout the whole campaign.
The youngster was un-phased by the responsibility however running a great
leg and completing a “full house” of victories. The U17 squad of Theo,
Myles, Jed and Zute looked on course to repeat the success but agonisingly
Jed pulled up sharply with a hamstring injury. Jed gallantly hobbled his way
to Zute who secured the 3 points for last which, but for Jed’s selfless
action, would otherwise have gone begging.
The injury to Robert meant Callum, still weary from
the 3000m race, was hauled into the U20 4x4 squad at the last minute with
Coleman, Josh and Ricky making up the foursome. The lads battled bravely and
despite a sub-50 last leg by Ricky had to settle for 4th behind SBH, Winsdor
and Reading who all produced season’s bests on the day. It was an
experimental team in the U17 race but anchored by Ethan we knew we would
have a chance if Peter, Harrison and Caelan could keep us in contention.
They did that brilliantly battling all the way to pass the baton only
marginally behind the leaders at the final changeover. That was more than
good enough for Ethan who ran a sub-49 leg to not only win the race but
bring the baton home in a season’s best of 3.30.90!
The win confirmed that we remain Southern Champions
and rounded off another terrific performance by the athletes in what so far
has been a season of highs. Once again the squad showed that we have the
talent, strength in depth and team spirit to become the very best club in
the country. We now need everyone to get some rest before ramping things up
for the final push to Birmingham on 3rd September. Well done to every
athlete that has contributed along the way and to the parents, supporters,
coaches and officials that made it all possible. Onward to the final!
Photos from Jay Galley