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NAL 2nd Round - Woodford


Woodford hosted the second round of the National Athletics League at Ashton Playing Fields on Sunday. The meeting was designated a World Athletics Level E permit by UKA and was streamed live by Vinco Sports. Despite the current normal of April weather with its torrential downpours in the middle of summer, there were some very good individual performances from athletes from all of the Clubs competing. The weather despite the dire warnings and some briefly very wet periods was not as bad as was predicted and the Club and the officials did a first-rate job in promoting the fixture which ran to time despite the weather. The first fixture was at Eton and Woodford finished a very close 5th and were hoping to place higher in this second match. In the end, the points from 3rd to 6th are extremely close and from the early provisional results Woodford placed 4th on the day.  Results will be updated when formally finalised.

Last minute injuries and other absences combined to weaken a little the planned team strength but as always, all those who competed did so admirably and those who stepped in at the last minute to plugged unforeseen gaps contributed valuably in such a close contest. Individual Woodford performances were led by “A” string wins for Youcef Zatat, Mary Elcock and the “A” 4x400m mixed relay team anchored by Yemi Mary John. These were backed up by many other good performances.

Youcef Zatat (who had put 18.78 m in Poland last week and is currently ranked 2nd in the UK) won the shot put by a considerable margin with his 18.25m effort. Youcef was backed up by Aaron Edwards, one of several who had to provide short notice cover and despite nursing a hand injury Aaron managed 12.27m to place 3rd in the “B”. Mary Elcock’s win was in the “A” long jump with 6.04m w (+3.7) the same distance as her wind legal pb. Temi Olusesan was another who stepped in for a last-minute injured athlete and she ensured 7th place points in the “B”. Mary also placed 3rd in the triple jump with 12.46m (+1.3), with Yenime Tindiey standing in at short notice in the “B” clearing 10.52m for 6th. Olympian Tosin Oke took the men’s “A” TJ with 15.64m w (+2.5) as Wilfred Williams covered the “B” with 12.71m which placed 4th. Missing planned long-jumpers due to injury, Wilfred also covered that, as did another U/20, Joseph Dowling-East and they recorded 5.83m (+1.1) and 5.65m w 9+4.2) for 8th and 6th respectively.

The throws events as usual in the NAL were of a high standard. In the women’s hammer Lucy Marshall was 5th with 51.90m and Simbi Sikiru was 2nd in the “B” with 48.53m. The discus saw Shadine Duquemin place 5th with 51.36m and Dannielle Broom placed 3rd in the “B” with 41.05m. Kirsty Bateman Foley was 3rd in the javelin with 41.66m and Jane Davidson 6th in the “B” with 21.47m. In the shot, Lynette Tucker stepped in at short notice and placed 7th in the “A” with 10.60m with Danielle Broom 3rd in the “B” with 10.48m. The men's discus brought good points as Mark Plowman was 3rd with 47.78m and Chris Linque 2nd in the “B” with 42.48m. Mark also covered the “B” hammer where his 30.45m was 6th as Noah Wooding was 7th in the “A” with 40.70m. The men's javelin saw Max Law place 4th in the "A" with 62.44, as Youcef Zatat stepped into the "B" as injury cover and placed 6th with 42.44m

All of the sprints were of a high standard with (occasionally legal) following winds. In the men’s “A” race Sikuro Onibanjo was 5th with 10.50 secs w (+2.9) and in the “B” Rory Voss was 6th with 10.81 secs w (+2.6). Over 200m Rory recorded 22.09 secs (+1.8) for 8th whilst Merveilles Massembo gamely stepped in as injury cover  at about 10 minutes notice to ensure “B string points were gained with 23.01 secs (+1.1, having also stepped in the HJ at similarly short notice to ensure a height was cleared and his 1.67m ended up placing 6th). In the women’s races Gwen Datey placed 5th in ‘A” 100m in 11.80 secs w (+3.3) with Rebecca Matheson  6th in “B” with 12.08 secs (+0.7), whilst over 200m Kiah Dubarry-Gay was 3rd in the “A” with 23.90 secs (+1.9) and Gwen was 2nd in the “B” with 24.02 secs w (+2.9). The 400m athletes had to battle the winds during the first 200m and Adrian Richards placed 6th in the “A” with 49.70 secs and Matthew Adum-Yeboah recorded a p.b. of 49.26 secs for 4th in the “B”. In the women’s 400m, Rebecca Grieve was 3rd with 55.20 secs and Kyra White 5th in the “B” with 57.55 secs.

The conditions were similarly tricky for the 400mH athletes. Declan Gall was 7th in the “A” with 59.95 secs and Billy Doyle 4th in the “B” with 57.55 secs. Lacking specialist sprint hurdlers, Declan also covered that, as did stalwart Ryan McKinlay and valuable 8th and 7th place points were gained. In the women’s 100mH Jane Davidson was 5th in a good standard race with 14.09 secs (+1.4) with Grace Brennan placing 6th in the “B”. Missing specialist women’s 400m hurdlers, Grace also covered that and recorded 66.80 secs for 8th as Rhiana Buaku was 7th in the “B”. Grace was also in pole vault action and placed 5th= with 2.92m with debutant Keira Palmer 3rd= in the “B” with 2.72m.

Joseph Owen, fresh from a 1m47.69 secs p.b. in Birmingham the previous evening, was 2nd over 800m with 1m52.85 secs and another debutant, Owen Hibbert, was 3rd in the ‘B” with 1m57.77 secs. Also racing in Birmingham the previous evening was Ben Potrykus and he just lost out in the “A” 1500m with 3m51.51 secs as Haider Razzaq  took the “B” with 4m00.27 secs. The 3000m was another tight race and good points were scored: Joel Doyle was 2nd with 8m29.56 as was Oliver Bushdari in the “B” with 8m34.93 secs. The steeplechase was raced over 2000m and Videsh Weerakkody had a fine race with a significant improvement of his p.b. to place 3rd in 6m18.77 secs as Tom Beedell, racing many miles under distance for him nowadays, was a fine 2nd in the “B”’ with 6m49.37 secs. The women were short of their specialist 800m athletes but those that stepped in gained very valuable points, all the more so in the context of such a close match overall. Aoibheann Pearce was 7th with 2m25.12 secs as was Katherine Olert in the “B”. Later, Aoibheann was also 7th in the 2km s/ch with 7m57.19 secs. Bea Wood was in a very tight 3000m just losing out in the final straight to place 2nd with 8m27.79 secs, just outside her p.b. Alicia McArdell was 6th in the “B” with 11m27.11 secs. Bea gamely took on the 1500m also a little later and placed 3rd in the “B” with 4m31.44 secs as Louise Gilbert was 5th in the “A” with 4m29.87 secs.

All the relay teams scored well. The mens 4x100m squad of Rory Voss, Medwin Odamtten, Matthew Adum-Yeboah and Sikiru Onibanjo placed a very close 3rd in 40.88 secs, whilst the women (Shona Vincent, Gwen Datey, Lakhesia Adams-Poku, Rebecca Matheson) were 2nd in 46.61 secs.

For this fixture there were two mixed 4x400m races. The “A “team of Billy Doyle (49.5), Rebecca Grieve (55.1), Adrian Richards (48.0) and with a very strong anchor leg by Paris-bound Yemi Mary John (51.0) combined to with 3m23.53 secs. Notably with those splits being hand timed and totalling 3m23.6 it’s quite possible that Yemi Mary was just under 51.0 secs for her split. The “B” team of Matthew Adum- Yeboah (50.7), Louise Gilbert (60.6), Joseph Owen (51.0) and Kyra White (56.1) were 3rd with 3m38.39 secs.

The final NAL fixture will be in Birmingham on August 3rd.