Rugby & Northampton went into the final league match of the season knowing that they needed both a top three finish themselves and poor performances by other teams in order to avoid a return back to Division 2 for next season.
In the event the R&N squad which was already hit by the absence of some leading male athletes was further weakened by late withdrawals due to injuries and accidents.
This meant that several people took on extra events and inspite of some fine individual performances it wasn’t enough in a very strong fixture and R&N came up short to finish last on the day to leave them in 5th place overall and relegated along with Charnwood AC.
On the day R&N had only two winners, in the first event Emma Bailey ran her first ever 400H and clocked a battling 67.2 secs for a narrow victory. She also ran a leg in the 4x100m relay team where R&N stormed to victory with a fine anchor leg from Ellana Ruddock, for the clubs only other victory on the day.
The club picked up a handful of second places, but they required personal best and season’s best performances. A string 2nd places went to Charlie Barker (110H), Kevin Murch (Javelin), Emma Bailey (100m), whilst in the B string the club fared a little thanks to Ben Lees (110H), Kevin Murch (Hammer), Ellana Ruddock (100m), Rebecca Davies (TJ) & Kathryn Reynolds (Javelin).
On the day and throughout the season the highlights were the performances and commitment of the athletes who covered multiple events in each match. On Sunday, Charlie Barker showed why he has been the find of the season by recording 5 personal bests after only 3 months of training, whilst Kevin Murch once more handled four events to harvest 21 points. In doing so he became the highest individual points scorer for the men’s squad, with 51 points, a tribute to his commitment as both athlete and coach throughout the season.
In the ladies team the young quartet of Katie Rowe, Rebecca Davies, Kerry Murch and Kathryn Reynolds all covered several events to score valuable points whilst the two Charlottes, Burrows and Davies each chipped in with valuable points.
In the ladies team the top point scorers were Kathryn Reynolds and Kerry Murch, who each scored 57 points with Kathryn demonstrating her commitment by competing in all four matches and covering seven different events the season, whilst Kerry was one of the club’s few consistent winners during the season.
Next season the league programme will be changed due to the effect of the London Olympic Games so the club know that they need to get off to a good start in the first match to give themselves a chance of climbing back to Division 1 for 2013. They will also be looking forward to strengthening the squad in some key areas thanks to younger athletes moving into the team and the benefits expected from the coaching structure which is being progressively put into place.
The club are also hopeful that some extra athletes will move to R&N during the winter to benefit from the specialist coaching which the club can offer.