Our team finished third in the third SAL match of the season, at Bury St Edmunds, behind Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets and Luton. Ilford were unusually strong in fourth, ahead of hosts West Suffolk and West Norfolk. Top scorer Iris Verweij narrowly missed out on victory in the 400m hurdles, but won the 100m hurdles and A string high jump (on countback to B string winner Rebecca Fafowora) in addition to 3 unscheduled throws performances. Man of the match Chris Linque edged out teammate Devon Douglas in the discus (49.70 to 48.34).
A hot day was conducive to sprint performances, led by HCA Eloise Lewis who was a close 2nd in both 100 and 200 in seasons bests of 12.7 and 26.5. Among a handful of U17 athletes returning to competition the day after the conclusion of their GCSEs, Larrisa Anipa equalled her PB in the B 100 in 13.5 and won the B string triple jump. Those running distance races felt the effects of the heat most markedly, so credit to Kat Gundersen and Alex Wardle for doubling up at the 1500 and 3000 (2nd in both A strings and 1st and 2nd in the B respectively). At least those covering the 2k steeplechases (Susan Edwards and Thomas Finch) got to cool down each lap in the water jump having earlier achieved their age-group best performances in their other events.
Peter Kirabo took the triple jump comfortably but elsewhere wins were hard to come by for the men. Hugh Williams was the top scorer for the men including 2nd in the A SP, in addition to hammer and javelin throws and excursions in the HJ and TJ. M40 Pete Caton marginally improved his 800m best, 2:09.6, to take A string 2nd. U17 Zac Islam-Moore equalled his PB in just missing out in the B 200m in 23.5 having come third in the A 400m. In the women Eike Vardja was second in the A string SP and LJ (4.74 her best in this country), but had to leave early and missed her main event, the javelin when its start was delayed.
While the mens team was its weakest for some time, earning less points than Ilford who had been last in our home fixture, the women were very competitive (with better fortune they would have been top scoring). They showed their strength by taking the 4x100 (Larrisa Anipa, Rebecca Fafowora, Samanta Bendaraviciute and Eloise Lewis) to hand VPTH their first loss in the event in the SAL. The result leaves a top 3 promotion spot (from the 24 team league) dependent on the result of others even if WGEL win both remaining fixtures, having gained 15 out of a maximum 18 league points so far. With less fixture clashes for the next match, Hemel Hempstead on Saturday 8 July, team manager Alan James is confident of a strong performance against 3 teams just ahead of Woodford in the division.