BAL Clubs' Cup-Final

ImageCompeting at Barnet’s Copthall Stadium on Saturday in the final of the Clubs' cup competition, WGwEL’s combined men’s and women’s teams were victorious and again came away with the Jo Smith Trophy. On a day when all teams were some way below full strength, team managers Gladys Bird and Keith Hopson  oversaw a fine team performance, and with the Woodford women notably below their strongest, those that were competing responded admirably with performances that included six personal bests. Woodford scored 227 points, ahead of Sale on 215, Newham 213, Birchfield 201, Enfield and Haringey 159, Windsor SE&H, 139, Trafford 132, and Shaftesbury Barnet 131.




Ruth Brereton
The first of those personal bests came from Ruth Brereton who, in placing 2nd in the 400mH, went under 60 secs for the first time with 59.90 secs. Ruth later also ran in a high quality flat 400m where another personal best of 56.48 secs placed her 6th. In the women’s 800m, Junior Kathrine Foy was delighted to take close to two seconds from her best as she recorded 2m 12.79 secs for 5th. Also securing a personal best was Kristina Blackett, who competed over 200m and took a margin of 0.6 secs off her previous best to record 25.17 secs (+2.0) for 5th. The 5th personal best came from Diana Kennedy in the 2000m steeplechase where she took 16 seconds from her best as she placed 2nd in 7m20.74 secs. With some improvement in her barrier approach, Diana is capable of going significantly faster again.

As is often the case the foundations to Woodford’s team performances were laid in the field events. In the men’s discus and shot Emeka Udechuku picked up two second places with 55.26m and 17.30m respectively. In the women’s, Hollie Redman was 4th in the discus with 38.79m whilst Jo Duncan produced her best effort of the season to place 2nd in the shot with a fine 15.81m. In the hammer events Andy Frost led the men’s event until the last round, but just lost out to the Sale athlete as his 67.86m placed 2nd, whilst Sarah Smith was 4th in the women’s event with 46.47m. In the javelin, Simon Bennett produced his best throw since the Cup Final 3 years ago, with an effort of 64.90m for 3rd, with Emma Smith also 3rd in the women’s event with 43.86m. 

In the triple jump there was victory for Tosin Oke who, fine tuning his technique ahead of representing Nigeria at the forthcoming Berlin World Championships, used a short approach to

Stephanie Aneto
record 15.80m for a comfortable victory. In the women’s event Stephanie Aneto’s 12.89m placed 2nd. In the long jump Ezekiel Ewulo was also 2nd with 7.28m whilst, in the women’s event and lacking more experienced athletes, Rachel Dean stepped in and gained valuable points with 4.94m in 8th. The high jump saw Ayamba Akim 3rd with 1.75m, and Gareth Dyball recorded a season’s best of 1.95m for 5th. The pole vault saw Christian North clear 4.90m for 2nd whilst, in the women’s event, Maria Seeger, who is coached by Christian, cleared a fine 4.00m, also for 2nd. 

On the track, European junior bronze medallist Eugene Ayanful placed 3rd over 100m in a good field with 10.59 secs (+0.3), with Azaria Francis 5th in the women’s race with 12.27 secs. In the men’s 200m, Tim Abeyie just lost out in the final 20m as he clocked 21.23 secs (+1.7) for 2nd. Graham Hedman, having drawn the unfavourable outside lane in the 400m, also just lost out in the closing stages as he recorded 46.49 secs for 2nd. In the 110mHurdles Callum Priestley continued his fine run of form with 13.81 secs (-0.3) to take victory. In the women’s event, Holly Pattie-Belleli stepped up to senior action and placed a creditable 4th with 16.74 secs whilst, in the men’s 400m H, Francis Smith was 5th in 54.03 secs. 

In the middle distance events, Omar Mansour was 6th in a good field, recording 1m54.4 secs over 800m whilst, over 1500m, 17 year old Alex Cornwell acquitted himself very well against older and faster athletes in a tactical race which saw him place 4th with 3m57.52 secs. In the women’s event it was pleasing to see Linzi Snow back in club action. Having spent last year at university in the US, and then suffering injury in the British summer season, Linzi is still some way short of full fitness but nevertheless picked up good points with 4m37.3 secs for 4th. The men’s steeplechase saw Jon Long go under 10m for the first time this year as he placed 4th in 9m56.7 secs. The format of the meeting dispensed with the 5,000m and 10,000m but replaced them with a 3,000m “team race” where the aggregate times of two scoring athletes from each club decided the positions. In the men’s event, the Matt’s, Barnes-Smith and Gunby, recorded 8m26.72 secs and 8m32.36 secs for 4th overall. In the women’s race Kat Gundersen and Alex Wardle, with 10m55.31 secs - the 6th personal best, by some 6 seconds - and 11m51.24 secs, were also 4th. 

The men’s 4x100m squad of Dan Davis, Junior Ejehu (who had earlier recorded a 10.89 scs pb, and a fine 10.68 secs respectively in a non-scoring 100m), Eugene Ayanful and Tim Abeyie combined for a good victory in 40.93 secs. In the 4x400m, the women’s team of Kathrine Foy, Kristina Blackett, Holly Pattie-Belleli and Linzi Snow were 5th in 4m06.33 secs whilst the men, with Jamie Wright (49.7), Francis Smith (49.9), Eugene Ayanful (49.5) and Graham Hedman (45.9)  were 4th in 3m15.00.