ATHLETICS: Club maintain perfect record to reach national final


Rugby & Northampton AC

Rugby & Northampton will compete in September’s UK Youth Development U13/U15 League National Final after securing a fourth consecutive victory to win the Midland Premier Division, in a week which also saw the club lift the prestigious Kettering Chairman’s Cup for a seventh consecutive year.

The under-13 girls performed superbly to take four ‘A’ string and 7 ‘B’ string victories at the weekend’s event at Stoke’s Northwood Stadium, with Millie Watford getting the team off to a fine start with a personal-best win in the high jump. Watford leaped 1.40 metres to grab glory, while there were further wins in the field for Abigail Ward and Eve Corrigan,

Ward won the javelin with a throw of 28.32m, and Corrigan was victorious in the shot put (6.87m). The final ‘A’ victory went to Amelia Tutt, whose time of 12.2 seconds earned her first place in the 70-metre hurdles.

It was a good day for the Ball family as brothers James and Thomas impressed in the U15 field events. James took first place in the ‘A’ string hammer (38.81m) before finishing second in the discus (30.83), while brother Thomas finished first in the ‘B’ hammer with a throw of 31.75m.

Field success continued for the boys with William Ballinger coming out on top in the ‘A’ javelin (36.88m), an achievement matched by Ben Gidley (35.86m) in the ‘B’ category, while Jack Carey continued his progress in the pole vault, springing 2.4m for victory.

Adam Caulfield led the way on the track, running his first League 1500m and winning in 4:33.6, and that feat was emulated by Amy Walker for the U15 girls, who clocked 4:52.5 to win by 11 seconds. The girls also claimed double success in the shot put, with Lily May Pursey (8.66m) and Adele Blenkinsop (8.11m) taking respective wins in the ‘A’ and ‘B’ events.

The overall victory handed the club a perfect score of 24, finishing six points clear of Charnwood AC in second and seven ahead of third-placed Birchfield Harriers.

The previous weekend saw R&N win the Kettering Chairman’s Cup, an event contested by U11 and U13 athletes from across the county.

A number of young athletes impressed in the event, battling monsoon-like conditions at the beginning of the day, with some stand-out performances in the high jump from Martin Gomez (1.42m) and Eloise Nowill (1.41m) setting personal bests to beat off the under-11 competition.

Kaiyuki Crisp, competing in the same age group, had a fine day with a trio of triumphs. Victory in the long jump (4.10m) was followed by sprint success over 100m and 200m, with times of 15.4 and 30.7 seconds respectively. Anna Farrow (U11 – 3.71m) and Luke Pooley (U13 – 4.27m) also grabbed gold in the long jump, with Pooley adding to his medal haul courtesy of a win in the 100m (4.27m).

Elswhere in the sprints, Lily Carlaw’s time of 15.5 earned her top spot in the U11 girls’ 100m, with team-mate Florence Matthews (31.4) achieving the same result in the 200m. George Gammage added to the track success, taking the 200m title for the U13 boys in 28.8. There was double delight in the javelin too, where Rhys Noble threw a PB of 30.47m for the win, while Jessica Roberts (17.25) took gold for the girls.

Also on the programme was the Northants County Mile Championship, where Amy Walker took the title despite being one of the youngest competitors in the field. Walker battled the winds to clock a time of 5:22.5, winning the event by more than eight seconds.

This coming weekend sees the conclusion of the upper age Youth Development League, with the athletes aiming to emulate their younger clubmates by maintaining their 100 percent record and reaching September’s National Finals.