New format of men's and women's matches
Rugby & Northampton AC made the short trip to Bedford for the first round of the National Athletics League. The new format comprised men’s and women’s matches, which were separately scored but which will be a combined match from next year going forwards.
The new format certainly seemed to lead to higher levels of participation and better standards in the events, especially for the women. After a hard fought day of competition both teams finished 6th out of the eight teams who were competing, having put in competitive performances.
In the men’s match Tonbridge & Basingstoke were dominant, especially in the track events. R&N were led superbly by Kyle Ennis, who claimed a double victory in the 100m and 200m and then was part of the 4x100m relay team which finished second.
The other outstanding performance came from Fenton Bishop-Timmings in the Javelin who won a very close competition with a personal best of 52.46m which also secured qualification for the English Schools Championships.
Michael Dawes and James Wright had a busy day in the throws with Dawes taking second in the hammer with a PB and also picking up a PB in the discus, whilst Wright picked up useful B string points. There were also PB’s for Alfie Bowers and Tom Saunders in the 400m Hurdles, Harry Salt in the 110mH and Sam Whittaker in the 400m. Saunders and Charlie Barker had a busy day in the jumps and hurdles with Barker’s best result being 4th in the High Jump.
In the middle distance races both Haydn Arnall (1500m) and Alistair McDonell (3000m) picked up 4th places. The best B String results were 2nd places for Adel Sesay (100m) and Tom Saunders (400mH) whilst Charlie Baker was 3rd in the Triple Jump
The Ladies match was a close fought affair and finished with Bedford and Milton Keynes tied on the same points total. The team had three victories on the day thanks to Shannon Dawes (Javelin), Amelia Birkett (Pole Vault) and Lily Higgins who dominated the 2000m Steeplechase, Birkett also secured a PB in the Shot where she finished 5th. There were also 2nd places for Hayley Murray (Hammer), Simone Ager (Long Jump) and the 4x100m relay team, along with third places for Ager in the triple jump and Lucy Stevens in the 800m. The sprints were of a good standard and were tackled by Mary Beetham Green, Ellena Ruddock and Madison Wells.
Due to the different scoring system for the women, B string performances are equally valuable and Hayley Murray rounded off a busy day by winning the discus and finishing 2nd in the Javelin whilst Lily Pursey also tackled three events, with her best result being 3rd in Shot Putt B. Rhea Cooper and Tilly Lea with Rhea taking 3rd in the 800m B whilst Tilly was fourth in the 1500m.
The next round of matches are on Saturday, July 6 when the ladies travel to Kingston Upon-Thames whilst the men face the long journey to Yeovil.