UKYDL 24-07-16

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Last updated 28 July 2016

UK Youth Development League 2016

24 July 2016 - U17/20 - Eton

Congratulations! They won so go to the final on 4th September at Bedford


Full results here...

Match Report YDL Match 4 at Eton

The 4th and final league match of the Upper Age Group UK YDL took place on Sunday in Eton at the home of last year's Southern Champions, WSEH. With a place in the national final already secured, the goal for the young men and women of Blackheath was to finish as Southern Champions - a feat that had not previously been achieved since the inception of the YDL. On paper that task appeared straightforward given that we only needed to finish in the top 4 of the 6 teams competing to be certain of winning the league. However with a vast array of talent unavailable due to holidays, injuries and other misfortune, nothing was certain. Nonetheless the fixture provided the men's team a great opportunity to experiment with the selections and try out athletes in events they otherwise may not have had a chance to show their abilities. Thoughts of maintaining our unbeaten record had to be weighed against learning as much as we could about the team before we approach the final in September.

As usual the hammer boys had travelled early to get the B&B campaign underway in the first event of the day. James Lancaster was at his imperious best to claim his first YDL win of the season with a monster 57.87m throw, only marginally below his PB. In the U17 B string, absences meant that we had call on discus thrower Nathan Sureshkumar to make his hammer debut. He looked a little crestfallen to have only thrown 18m but that was actually enough for 2nd and 5 points (in an event where only one other club fielded a B string) so a great result. In the under 20 string Dylan Reeves-Fellows grabbed the first PB of the day (not counting Nathan's debut effort) for 5th place. With one event on the board Blackheath had 18 points and we were into the lead!

The first track event of the day was the 400 hurdles and once again it proved to be one of our best events. English Schools' runner-up Bailey Stickings was up against his nemesis from Tonbridge and despite a strong start, a weekend of relay and bag carrying duty at the Anniversary Games caught up with Bailey and he had to settle for 2nd. Coleman Corry stepped up to cover the B string and he continued his great progress in the event with a fast time and a comfortable win. In the U17 event things got even better with a double-win - Henry-James with a PB in the A string, and Frankie Scrivener unopposed in the B string.

Over in the sand pit the Long Jump was underway. Jack Petchy award winner Callum Gardiner got his first taste of YDL long jump action this season and he acquitted himself well with a jump of 5.53 - just shy of his PB. In the U17 event we dominated once again, English Schools' Champion Elliott Thorne took the A string with 6.67m and Ben Sutton comfortably won the B string event also jumping over 6m.

Back on the track the distance lads were getting ready for the 1500m. Whilst our place in the final was secure, for the other teams involved there was still a huge amount at stake and some of that competitiveness boiled over. Athletes jostled each other aggressively early on and several were fortunate not to have got themselves DQ'd. Meanwhile James Habergham was keeping away from the trouble out in front leading the race for three laps. Eventually the adrenalin fuelled athletes behind him started channelling their aggression into the race and they swallowed him up in an exciting last lap. Joss Barber emerged from the crowd to take a great 3rd, confirming his return to form. Meanwhile James had to settle for 2nd B string as he ran out of steam in the warm conditions. In a less eventful U17 event, Lewis Mills put in another solid sub-4:20 time for 4th in the A string whilst Oscar Hussey recorded a PB of 4:27 to take a 3rd in the B string.

The high jump was another event impacted by athlete unavailability but our strength in depth meant we were still able to field the full complement of athletes and they performed well. The highlight was seeing Kelechi Agoucha equal his PB of 1.80m to take 2nd in the U17 A string. He was a whisker away from achieving 1.85 which he will surely jump soon. William Adeyeye showed his versatility with a 1.65m jump in the u20 string whilst Ben Edozie took 2nd in the U17 B string with a jump of 1.55.

Next on track was the 100m. With Reading and Windsor breathing down our necks we needed a captain's performance from Shamar and he didn't disappoint. The English Schools' finalist scorched down the track taking his first YDL 100m win of the season. Into a headwind he was the only athlete to break 11 seconds on the day. Joe Freeman was rewarded for his commitment with his first individual scoring berth of the campaign. Sadly for Joe in his eagerness to grab the opportunity he false started! Everyone was gutted for him, not least Will Pope who sportingly gave up his place in the 200m to allow Joe the chance to redeem himself.

With all of our four specialist throwers unavailable we had to call on our deep bench of multi-eventers to cover the javelin event. Not surprisingly they coped admirably, racking up plenty of valuable points for the team. In the U17 event Coleman Corry and Edward Adams were closely matched, both throwing over 34m giving them 2nd place in the A string and a win in the B string respectively. Elliot Thorne took on the responsibility of throwing the U20 weight and off a 3 step run up in his trainers he managed a throw of nearly 38m!

Absences also hit the 400m but Bailey Stickings and Will Pope both produced solid runs for 4th and 3rd in the A and B strings respectively. In the U17 event it was two third places for Ben Sutton and Robert Abbott, Robert gaining a PB in the process.

Late withdrawals from the 3000m meant we were frantically searching for a distance runner in the days before the event and Chris Swinfen answered the call to arms. Parkrunner Chris has been training with Mick Jones and not surprisingly he was a little nervous to be making his club debut never having previously raced on the track. It was a solid start by Chris who was in the action for the first few laps before the pack got away from him. The run should give him confidence that he can be competitive at this level if he keeps up with Mick. James Crawley (4th), Lewis Mills and Callum Myatt made up the B&B contingent with Lewis stepping up from his preferred distances of 1500/800 but still managing to finish fastest of the quartet for a 3rd place in the U17 event. Callum took a good 2nd in the B string.

In the Pole Vault it was good to see George Pope vaulting well again and he was 3rd in the A string with a height of 3.35m. Backing him up as they have been all season were Lewis Stickings and Frankie, both also clearing 3 meters. By now, against expectations, B&B were beginning to establish a good lead - showing once again that even when our first pick athletes aren't available we still have the strength in depth to compete with the best clubs in the South of England.

The triple jump was again another highlight for the club with a near maximum return from our three athletes. Elliot Thorne led the Blackheath trio stepping up an age group and winning the under 20 A string with a 12.89m jump. In the u17 string there were some nervous moments for Ben in recording a mark whilst he worked out which board position to use, but he eventually jumped 12.29m for 2nd in the A string. It was good to see Max Dowling back in the team and he bagged his best result of the campaign picking up maximum points in the B string.

Another maximum score was achieved in the 100 hurdles. William Adeyeye had to pull out a PB of 13.57 for a great win the A string by just 2 hundredths of a second - that time puts him 12th in the country with still another year to go in the age group. Edward Adams completed the rout with another B string win to add to his one in the javelin.

In the shot we again had the opportunity to try out some athletes with a view to the final and all three rose to the challenge with PBs. Dele was 3rd in the U20 event with a put of 11.22 with Henry-James and Nathan taking 4th and 2nd in the U17 A and B strings respectively.

It was then back to the track for the 200m. Shamar’s hopes of a double win will have to wait for another day as he was pipped by Windsor and Enfield into third. Everyone was pleased to see that Joe successfully overcame his nerves for a clean run, coming in 5th in the B string. In the U17 event, 100m specialist Jed grabbed a PB for 4th whilst 400m specialist Ben Sutton achieved the same result in the B string.

It was then the turn of the distance boys with the 800m next on the track. James Habergham admitted to being a little below par but he still took 4th in the U20 A string whilst Oscar stepped up an age group for 4th in the B string. Angus Harrington had flown in from America the same morning but he overcame the jet-lag to finish 3rd in the U17 A string and in a very respectable time too. Callum Myatt still recovering from his 3000m exertions, willingly stepped up “for the points” in the B string.

Next came the relays, the make-up of which had been chopping and changing throughout the day as tired athletes made their way to and from the treatment table of Gemma Steinle. Eventually we landed on an U17 4 x 100 team of Robert, Jed, Edward and William and with most of them having already given a lot in their individual events, expectations of the team managers were not high. How wrong we were as they executed a faultless display to take the win, William in particular having a very strong leg. Shamar, Joe, Will and Callum G followed in the U20 event and they took a solid 3rd place.

By now the final field event of the day was underway and Dele, James L and Nathan were back in action for the discus. Dele had thrown over 44m for 4th at the English Schools so he was a little frustrated with a best on the day of 42m but that was enough to give him the A string win by a few centimetres. James and Nathan both cleared 30m for 3rd and 2nd in the U17 A and B strings respectively.

The final individual event of the day was the steeplechase. Joss Barber, a former ES finalist in the event made his YDL season’s debut in the 2000m race and he was rewarded with a PB and a fine A string win. He was backed up by James Crawley who took 2nd in the B string. In the under 17 event we had 2 steeplechase debutants in Henry-James and Coleman. Henry produced a strong run defying his inexperience by hurdling the water jumps (unfortunately one such attempt ended with a bit of a splash and apparently the video of it has since appeared on Instagram!) The result was 2nd place, a time of 4:43 and a top-30 ranking on Power of 10. Coleman similarly showed his great hurdling technique grabbing a 2nd place in the B string in the process.

All that was left were the 4 x 400s and a tired u20 squad of Bailey, Shamar, Edward and James H battled hard for 3rd, James rebounding from his earlier disappointment to run the fastest leg on anchor and ensure the place. It was a similar story for the U17 quartet of George, Oscar, Ben E and Angus who were also narrowly beaten into 3rd despite a strong last leg from Angus who just ran out of track in his attempt to catch Shaftesbury in 2nd.

So despite what had looked like a tricky fixture at the outset, in fact B&B led from the first event to the last, never relinquishing the lead. Together with the points from our equally talented ladies and our great team of officials the squad amassed an amazing 835 points, over 150 points clear of WSEH in 2nd. Once again both boys and girls won their competitions meaning we take an unbeaten record to the national final on 4th September. That will be a stiff challenge but let’s not forget this was no easy league - it is likely that the top 4 clubs in our league will get through to the final (of 8 teams) and Enfield & Haringey and Tonbridge (not exactly weak clubs!) will be relegated. It is the combination of talent, having the best coaching, strength in depth, a great team spirit and importantly the willingness of our athletes to give that bit extra that for the team (even when than means subjugating their personal desires) that helped us become Southern Champions for the first time since the YDL was formed. More of these qualities in the final and we have a realistic chance of being crowned the best club in the UK… onwards to Bedford!

Rod Harrington


Photos from Jay Galley



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