Saturday saw all 5 divisions compete at the same venue at Bedford in the third round of this season’s BAL competition. As had been predicted by many, the admittedly ambitious timetabling sadly did not run to plan, with the track programme finishing an hour and a half behind schedule, and the field still to complete. Team managers across all divisions lost athletes towards the end of the day to ensure they could reach home that evening, and it appeared that the entire Glasgow team had to leave prior to completion of the delayed programme, in order not to miss their flight home. It will be interesting when the feasibility of this format is properly reviewed in due course.
With the results being scrutinised overnight Woodford finished 5th (having provisionally been placed 4th) in this very close fixture, leaving them 4th overall in the Premiership table. Birchfield the leaders comfortable won with 373, from NEB with 285, SBH 274, Sheffield 265, Woodford 262, TVH 247, Southampton 224 and Liverpool 222. This means with one match left Liverpool are already relegated, and Birchfield will win as long as they field a team in the final fixture. League scores are: Birchfield 24, NEB 18, SBH 16.5, Woodford 15, Sheffield 13, TVH 11.5, Southampton 7 and Liverpool 3. The foundations of Woodford’s performances were led in the field, with several good performances led by a triple jump double win from Tosin Oke and Peter Kirabo. Special mention should be made of Ryan McKinlay who plugged many of the gaps we had.
That double win in the triple jump saw London 2012 Olympic finalist Tosin Oke take a close 2cm victory with a distance of 16.27m as Peter Kirabo took the “B’ with14.13m. The long jump was the first event of the day at 10 am, and Anton Dixon left it until the final round to pull out a decent jump but he then produced 7.15m (+1.0) which placed him 3rd, with Sam Khogali winning the “B” with 6.92m (+1.8). The high jumpers had to compete in rain which hindered performances, nevertheless, Robert Wolski was 2nd in the “A” with 2.00m, and Will Grimsey won the ‘B” with 1.95m. Nathan Gardner cleared 4.40m in the Pole Vault for 5th, and Ryan McKinlay gained useful 6th place “B” points with 2.20m. The shot putters also competed in the rain, but Youcef Zatat nevertheless came out the winner with a distance of 17.03m and debutant Hugh Williams was 7th in the “B” with 10.49m. The hammer saw Mark Dry take another victory with 70.19m, and Andy Frost was 3rd in the “B” with 57.41m. In the discus, Devon Douglas was over 50m and his 50.71m placed 5th in a good standard competition. In the "B" Chris Linque was also 5th with 44..65m. James Bongart was 6th in the javelin with 57.23m and veteran Simon Bennett placed 3rd in the “B” with 55.71m.
Our track team was weakened with regular members competing at the European U/23 's or preparing for the European U/20's together with some last minute unavailability. Proceedings also started very early with the 3000m where Adam Kirk-Smith returned to the flat after steeplechasing for most of the season. In a good race Adam just lost out as he placed 2nd with a personal best of 8m12.81 secs. Ed Shepherd now back in the UK after finishing studies in the US ran well in the “B” to take 3rd with 8m30.02 secs. Ed was back in action several hours later over 1500m where in a tactical race over 1500m he placed 2nd in the “B” with 4m01.17 secs, with Phil Norman 5th in the ‘A” with 3m58.89 secs. Over 800m Andrew Mariani was 5th with 1m55.73 secs, and in the “B” Paul Scanlan placed 6th in another tactical race with 2m00.29 secs. In the 3km s/ch, Tomaz Plibersek placed 6th with 10m 01.88 secs, and Angus Holford showing improved technique was 4th in the “B” with 10m06.48 secs. Tomaz then covered the 110m H where he placed 7th in the “A” and Ryan McKinlay covered the “B”. Ryan had earlier run in the “A” 400m H, 8th with 63.53 secs, and Adam Kirk-Smith had a first outing in that “B” event and placed 6th with 61.62 secs. With a last minute unavailability over 400m Ewan Dyer had to step into the “A” string in that event and in his first race of the summer he was 7th with 52.42 secs. Jos Farqharson stepped into the “B’ and recorded a pb of 51.35 secs to place 6th. The sprints were of a high standard Omololu Abiodun covered the “A” strings placing 5th over 100m with 10.98 secs and 7th over 200m with 21.84 secs. Jordan Kirby-Polidore was in both “B” strings, but in some discomfort as he placed 8th over 100m with 11.32 secs and then over 200m limped in 8th suffering with an achilles problem.
Makeshift relay teams had to be assembled at the end of the day, and 1½ hours after they been due to be held. The 4x100m team of Ryan McKinlay, Omololu Abiodun, Jos Farquharson and Shayne Dewar crossed the line in 6th, but were disqualified for a faulty final change. The 4x400 team of Ryan McKinlay, Ed Shepherd, Omololu Abiodun and Jos Farquharson were 7th with 3m39.00 secs