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UKYDL 29-04-18

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Last updated 30 July 2018

UK Youth Development League 2018 - U17/U20

29 April 2018 - U17/U20 - Reading

Full results here...

Photos start here...

The 2018 YDL campaign got off to the perfect start on Sunday with a successful trip to Reading. Conditions were far from ideal however - the temperature had dropped by a massive 17C from the previous Sunday (when many of the distance runners had been busy in the mini-marathon) making the day at the Palmer Park Stadium one of the coldest YDL fixtures in living memory.

The Premier division opposition this year includes familiar foes such as Shaftesbury and WSEH, Reading themselves, plus newly promoted Team Bedfordshire and Harrow AC. With the league having reduced the number of final qualifiers to two from our division, the pressure was on all the teams to get off to a good start. Unsurprisingly the junior men of Shaftesbury looked strong in all departments and it is clear that we will have a fight on our hands to retain our league and National titles.

First up was the hammer and the opportunity to welcome new member Ben Hawkes to the squad. Ben struggled a bit with the cold conditions only managing to make one legal throw but his 54m was enough to take the B string win. Ben’s arrival has increased the competition for places but that brought the best out of James Lancaster who produced a great new 57m PB. Astonishingly James’ throw was only enough for fourth in the A string, such is the quality of the competition in this league!

The first track event was the 400m hurdles and injury to Coleman meant we needed a volunteer for the B string. Cameron Swatton was up first and he produced a composed performance to take 2nd in the A string. Then up stepped a Callum Myatt “for the points” in the B race. Despite an unorthodox technique Callum was in contention for an unlikely win until he hit the penultimate barrier and fell heavily to the ground. To gasps from the crowd he bravely picked himself up and ran to the final hurdle... there was a deep intake of breath and then a collective “ooh” as Callum crashed into it and once again landed in a heap on the ground. He limped gallantly to the finish line to secure the all-important points and a second place. Sadly however a bruised knee put paid to the rest of his competition for the day.

In the U17 races Oscar Heaney-Brufal showed why he must be a contender for the English Schools’ title this summer with a fine A string win. Having already run the National Standard this season it was no surprise to see run away from a quality field and win in comfort by two clear seconds. In the B string Caelan Raju made it the first double win of the day with a similar 2 second victory margin in the breezy conditions.

The weather wasn’t particularly conducive to long jumping either but nevertheless Ben Sutton, and Myles Xavier both took excellent A string 2nd places, Ben with a 6.50m jump; and multi-eventer Theo Adesina took the U17 B string win.

Back on the track the 1500s were underway and it was third places for Lewis Mills and Prince Reid in the U20 event against a strong Shaftesbury and Reading contingent. In the U17 race however we dominated. Matthew Francis ran a superb race, sitting on the shoulder of the leading group until with 150m to go he produced another gear to run away from the field for a fine win in 4:08. There was a great debut for Harry Fisher in the B string - he made it another double win for the club with an excellent 4:21 performance, knocking over 6 seconds off his PB!

The high jumpers produced more fireworks and a superb points haul for the club. In the U20 string Kelechi made a 1.87 (7cm PB) clearance to equal the lead but ultimately give him second place on count back. Harrison Thorne went one height better in the U17 string, his 1.90 jump being the best on the day and giving him the A-string win. In the B string Rico Cottell showed his versatility with 1.78m clearance to also take maximum points.

In the Javelin we saw the welcome return of Pedro Gleadall who impressed with a huge 54m throw to take an excellent A string win in the U17 event. Pedro was plagued with injury last season and completely reworked his technique over the winter months – hopefully that will give him a solid foundation to build on in an event that he has bundles of natural ability. We welcomed another new member Keiran Sadler in the U20 event. Keiran was a little below his best in the windy conditions and will want to want to build on his 44.03m next time, nevertheless that was enough for a B string win. Fortunately Angus Harrington, who hadn’t picked up a javelin since last season, showed his potential with a 44.67 throw to take 3rd in the A string.

Pedro’s progress to the additional throws stage in the javelin proved to be a “double edged sword” as it meant he was late arriving at the pole vault and unable to practice his run up. Going in at the deep end he sadly failed to record a clearance and so his attempt on the club record will have to wait for another day. Ethan Kitteridge was one of a handful of lower year U17s getting their first taste of upper age group YDL action on the day and he produced a 2.90m vault for 5th. In the U20 event George Pope still recovering from the ‘flu cleared 3.50m which was worthy of 3rd place.

The 100m saw Ethan Brown record his first ever sub-11 second clocking with a 10.99 for third place. Unfortunately due to a problem with the wind monitor this (and indeed all the sprint and jump PBs) looks likely to be recorded as wind assisted. Nevertheless it is surely a barrier Ethan will break “officially” sooner rather than later. In the B string it was good to see Chizute Ogbedeh back in action and he took 4th place in what would also be a PB of 11.40m. At U17 level it was 4th too against a strong field for Kyle Reynolds-Warmington despite an impressive 11.03 clocking. In the B string lower year Henry Whichello made his upper age group debut with a new PB of 11.60 to take a great win.

The 400m is an event in which have a strong and growing bench of talent and that was evidenced by the fact that we fielded 7 athletes on the day including 3 non-scorers and used several others in the relays. In the U20 A string captain Matt Knight made his first appearance of the day and he was a very close second coming in just over 50 seconds. Oscar Heaney stepped up an age group for the U20 B string which he duly won with ease. In the U17 event lower year Ollie Briars produced a grade 1 time although such is the strength of the league that was only enough for third. Caelan wrapped up the scoring with a 4th in the B string.

It was then the turn of the distance boys and the 3000m. The injury to Callum meant Prince Reid was asked to double up and he accepted the challenge with relish. As well as scrapping for points, he and Theo Wood, making his YDL debut, had their own battle for B&B supremacy which came down to a photo finish – in the end Prince’s dip on the line was enough to give him bragging rights by just 2 hundredths of a second! The U17 race saw a composed and impressive debut by Ollie Bright. Ollie ran pretty much the whole way on his own but won the A string with a great 9:27 performance. The B string saw the welcome introduction of another new athlete Alex Davis. Considering this was the first time Alex had raced on the track in a proper event he performed with great maturity and his 10:10 was good enough for 3rd.

The sprint hurdles produced some more great performances and a bag full of points for the club. In the shorter U17 event Rico had a great battle with Harrow and Shaftesbury but took a narrow win in a superb (windy) PB of 13.40 – inside the National Standard for English Schools. In the B string Theo took his second win of the day with another great display of hurdling. Josh Watson had his first race at the U20 (monster) height and he was a good second to his old adversary and ES winner from SBH.

The triple jump saw great strides being made by the B&B athletes all of who PB’d on the day. Pick of the bunch was Nana Okwesa whose 12.90m was almost half a metre further than he went last year and places him in the top 30 on Power of 10. Ben Sutton was 2nd in the U20 A string with a 12.14m jump and Kelechi also joined the 12m club taking a B string win in the process.

There was a tremendous shot put competition which resulted in two A string wins and a 2nd in the B string for the club, very nearly maximum points. Ben Hawkes had a great battle with SBH and Harrow for the U20 win, with all three athletes going beyond 14m. Ben’s PB effort of 14.36 was enough to clinch the victory and he was backed up well in the B string by yet another new member Philip Bartlett who himself PB’d. Despite being narrowly short of his own PB, Harrison won the under 17 event by almost a metre.

Captain Matt went off first in the 200m races where he found himself up against new SBH athlete who won in an impressive 20.74 clocking, nevertheless Matt took a solid third. In the B string Ethan produced a fantastic Grade 1 performance and new PB of 21.73 to take the win. Myles Xavier was up next in the first of the U17 events where he was 4th, whilst in the B string Kyron Morgan went one place better and with a new PB too.

The 800m saw several B&B athletes back in competitive track action for the first time this season. Unfortunately there was little opportunity to ease themselves in against a high quality field. Angus and Oscar Hussey took battling 3rd and 2nd places in the U20 A and B strings respectively, whilst Peter Guy had to narrowly settle for 6th in the U17 A race. Robert Suckling was in contention for most of the B race but was eventually 3rd after the sprint for the line.

The 4 x 100 relays were next and in the U17 event a new line-up of Henry, Rico, Kyron and Theo A produced a solid sub-46 second result which gave them third place and a basis from which to build this season with a bit more slickness in the transitions. The U20 looked very competitive on paper with Josh, Matt, Chizute and Kyle all in good form. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be… at the first change the baton somehow went flying and clattered onto the floor leaving red faces all round and no points… but more positively something to improve on next time!

We must be one of only a handful of clubs in the country with competition for places in the steeplechase, most other teams (including all of our competition on the day) struggle to get the full complement whilst we struggle often to fit everyone in! Lewis Mills led the B&B charge and he took a fine win after a fierce battle with Windsor. Alex Davis had a water jump he will not forget coming out of the freezing cold water drenched to the skin but nevertheless he secured 2nd place in the B string. In the U17 race Ben Gardiner showed how much he has developed during the winter with a superb win and a good new PB of 4:46 – his goal of making the ES standard this season looks very realistic. Cameron Swatton was just a shade outside his own PB but he completed an excellent event for us with the B string win.

The final field event of the day was the discus and that was new member Philip Bartlett’s main event. Once again the strength of the competition was such that despite producing a great 39m performance Philip had to settle for 4th place. In the U17 event however Pedro showed his all-round ability with a fantastic A string win and a new 38m PB in the process. Harrison backed up well for the points taking second in the B string.

That just left the relays and U17 quartet of Peter, Matthew F, Robert and Ollie looked to have secured a fantastic second place with great runs from Matthew and Ollie in particular. Sadly though and surprisingly we found out later that the lads had been DQ’d. We can only guess why because nobody told us at the time but there was a suspicion of one of the changes being outside the zone.

That just left it for the U20 team of Ben, Angus, Matt and Ethan to make amends and they did that in some style. All the lads ran well and after a solid first leg from Ben, Angus put us into a good lead which Matthew extended. That left it for Ethan to get the baton home which he did without really having to break sweat, so much so that he was able to “shut the engines down” and cruise the last 60 metres making it all look very easy.

It took about a week for the correct results to arrive but B&B took the win with 828.5 points to SBH’s 721.5 and Windsor in third with 693. A great start but let’s not get carried away - the fat lady hasn’t even arrived yet, let alone starting singing!

Rod Harrington


Photos from Jay Galley

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