ATHLETICS: Fantastic effort to finish second overall


Rugby & Northampton AC

Midland League Division 1, Round 4 - Alexander Stadium, Sunday, August 9

Rugby & Northampton AC travelled to Alexander Stadium for the final fixture of the season safe in the knowledge that whatever the result on the day, they were guaranteed to finish at least second overall.

In the event it proved to be the best quality match of the season with Birchfield turning out several members of their British League squad and three other clubs fighting over one relegation slot.

The R&N team was heavily depleted by holidays but still finished a comfortable fourth on the day, thanks in the main to some massive efforts by athletes who each covered several events.

Decathlete James Wright warmed for his trip to Estonia by competing in five individual events as well as both relays, with his best performances being second places in the 110 hurdles and discus in each of which he recorded new personal bests, as well as also tackling long jump, high jump and shot.

Younger brother Adam also fought off a chest infection to win the B string 400m in a new personal best of 49.70.

They were ably supported by the Craig Murch, who started his day by winning the hammer and then proceeded to tackle the other three throws claiming second place in the shot, as well B string second places in the discus and javelin.

In the later event his father took second place in the A string with a throw which narrowly failed to break the 50 metre barrier.

Kevin also claimed second place in the B string hammer. For the ladies, sister Kerry also had a busy afternoon tackling four events in spite of a painful back injury.

Her best results were a third place in the shot along with victory in the B string long jump and a second place in the B string Javelin, along with season’s best in the discus.

‘Team Murch’ was completed by mum Debbie who took fourth place in the Ladies Hammer as well as fourth place in the ladies’ shot.

The other busy family were the three Goddard sisters, Bethan finished fifth in a very competitive 3000m, whilst Natalie was fourth in the 400m.

Twin sister Kirsty finished 5th in both the 800m and 1500m and then the twins both ran in the 4x400 relay to help the team to fourth place.

Other busy athletes were Jessica Hull who competed in four events and rounded off a good season with a PB as she finished second in the triple jump along with second in the long jump, whilst Hannah Shepherd picked up two PB’s as she finished first in the 100mH, second in triple jump and third in the 400mH B string events.

Hannah Scales, Dahlia Folwell and Ellena Ruddock each tackled three events with Ellena turning in her results of the season as she finished second in the 200m and third in the 100m.

Tilly Lea ran the B string 800m and 1500m and picked up a PB in the former to round off a season of all around improvement, whilst Harriet Sumnall stepped in to cover two B string throws and Megan Exley contributed with second place in the Javelin and a leg in the sprint relay.

For the men Theo Walkley Bartlett tackled four B string events including a victoty in the 110mH and runner-up in the 400mH, whilst Charlie Barker was as busy as ever tackling three events including a battling fourth place in a classy 400mH.

Chris Morgan was also busy as he tackled three events.

The sprinters had a restful day by comparison but this paid off as Adel Sesay stormed to victory in the 100m and fast finishing Zac Stapleton took second place in the 200m.

They then teamed up to help the team take second place in the sprint relay.

Ross Allen made the long journey from Yeovil and took third place in the 400m, whilst Chris Lamb and Rob Male took a brace of third places in the 3000m.

The day ended on a disappointing note when the 4x400m team were disqualified for a takeover infringement after battling their way to a third place finish.

At the end of the day’s competition Birchfield were easy winners and Stoke fielded a much stronger team to finish second and retain their status in the top division.

Wolves also fielded a stronger squad to finish third, just six points ahead of R&N.

Rugby & Northampton finished a fine second overall with a best ever score of 18 match points, reflecting their solid team-work across the whole season, Cheltenham & Newport were relegated.

Based upon the season’s results and the potential for further improvement, the club have applied to re-enter the British Athletics League and will contest the Qualifying Match at Nottingham on Saturday, September 12, where they stand a great chance of progressing if they field their strongest team.