ATHLETICS: Best ever start to Midland league - PICTURES

Rugby & Northampton finished second in the opening Midland Division 1 meeting at the Rugby track    PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Rugby & Northampton finished second in the opening Midland Division 1 meeting at the Rugby track PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
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Rugby & Northampton AC

Rugby & Northampton AC got off to their best ever start in the Midland league when they finished second in Division 1 on Saturday on a blustery day at the Rugby track.

Tom Cheyne

Tom Cheyne

Being so early in the season and with many athletes being faced with exams, it was a day of mixed standards and most clubs struggled to field a full team.

However, R&N made full use of their home advantage and great team spirit to overcome last minute injuries to some key athletes to set themselves up to better last season’s third place finish.

Craig Murch travelled up from London to get the team off to a great start, almost equalling his PB as he finished 2nd in the hammer with a throw of 63.71m, while Ellie Broome got the ladies off to a flying start by winning the long jump with a leap of 5.77m.

The club also managed yet another clean sweep of the javelin events thanks to Glyn Hollingsworth, Kevin Murch, Kerry Murch and Megan Exley.

Craig Murch

Craig Murch

As the match progressed the men’s team turned in a succession of solid performances, scoring well in most events and bolstered with wins by Luke Townsend (110H), Adam Wright (800m) and Hollingsworth along with Sierra Leone international Adel Sesay claiming 1= in the 100m and following it by being part of the 4x100m with also finished 1= with Birchfield.

There were also strong 2nd places from Zac Stapleton (200m), Daniel Williams (2000S/C), a busy Luke Townsend (400H) and John Moreland in both the shot and discus.

In the B string 100m Clinton Osaba-George looked in great shape as he claimed a clear victory whilst Hollingsworth also won the discus. There were also 2nd place B finishes for Tom Cheyne (LJ), Rico Ewer (200m), Jack Murphy (S/C) & Charlie Barker who took 2nd in the 400H in spite of a knee injury.

The Ladies’ team relied heavily upon U20 athletes who all stepped up to the challenge admirably. The only victories came from Kerry and Ellie but there were excellent 2nd places for Emily Waugh (3000m), Molly Barnett (100H) & Grace Adeyinka (TJ).

Hannah Scales

Hannah Scales

On a day when many athletes did several events Jess Hull led the way scoring valuable points in the long jump and triple jump where she was 2nd along with the 100 and 200m B races and the sprint relay.

Hannah Scales was also busy covering both hurdles race and both relays.

Another PB performance came from Lucy Cousins who threw the 4kg hammer 37.04 whilst she was ably supported by Debbie Murch who took 3rd in the B competition with a throw of 31.24m.

Debbie’s performance was also notable in that it completed the ‘family set’ with all of ‘Team Murch’ who are fabulous supporters of the club competing together in a league event for the first time in two years.

Megan Exley

Megan Exley

By the end of the meeting Birchfield were clear winners with 432pts followed by R&N with 344.5 pts. Newly promoted Cheltenham are clearly much improved as they took 3rd with 330 pts.

The remaining places were filled by Wolves, Stoke and a very weak Newport outfit, who had made the long trip from South Wales.

The second round is at Wolverhampton on Saturday, June 6 where R&N will be looking to turn out another strong squad to consolidate the good start to the season.

Kevin Murch

Kevin Murch

Kerry Murch

Kerry Murch