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UKYDL 28-05-17

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Last updated 02 June 2017

UK Youth Development League 2017

28 May 2017 - U17/20 - Norman Park

Full results

Photos start here

A warm sunny morning greeted the athletes and supporters arriving at Norman Park for the 2nd fixture of the 2017 UKYDL upper age group campaign. The ground looked fantastic with the club tent resplendent at the top of the bank nearest to the first bend, a reminder of an absent friend and servant of the club, Hanna Cordell, who had sadly passed away several weeks earlier. Throughout the day many club members wore a ribbon in her memory and a standing ovation at 11:00 provided a poignant moment of reflection for the hundreds of people gathered in the sunshine.

Having got off to a winning start at the first fixture in Norwich, some might have assumed that a second victory was a near certainty on our home turf. That was by no means the case however as injuries and other absences had shorn the junior men’s squad of a significant number of key personnel – no less than four withdrawals in the 48 hours prior to the fixture adding to several others in the week before. Nevertheless with conditions ideal and many of the athletes buoyed by some terrific performances in the county championships and recent open meetings, there was a mood of optimism amongst the young men and women of Blackheath and Bromley Harriers AC.

The barbeque hadn’t even been lit by the time the first event of the day got started at 10.15. It was our usual triumvirate of Dylan, James and Charlie who got the first points for the club on the board. In the U17 event we repeated our Norwich performance with an excellent double win for the lads. The only downside was the first injury of the day to James – despite the alternative of a return to GCSE revision he was mature enough to rule himself out of the discus event later in the day. Dylan Reeves-Fellows was representing the club in the u20 string as he has done for several seasons. Dylan would be the first to admit he’s not a specialist hammer thrower but a few seasons ago we were short of someone for the event, he volunteered… and the rest as they say, is history. So it was particularly nice to see his efforts rewarded with a new lifetime best of 30.17 on Sunday - the first time he’s ever gone over 30m and a 4th place too. It was to be the first of many PBs we were to see during the day.

After the 11.00 pause in proceedings in remembrance of Hanna, the first track event got underway with the 400m hurdles. Edward Adams was just a tenth of a second outside his best for 3rd in the A string and it was a welcome return to track action for Frankie Scrivener in the B string. Frankie didn’t disappoint with a big PB, digging in to get ahead of Shaftesbury for 2nd and narrowly missing out on the win. Sadly Frankie became the second injury casualty of the day meaning he would not be able to compete in his main discipline the pole vault. Interestingly the scene was now set, once again SBH were watching left and right to see where the Blackheath vest would be – we knew we would have another intense battle on our hands. Next were the U17 races and Coleman set off in search of victory and also with the hope of achieving a time that gets him automatic selection for the English Schools' championships in July. Another accomplished performance by Coleman earned him the win and in the process got him tantalisingly close to the 'NS' mark with an excellent new PB of 56:96.Caelan was again the B string runner and once again he made it a great double win for the club.

Over in the sandpit the long jump was getting started. Despite acquitting himself well in the U20 competition last time, the team managers decided to put Ben Sutton back into the U17 event to give him, and the team, the best opportunity of a high scoring A string win. Ben was happy to oblige with a 6.36m jump for victory. Alongside Ben we welcomed a new member, multi-eventer Harrison Thorne for his club debut. Harrison, brother of Elliot (who represented the club with great distinction last season) was clearly fired up, taking a big PB to win the B string. In fact his 6.10m jump would have been enough to win the A string but for Ben’s winning mark. With a dearth of specialist jumpers and throwers available on the day, we relied on another talented multi-eventer Theo Adesina to cover the U20 competition. Theo, a first year under 17, also went beyond 6m to take 5th place and ensure the Long Jump was once again a high scoring event for the club. At this stage in proceedings we got the first news on the overall scores – with 8 events completed B&B had a narrow 2 point lead over SBH.

The next event on the track, the U20 1500m will go down in history as the battle of the barbeque lunch. In picking the team the junior men’s team managers couldn’t agree on who would be fastest of the two selected B&B athletes so a wager was agreed as to which of Lewis and Finlay (making his competitive club debut) would be fastest. The prize for the winning manager was a barbeque lunch bought by the other. The race itself (with A and B strings running together) was a tactical one with Lewis finding himself at the front and slowing things down to a snail’s pace for the first couple of laps until the athletes behind got impatient and started pushing things on. In the end it was a mad last lap with Finlay who had been some 30m behind Lewis putting in a ferocious finish to almost catch up his teammate. Ultimately Lewis took 3rd in the A string and Finlay a win in the B string – the two athletes just two tenths of a second apart, leaving Rod to enjoy a free lunch by the narrowest of margins! The under 17 race witnessed the continued progress of Matthew Francis who looks like a highly talented middle distance athlete in the making. Having missed quite a bit of training during the winter Matthew was still on the comeback trail at the Norwich but since then he has won the county championships and run some blistering times in open meetings. So it was no surprise that he was full of confidence at Norman Park. He ran a controlled race, winning in under 4:08 and looking like he had another gear should it have been needed. In the B string Ben Gardiner also did well, producing a good PB to take 2nd.

Meanwhile Harrison Thorne had to quickly switch his mind-set and footwear from horizontal to vertical as he made his way from the Long Jump to join Rico Cottell and Pedro Gleadall at the High Jump. On paper there was only a few centimetres between all three first year U17 athletes, but Rico having won in Norwich was given the A string berth with Harrison jumping up an age group. Pedro, having missed the match in Norwich and unable to throw was itching for his first taste of YDL action and he made a terrific start, almost matching Rico with both lads getting a max of 1.80 - enough to win both A and B strings. The rout was completed by Harrison jumping 1.75 to take 2nd in the U20 string.

Attention then switched back to the track for the 100m. With his Shaftesbury nemesis missing from the start line, English Schools' senior champion Camron Lyttle made light work of the A string opposition grabbing a comfortable win with a 10.81 performance in another powerful display of sprinting. We welcomed another new joiner to the team in the B string, Rhys Francis. Sadly for Rhys, who has a sub-11 PB on paper, he became our third injury of the day badly hurting his knee in the race. He clung on for a still creditable 2nd place but was forced to withdraw from the relay... we wish him a speedy recovery. Next up in the U17 A string saw the introduction to the squad of English schools' junior champion Kyle Reynolds-Warmington. Kyle and his parents seemed delighted to be involved and we were equally delighted to welcome them to the club. It was a perfect start for Kyle who ran a grade 1 time in taking an impressive win. Chizute was next in the B string and although a little down on his season’s best still managed a solid run for 3rd.

Whilst the squad has great strength in the javelin, injuries and absence meant we were struggling to field any specialists at all until Femi bravely volunteering to do a single throw despite himself carrying an injury. The fact that he managed over 41m is evidence of his ability, that was enough for third but in his determination to try and overcome Shaftesbury he went back for another attempt! That was really not what anyone wanted for an athlete in some pain but you can only applaud his commitment to the cause. Our multi-eventers Ed and Theo were on hand to ensure it was still a good event for the club, both taking 3rd places with throws over 30m.

In the 400m Will Pope had sportingly offered to switch to the B string to let Matt Knight run in the A string race and Matt didn't disappoint, grabbing his first sub-50 timing, an excellent 2nd place and a top-30 ranking on Power of 10. Will himself took the B string win a good couple of seconds clear of the field. In the U17 races Robert Suckling continued his progress with a sub-53 PB for 4th. It was a big PB too for George Pope who took 3rd in the B string with a 53.95 posting. George admitted that pressure of exams had limited his opportunity to train for the event so there is clearly more to come.

Back in the sandpit the Triple Jump was underway. Dylan made it a day to remember with his 2nd PB - his 11.91 jump good enough for 3rd in the U20 A string, his best performance to date in the event. In the U17 event Josh Gbagbo followed up his win in Norwich with another fine A string first place. Nana Okwesa who was making his event debut in the B sting and he showed he has real potential with an 11.46 jump, only 1cm behind the B string winner.

We were the only club to field four athletes in the 3000m race making it a high scoring event for us. Marco and Callum were both close to their PBs in the A strings whilst James Crawley smashed through the 10 minute barrier for the first time after scorching down the home straight to overtake Shaftesbury virtually on the line for the U20 B string win – it was a big moment for James and the team, and nicely summed up the spirit and determination evidenced throughout the day. It was a B string win and 7 points too for Keir Lundy who had his first race over the distance following his recent return to training.

Next were the sprint hurdles and Josh Watson was a little surprised to find himself lining up against a Bracknell athlete who was 3rd in the UK rankings although despite being pipped for the win, Josh was content with the increased competition and that helped him to new PB of 13.40 moving him into the top 5 in the country. Rico also had a bit more competition than in Norwich although he also produced a fine PB to take the B string win. In the 110m high hurdles, an event at which we have usually struggled to field an athlete, Ed Adams stepped up to the challenge. He was a bit disappointed with his run but nevertheless managed a PB and 4th place.

The shot saw yet another Blackheath PB, Dele putting 11.51 for 4th in the U20 event. Multi-eventers Harrison and Coleman did the honours in the U17 event, both going beyond 10m for 4th and 2nd in the A and B strings respectively.

The sprinters were back next for the 200m and Matt Knight had clearly flushed the 400m lactic from his legs as he ran superbly to an A string win in a fantastic new PB of 22.20. Will Pope was just a whisker outside his own PB for 4th in the B string. The U17 event saw Kyle again take centre stage, clocking a 22.37 PB for his 2nd A string win of the day. Theo completed another high scoring event for the club taking 3rd in the B string.

Next were the 800 races and it was the first time in recent memory that the B&B junior men have won all four races in an event. We had already been opening up a healthy lead over Shaftesbury (who were neck and neck with Windsor) and an event maximum of 32 points helped us further stamp our authority on an already successful match. The track timetable was now running behind schedule and as a result the U20 800 races were run together which gave Oscar Hussey on B string a bit of a surprise. The race was led off by the SBH athlete, who we learned afterward had been specially selected for his “kick” and his manager’s belief that he could get one over on Ricky Lutakome. However Ricky showed everyone his own “kick” is pretty special too, finding another gear at the 600m mark to completely bury the hapless Shaftesbury athlete. Oscar meanwhile was having his own battle against a Crawley runner for the B string win. It took a tremendous last 50m and dip on the line to give Oscar a PB and the first place. In the U17 races it was a welcome return from injury for Angus who made the perfect come-back – front running away from the field to take the win in a Grade 1 time, narrowly outside his PB. Peter Guy employed similar tactics in the B string, also going under 2 minutes in a powerful display of middle-distance running. It was big win for Peter as he secured the “full house” of 800m wins. By this time the sun had been replaced by torrential rain as a thunderstorm took hold over Norman Park, however with a huge lead over their rivals building, there was nothing dampening the spirit of the B&B athletes and supporters.

The steeplechase again proved to be a good hunting ground for the club in the pursuit of points. Windsor were the only other club who like ourselves were able to field the full complement of four athletes. In the U20 race Joss Barber claimed another 2nd place in fast time which will hopefully help him secure a place at the English Schools’. He was backed up well by Lewis Mills who continues to improve in the event taking another chunk of time off his PB to win the B string. It was a big PB too for Aaron Enser who convincingly won the A string and extended his lead at the top of the UK rankings in the process. Prince Reid made a mad dash from football training to make his 'chase debut in the B string. Not having practiced the event his technique was understandably a little in need of refinement but raw ability got him round in a shade over 5 minutes - a very respectable time in the circumstances.

The final field event saw Dele throw as season's best of over 44m in the discus, suggesting he is getting back to the great form we saw from him last year. Such is the strength of the competition that that only gave him third place as he was up against the athletes ranked 1st and 4th in the U.K.! Our other athletes Ed and Coleman both grabbed PBs with Coleman's 29m throw good enough to take 2nd in the u17 A string.

The relays are always an exciting end to the festivities, especially with a home crowd behind us and Sunday was no exception. Sadly the U17 4x1 squad, who looked on course for victory didn't connect at the second change and we failed to finish - something to work on for next time. The under 20 squad of Theo, Matt, Femi and Camron ran a sensational race however, getting the baton round in 42.51 - the fastest time by a B&B U20 team since the national final in 2012 (when we had Adam Gemili on anchor!). In the 4x4 U17 race where we'd been well beaten by SBH in Norwich we were much closer this time. The team of Peter, Robert, Ben and Coleman got the baton round in 3:33, 5 seconds quicker than in the previous fixture with Coleman running a low 51s anchor leg to almost catch Shaftesbury who themselves ran a very fast time. As in Norwich, the day was brought to a triumphant close however, in the U20 race. A team of Will, Angus, Josh and Ricky led from the gun to the finish to seal the victory in superb style.

The day closed with us winning the match by almost 160 points, helped of course by our equally fantastic girls, dedicated team of officials and spurred on by parents, coaches and other supporters. Particular thanks to the officials, scorers, Wendy and the catering team and volunteers on the BBQ. Our winning score of 868.5 we think sets a new league record (for a 6 club division), overtaking the record we set ourselves in the equivalent fixture last year. The perfect result for a perfect day and a fitting tribute to Hanna.

Photos from Jay Galley


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