Back in the top flight

Midlands League Athletics action.
Midlands League Athletics action.


August 4

Whilst the eyes of the sporting world were firmly focussed on ‘Super Saturday’ inside the Olympic Stadium, Rugby & Northampton AC had the more local challenge of defeating City of Stoke AC in their final Midland League match in order to secure promotion back to Division 1 and the right to compete against the best teams in the Midlands.

After three hard fought matches, two of which had required the long trip to Stoke, the two clubs were level in second place in league behind leaders Charnwood who looked set to be promoted as Champions.

However, Stoke had a higher score in match points so were ahead going into the match. The only way to be sure of promotion was to beat Stoke on the day and preferably win the match in the process.

n R&N were able to field their strongest team of the season and welcomed back several key athletes from injury and exam commitments.

The men also took the opportunity to introduce some promising U17 athletes into the team in preparation for next season’s challenges.

Both the Men’s and women’s team rose to the challenges to convincingly win the match with their combined score putting them 37 points ahead of Stoke whilst Charnwood were involved in a scrap for 3rd place with BRAT. Coventry and Cannock finished 5th & 6th so were relegated.

n For the first time this season the R&N men outscored the women.

Overall the whole squad contributed well with both men and women securing five precious A-string victories as well a string of second and third places to keep them in the lead through the afternoon which was punctuated by a series of torrential downpours.

The team got off to the best possible start when Craig Murch won the men’s hammer whilst sister Kerry made her debut in the Pole Vault and also came away with a victory.

The duo then proceeded to amass further points in the Javelin, which Kerry won and the Shot.

They were ably supported by parents Kevin who collected a brace of third places in the Javelin and Pole Vault whilst mum Debbie won the B Hammer competition.

Once again the Murch family have provided the club with a solid foundation of points throughout the season with their skill and commitment.

n There was a similarly solid start on the track as the club secured a clean sweep of the men’s and women’s 400m Hurdles races through James Wright, John Bell, Hannah Scales and Charlotte Davies. James followed this up with victory in the 110m Hurdles in a time which was close to the club record.

The other men’s A string victories came from John Moreland who threw a seasons best in the Discus as well as securing vital points in the B-string Hammer and Shot after another season where he has been one of the club’s leading points scorers.

At the other end of the age scale Luke Townsend made an impressive senior debut winning the Triple Jump by over a metre from his nearest challenger and finishing second in the Long Jump.

The other B string winners were Ian Gidley in the Pole Vault and Triple Jump plus Glyn Hollingsworth in the Discus.

The sprints were also a source of good points thanks to Ciaran Wardle, Dave Fraser and Tom Johnson.

n For the ladies Ellena Ruddock led the way by winning the 100m and taking second in the 200m whilst Laura Scott completed the Hammer double winning the competition with a throw of 43.20.

The other B string victory came courtesy of Jo Pulsford in the 3000m, supporting Kirsty Wigham who took 2nd place in the A race. The pair then combined to run the 1500m.

In the other track races Grace adeyinka continued her progress by taking 2nd place in the B 200m, whilst Rachel Pearce and Megan Exley had a tough time in some classy 400m races. In the 800m Charlotte Inwood and Click Blake combined well to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively and secure the club’s best result of the season.

Asia Ercan has been a stalwart of the team this season and she picked up good points in the High Jump and 100m Hurdles whilst Kathryn Reynolds tackled the B string Javelin and Discus.

n Next season the league will comprise Birchfield, Charnwood, Cheltenham, Notts AC, R&N and Wolverhampton & Bilston which is sure to very competitive. All matches should be within easy travelling distance and the club will be looking forward to a strong campaign in order to retain their place in the top flight.