The final SAL match of the season saw Woodford finish a narrow second, 3 points behind Biggleswade, but ahead of Huntingdonshire, hosts Peterborough, West Norfolk and Vale of Aylesbury. While the ladies team were comfortably top scorers, the men were hampered by losing several SAL regulars to Sunday’s BAL team. Blustery and showery conditions were not conducive to high standards but WGEL athletes were highly competitive, with the women winning half of all their events.
Not unusually, WGEL throwers dominated in most events. There was a clean sweep on the women’s side thanks to Emmaline Okafor (SP A, DT B, HT B), Eike Vardja (SP B, DT A, JT A), Stephanie Howe (HT A) and Iris Verweij (JT B). Iris was top women’s points scorer, with 22 in individual events including winning the 400m hurdles A string. The men swept the heavy throws thanks to Hugh Williams (A SP, B DT), Devon Douglas (A DT and B SP), Peter Clarke (A HT) and Fergus Harford (B HT). Hugh was the top men’s points scorer, with 23, covering the team’s jumps gaps in addition to his throws successes.
The mens track was hardest hit by the pressure from BAL call-ups, such that our only individual winners were in the club’s particular strength this year, the steeplechase, with Josh Entwistle winning over 2k having already done the 5k flat and Harold Wyber taking the B. Many of our longer distance runners chose to run multiple events to minimise gaps, though the only double winner was Anna Clark who dominated the 800 and 1500. Kat Gundersen took the B 1500 (SB 5:13.9) having narrowly missed out on the A 3000, where new member Georgina Warren won the B. Rachel Lund comfortably took the womens 2k chase.
Several U17s stepped up with competitive performances including Denesha Rocastle who won the A 200 after a narrow second in the A 100, Rebecca Fafowora who won the B 200 and TJ and Thomas Adolphus who ran a big 800m PB in his first SAL match (2:08.3). Thomas also led off both mens relay teams, with the 4x100 team, including Ola Ogunade, Joey O’Neill and Savion Williams taking victory. The women similarly won the 4x100, with an all U17 quartet (Fafowora, Shakkira Sikiru, Temi Olusesan and Rocastle). Credit to our 4x400 teams who between them had already averaged 3 events including racing a mile and a half each before the finales (Verweij;Olusesan;Gundersen;Clark and Adolphus;Pete Caton;Entwistle; and Ogunade).
Through the season as a whole the WGEL team has enjoyed some very tight matches, but with the exception of winning the first fixture they narrowly missed out to end just short of the promotion zone from division 3. Team manager Alan James would like to thank all 79 athletes who have competed in the SAL this year and also all those who have officiated and helped out through the course of the season.