Lawrence Davis' TJ record highlights final SAL

A third place finish in the final SAL match of the season left Woodford ending the season mid-table in division 2 East. The match was won by Tonbridge, who needed a big win to try and gain promotion, with Eastbourne Rovers happy to finish second to take the division title. WGEL finished comfortably ahead of Ryston Runners, to move above the Norfolk club in the division. The highlight of the day was a league record by Lawrence Davis in the mens triple jump, but there were Woodford successes across the day.

Photos (by Alex Wardle)

Paul Scanlan Joey ONeill SAL 5 2019

Joey O'Neill hands over to Paul Scanlan in the 4x100m relay

In a triple jump competition that stretched well after the rest of the double headed fixture, Lawrence Davis sealed the win by exceeding 15m with his first jump then equalled the league record of 15.33 with his second, but continued to improve every round subsequently. The only frustration was that the record performances were all over 2.0 m/s legal limit, marginally in some cases such as the 15.54 (+2.1) 4th round but notably more on the final jump of 15.79 (+5.2), which is also Lawrence’s best all-conditions performance outdoors. This is the first outright league record by a club member since 2014 (Lucy Marshall broke the hammer record in 2016 but there was a superior performance elsewhere on the same day).

Denesha Rocastle SAL 5 2019

Denesha Rocastle: won the A Triple Jump and B Long Jump

Among other jumps winners Denesha Rocastle easily won the triple jump in 11.24 (+4.7, with wind legal best of 11.18), with U17 Naomi Olubodun taking the B string (8.65PB). Amelia McDonald comfortably took the long jump (5.17) with Denesha next best to take the B string. Amelia later took the 100m hurdles in 16.59.

On the track, while the wind appeared to promise fast sprint times, our strongest performances didn’t actually benefit from it. Eugene Amo-Dadzie took a high-quality 100m in an equal PB of 10.55 (-0.2), while Joanne Ryan’s 200m win in 25.89 came into a -1.9m/s gust. Eloise Lewis took the B string 200 having narrowly missed out in the A 100m in a season’s best (12.65 +0.9) ahead of B string winner U17 Sophie Anderson. Sophie, Jo and Eloise teamed up with Denesha Rocastle (who herself had run an electronic PB of 13.05 in the non-scoring 100) to impressively win the 4x100m in 49.84, the fastest time that Woodford has run in the SAL (albeit with 3 of the team second-claim athletes).

Andreea Golban’s 45.49 hammer win was the female performance of the match (albeit unlike in the men there weren’t several athletes competing in preparation for next week’s GB world championship trials), while Steph Howe was second overall to take the B string. Similarly Precious Hamilton took the discus comfortably with B string Emmaline Okafor beating the rest of the field. Christopher Linque was almost as clear a winner of the men’s discus, while Hugh Williams took his 3rd but least expected A string shot win of the season.

Zoe Watson Becky Wilby SAL 5 2019

Zoe Watson (W) enjoyed a PB and Becky Wilby (WW) a SB in the 1500m

Angus Holford Videsh Weerakkody SAL 5 2019

Angus Holford and Videsh Weerakkody both PB'd in the 1500m

In the distances our men did very well not to lose ground to Tonbridge, who have been the most successful distance club in recent years. Tom Beedell made his first track appearance in over a year and came through strongly to take the match A string in 15:38.17, with Dan Steel also running a strong second half to take the B string. Angus Holford just missed out in the A 1500 despite a PB of 4:03.89, with Videsh Weerakkody improving his best significantly to take the B (4:08.99). Josh Entwistle had warmed up for the steeplechase by covering in the javelin and both hurdles, but was only just outside his 2k best in taking the A string in 6:33.25. In the women’s 800m Becky Wilby took the A in 2:27.08, with U17 Wren McLean-Jackson taking the B string. Zoe Watson was another to set a 1500m PB 5:09.35 to be second in the A string ahead of Becky’s season’s best of 5:10.57 which comfortably won the B.

Before the record breaking triple jump conclusion to the match, our womens 4x400m team of Kyra Boyce, Zoe Watson, Becky Wilby and Joanne Ryan just failed to overhaul Tonbridge despite a 56.8 final leg by Jo. Our men had a tough task in a high quality 4x4 but looked set to clock their best time in the SAL prior to an injury to anchor leg Paul Scanlan, who was barely able to walk across the line. That the team was only in third place before this mishap highlights that the standard in this division has been notably higher than the club has previously seen since it entered the SAL, especially on the men’s side. Over 90 athletes have competed for Woodford in the league this year. Almost half of those eligible also competed in the senior national leagues, many for the first time which highlights the importance of the SAL to develop our athletes. SAL team manager Alan James would like to thank all those who competed and helped out throughout this league season.