UKYDL 26-06-16

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Last updated 29 June 2016

UK Youth Development League 2016

26 June 2016 - U17/20 - Allianz Stadium

Full results here...

The junior men and women of Blackheath & Bromley booked their place in the 2016 National Final of the YDL with a hard fought victory on Sunday at Allianz Park, the home of Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. Whilst the record-breaking home win at Bromley had been more spectacular, for overall team effort and commitment on the day this was probably the most important victory so far as both boys and girls squads were significantly depleted compared to the home fixture. In the words of Nic Corry “there were some gritty performances, some brilliance, yet it was downright scrappy at times”. Despite an apparently convincing final score, it was certainly the closest match so far and for much of the day we had been neck and neck with Windsor. It was only as we approached the relays that we began to pull away and ultimately with a strong showing in the final events confirmed the win.


Ultimately for the boys team it was particularly satisfying to come out as the highest scoring men’s team, by just 3 points over SBH (who were last year’s national champions and representatives of GB in Europe), and on their home (astro)turf too. It was a true team effort with extraordinary contributions throughout the day.


Victory looked unlikely as the bus pulled into Allianz Park, the ground of Saracens Rugby Club (and venue of the most shockingly awful toilet facilities of surely any ground in the league?). During the previous days the junior men’s team had been beset by late withdrawals, compounded by several illnesses on the day which necessitated significant alterations to the team. News that the girls team were also struggling with injuries (and call ups to the national championships) added to the sense that it would be a challenging day.


If ever we needed a big performance in the first event to lift the team, this was it… up stepped Bailey Stickings in the 400 hurdles. We weren’t to be disappointed - Bailey scorched round the track crossing the line in an astonishing time of 53.79 – winning the event and recording the 2ndfastest time by an U20 in the UK this season! It was also another huge PB for Bailey whose return to form after his injury layoff has been remarkable. With Aleks Wiltshire also grabbing a solid 2nd in the B string we were off to exactly the start we needed. In the U17 races Josh took 3rd in the A string and Frankie won the B string to make it a superb event for us.


Meanwhile over in the sandpit the long jump was getting underway. This is a busy time in the season with events coming thick and fast, fixture clashes inevitable and injuries mounting up. So with only two specialist jumpers available we needed a volunteer and Joe Freeman was that man. Joe finished 5th in the U20 A string on his LJ debut, enough to earn the team 3 points – the margin by which we were ahead of SBH. There would be similar stories throughout the day. Once again we dominated the U17 competition with William Adeyeye and Ben Sutton winning the A and B strings comfortably. William’s winning 6.80 jump was the farthest by anyone on the day!


Over in the hammer cage, we had another debutant in the U20 string – none other than middle distance runner Marco Arcuri! Marco claimed to have been doing some weight training at home the night before in preparation and with a few tips from Carys Marsden he was good enough for 5th - and importantly 3 more valuable points. Once again, James Lancaster showed the team how it’s done with a monster 57m throw to take 2nd in the U17 string. Charlie Short was gutted not to record a legal throw but the normally “Mr Reliable” can put that down as an aberration which ultimately didn’t matter… although we didn’t know that at the time…


On the track next was the 1500m. James Habergham only signed up for the club on recommendation from Phil Sesemann, a fellow student in Leeds, but he has quickly become an invaluable member of the squad. James ran a great race and got a PB of 4:01 and 2nd place thanks to a storming sprint finish which saw him pass SBH virtually on the line. Marco picked up points in the B string and in the U17 race against a strong field Lewis Mills and Callum Myatt added 5th and 4th place finishes respectively.


We had another good result in the high jump with Kelechi Agoucha taking the A-string U17 win in only his 2nd ever competition – one better than in his debut for the club in the last fixture. The B string saw Ben Edozie make his season’s debut and he made it a double win with a PB 1.60 jump. In the U20 string Aleksander also jumped 1.60 to add to the points tally with 5th.


Up next were the sprinters, Shamar was involved in a very close battle in the U20 A-string running 10.88 – that would be good enough to win in most divisions in the YDL but such is the strength in the South Prem it was only enough for third. It was 3rd too for Matthew Knight, running up an age group in the B string. The U17 A string saw Ade Adeniran make his YDL season’s debut. Normally a sprint hurdler, injury means that Ade has been forced to focus on flat races and he showed his all-round ability with a great 11.36 to take 2nd. In the B string Femi Sofolarin took a superb win in 11.64 in a very a tight field (the last placed athlete ran 12.03!)


Meanwhile the discus was underway and it was another strong showing by the club. Dele claimed a 43m PB to take 2nd in the U20 string and it was a PB too for James Lancaster for 3rdin the U17 A string. Nathan made it a win in the B string with 31.26m. Importantly all three lads were ahead of their Windsor counterparts which helped us overturn their early lead in the overall positions – the momentum for B&B was building!


With the 400m races scheduled time up we were sweating on the arrival of Ocean Schwartz who was stuck in traffic. Fortunately the track events were running 20 minutes late by then, meaning Ocean even had time to put his spikes on before producing a 49.19 performance for 2nd – one place better than he’d achieved in the two previous fixtures! Will Pope also took 2nd in the B string and Ben Sutton did the same in the U17 A string. 100m specialist Jed Hamilton ran his first competitive 400m and he led the B string for the first 150m before the lactic got the better of him! Nevertheless it was a solid 3rd for Jed in 56 seconds.


The 3000m was a great demonstration of our strength in depth this season. Marco led our challenge with a 3rd place in the U20 A string in 9.32 and he was backed up by Charlie Davis (2nd in the B string) and Charlie Andrews (4th in the U17 A string). We were also able to give Lewis Warren his debut in the YDL team – he acquitted himself extremely well with a 10.26 performance and importantly that gave him 2ndin the B string for 5 points. By contrast, Tonbridge (arguably a middle-distance club) only fielded 1 athlete across all four slots (and everyone beat him!)


Once again the U17 sprint hurdles were a highlight for the B&B team as we gained maximum points with William and Josh winning the A and B strings respectively. With no other specialists available we decided against fielding an athlete in the 110 hurdles despite a plucky volunteer coming forward. The team managers had to weigh up the points vs. the possibility of injury in what is a brutal event and particularly with said athlete still having to do his own events afterwards we couldn’t take the risk.


The pole vault can be a mental challenge as much as a physical one and so it proved. George Pope had recently made great progress increasing his PB to 3.50 but on the day he didn’t make a clearance. Not surprisingly he was despondent but he picked himself up and went away determined to channel his frustration into the relay later on. Lewis and Frankie perhaps a little affected both cleared but were below where they’d wanted to be. They added solid points to the cause however with 4th and 5threspectively.


The shot saw Luc Durant returning from injury and he was a little short of his PB but still managed 3rd in the A string. Dele added another 2nd place to his tally in the B string but sadly we missed out completely in the U17 string. William had been due to put immediately after the hurdles but with the track races 20 minutes late and field events running on time he arrived to be told he had missed the chance. The team scores were being read out over the loud speaker and the anguish was intensified as Windsor were breathing down our necks once again.


Cometh the hour cometh the man as they say… and that meant was Shamar in action in the 200… Spurred on by “only” coming third in the 100m he produced a 22.1 PB to take a superb win in the A string in a photo-finish with Reading. In the B string Ade stepped up an age class to take a great 2nd but jubilation was short-lived however as Matthew was DQ’d in the U17 a string. All eyes were on Zute Ogbedeh in the B string and he didn’t disappoint, taking half a second off his PB for a fine win.


On the outside field the javelin was underway and the news of James Whiteaker’s incredible 3rd place in the British champs was the topic of conversation. Femi was dominant with a 49.55 throw and Angus produced a good 42.75 effort which meant a double win for the lads in the U17 event. With no other specialist available, sprinter Korede Osinibi stepped up for the team and he managed a creditable 28m throw in his trainers for 5th in the U20 event - and 3 more important points.


With several athletes unavailable for the triple jump we had the opportunity to give Kelechi Agoucha his debut. Kelechi admitted he’d never even tried it before so he was provided with a quick lesson on the indoor warm-up track by Ben Edozie. The aim was to get any sort of mark but Kelechi did the team proud with a great 10.81m jump for 4th in the U20 event. Ben himself took 4th in the U17 A string with 12.38 and Oscar stepped in to cover the B string which he duly won with a 11.22 jump.


Back on the track the 800s were starting. By now the wind had picked up so times were never going to be quick, nevertheless it was a surprise to see the u20 A string go through the bell in 61s. The race then exploded into life on the second lap and James H was narrowly pipped for the win to take another 2nd. Lewis Mills claimed he didn’t know he’d been selected for the u20 B string and he had to be dragged away from the athletes “village” to get ready. Despite this he produced one of the finishes of the day, tearing down the home straight to move from a distant 4th into 2nd and a 6 second PB! Angus led out the U17 A string for 500m but a tiring week of competition caught up with him as he was narrowly third despite a valiant attempt to emulate Lewis down the home straight. Oscar also took a solid 3rd in one of the few B strings where all 6 clubs fielded an athlete.


The 4x100 relays were once again a highlight. Whichever athletes we throw into the event they seem to do well and Sunday was no exception. The U20 team of Ade, Joe, Korede and Shamar took 2nd in 43.75 – the fastest time by a B&B U20 team for 3 years – that was despite at least one very shaky “heart in the mouth” changeover along the way! The u17 squad of William, Chizute, Femi and Matt then went one better to win their event comfortably.


With James Crawley having missed the bus we thought we would be short for the U20 steeplechase but he got himself to Hendon on public transport and was rewarded with a 2ndplace. That meant Charlie Davis took the B string win and with Windsor fielding no athletes at all in the event it made a huge difference to the points differential – at last we were building a solid lead. Angus and Oscar consolidated things in the U17 event with Oscar winning the B string with a new PB.


So it was all over bar the shouting as the 4x400s got underway but there was plenty of shouting from the watching B&B supporters as a U17 team of Jed, George, Ben E and Ben S took 5th place in the U17 race. We saved the best till last though with Ocean, Will, James H and Bailey winning in some style to confirm our overall team win over Windsor and ensure the junior men were the highest scoring men’s team on the day too.


A great day’s work from everyone involved. Particular thanks to all the athletes, officials, coaches and supporters for helping make it another fantastic day of athletics.


Rod Harrington

Photos from Jay Galley

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