BAL Premiership Match Three

In an enthralling contest at Barnet’s Copthall Stadium on Saturday, WGwEL’s men’s team finished a close second to local rivals Newham who scored 355 points, ahead of Woodford on 347. Sale were a distant third on 292, with Birchfield fourth on 281. With Sylvia Nicholson in attendance amongst the Woodford supporters, Team Manager Gladys Bird was pleased with the team's performance, and Woodford now lie a clear second in the division on 19.5, behind NEB on 24, with Birchfield third on 18.5. With one meeting left, Trafford are sure to be relegated, but Enfield, Shaftesbury, Sheffield or Sale could now each join them. It was a strong all-round effort from Woodford’s men, but the field eventers laid the foundations, with hammer thrower Mark Dry picking up the Man Of The Match award for his victory with a new personal best of  70.81m.

Mark Dry, started the 2009 season with a personal best of 65.43m, but has improved all summer, and the national U/23 Champion made another significant improvement as he went over 70m for the first time in the last round of the competition with his 70.81m effort. That takes him to the top of this year’s UK rankings, ahead of club mate, Andy Frost’s 70.36m, and moves Mark to 18th on the UK all-time list. As Mark took the “A” string Andy Frost, who had thrown over 69m last weekend, was a little below top form, but nevertheless won the “B” string with 65.60m. There was another double victory in the discus as Emeka Udechuku delivered a season’s best effort of 59.23m with Tom Norman taking the “B” with 52.07. Later, in the shot, Emeka placed 2nd with 17.41m with Carl Fletcher taking the “B” with 16.69m. In the javelin Simon Bennett was 6th with 59.45, and Paul Howard, 5th in the “B” with 51.94m. 

There was another personal best in the Pole Vault as Alasdair Strange, who had improved his best to 5.05m at Loughborough on Wednesday, improved again, to 5.13m to place 3rd, as Christian North took the “B” with 5.03m. In the triple jump, Tosin Oke was in fine form as he took victory with 16.25m w (+2.1) Tosin is a former European junior champion and 5th placer at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, but  has now opted to represent Nigeria, and recently qualified for the Berlin World Championships after winning the Nigerian Trials last week with 16.65m. Sayo Ojo was 4th in the “B” with 13.37m w(+2.7). In the long jump Ezekiel Ewulo was 2nd with 7.39m (+1.7), with Guyson Kuruneri  also 2nd in the “B” with 7.18m. Martin Lloyd, who has been out of action for several weeks with injury, returned to action to take high jump victory in a season’s best of 2.18m, with Gareth Dyball also clearing a season’s best of 1.93m for 2nd= in the “B”. 

Track action opened with the 400mH and Francis Smith a little below his recent fineform, 5th in 53.88 secs, and Jamie Wright a good 3rd in the "B” with 54.02 secs. In the 110mH, run into a strong headwind, Callum Priestley was just edged out, recording 14.02 secs (-2.4) for 2nd, with Daniel Davis, also 2nd in the “B”, with 14.46 secs (-1.9). All the sprinters had to battle the strong headwinds, but in the 100m there was disappointment as the usually very reliable, Tim Abeyie was, along with the NEB athlete, disqualified for two false starts. In the “B”, U/20, Junior Ejehu was 4th with 11.31 secs (-3.5), and later ran well to take the “B” 200m from the outside lane in 22.07 secs (-1.4). In the “A” race, 400m specialist Graham Hedman took 3rd with 21.65 secs (-2.9). The 400m races saw two 3rd places - from Nick Leavey, in the “A” with 47.70 secs, and Musa Audu with 47.88 secs, a season’s best in the “B”. 

Over 800m, Andy Brown had a solid run and in a close race was 6th with 1m53.16 secs, as junior Gavin Lewis was also 6th in the “B” with 1m55.45 secs. Another youngster, recent English Schools 1500m winner Alex Cornwell, was 5th in the “A” 1500m with 3m55.61 secs, with New Zealand Para Olympian Tim Prendergast 2nd in the “B” with 3m57.20 secs. Matt Barnes-Smith was 7th in a tough 5000m in 15m12.67 secs, with Andrew Clare picking up valuable “B” points in 6th with 16m30.31 secs. Another picking up valuable points, as always, was Jon Long in the 3000m s/ch, 7th in 10m06.20 secs. 

The 4x100m squad of Dan Davis, Junior Ejehu, Colin Wilson and Tim Abeyie were a close 2nd in 41.15 secs. The 4x400m team rounded off a fine day with a close victory over Enfield, with Musa Audu (48.9), Vincent Ogendengbe (47.8), Nick Leavey (47.2) and Graham Hedman (45.93) combining to record 3m09.83 secs – just 0.05 secs outside the WGwEL Club record. 

Full results here  

In a guest women’s 400m race held in conjunction with the meeting, Tara Bird recorded a season’s best over 400m of 53.90 secs as she placed 2nd to Donna Fraser.