ATHLETICS: Cruel twist denies Rugby & Northampton top-three spot

Emily Williams claimed a silver medal in the 800m at the English Schools Track & Field Championships

Emily Williams claimed a silver medal in the 800m at the English Schools Track & Field Championships

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Rugby & Northampton were denied a third place finish in the third match of the season when cruel disqualifications in both the Men’s & Women’s 4 x 400m relays pushed them down to fifth place.

This leaves the team in fourth place overall, with just one fixture remaining, at Stoke on August 7.

Any of two from five teams could face relegation, so R&N need to finish in the top four to guarantee their place in the top flight.

The match itself was a much higher standard than the previous two rounds with a very strong Birchfield squad for their home match.

R&N were heavily impacted by holidays and injuries to some key athletes, which meant that the Ladies team had a number of gaps in B string events.

The team’s only individual winners were Hayley Murray in the Hammer and Evie Harris-Jenkins in the Javelin whilst the men’s 4x100m stormed to victory as the hosts dropped the baton.

There was only one B string victory, for busy Chris Morgan in the Triple Jump.

Morgan tackled four events after also having competed in the BAL match at Bracknell the previous day.

The men had a string of second places thanks to Dan George (100m), Clinton Osaba George (200m), Jason Dankyi (Triple Jump) and Kevin Murch (Javelin), while their were a string of second and third places in the B string.

For the Ladies, Hannah Shepherd was second in the 100m Hurdles, and she also earned a brace of fourth places in the Triple Jump & 400m Hurdles, while Emily Waugh made a welcome return to track action with a second place in the 3000m and third in the 1500m.

The match was closely fought throughout, with several races being decided by hundredths of a second, but at the end, the team finished in fifth place with 299.5 points, just 1.5 points behind Wolves and four points behind Cannock.

Just one more fit athlete would have been enough to bring the team to a comfortable third place.

This means that Stoke & Wolves go into the final match in the bottom two places but with the opportunity to save themselves with a top three, finish while R&N, Bristol and Cannock must avoid finishing in the bottom two on the day in order to stay out of trouble.

Birchfield are already certain to win the league.

Super silver for teenager Williams

NORTHAMPTON teenager Emily Williams is celebrating after claiming a superb silver medal in the 800m at the English Schools Track & Field championships in Gateshead.

The 14-year-old Northampton School for Girls pupil backed up her breakthrough performance from earlier in the year, when she won English Schools Cross Country championships, with a second-placed finish in the north east.

It was the Kettering Town Harrier’s first podium finish at a national track and field championships.

The English Schools Championships are the pinnacle of the sport for schools age children, and Williams was hoping to deliver following her success in the cross country. And she delivered in style with a silver-medal winning performance in the Junior Girls’ 800m final.

The championships were held at Gateshead International Stadium, and on day one Williams had to endure the fierce qualifying rounds, running in heat three and with only the top two guaranteed a place in the final.

Williams ran a very smart race and took control of her heat from the gun, taking the lead and sensibly slowing the race down to conserve energy, splitting in 69 seconds. The second lap picked up in pace and Williams held the inside lane and always had enough to hold off the challenge on the home straight and won her heat in 2:16.55 from Greater Manchester’s Keely Hodgkinson (2:16.58).

Day two was final day, and with Williams ranked third in the UK, she was perhaps expected to podium, but the finals of a major championship are always intensely competitive so there was no place for any complacency.

The race got underway and as expected, the UK leading athlete by some margin, Molly Canham from Devon, went out hard and went to the front to control the race.

Williams also got away well and by the 200m mark she had settled into second place, chasing after Canham.

This worked well for Williams, who split in a fast 63 seconds to lead a chasing pack into the back straight. Canham proved too strong and maintained her lead to take the title in a fast 2:10.07, with Williams always able to hold off any challenger for a second place finish in 2:12.35, just 0.1 seconds off her best.

Harriers coach Shane Smith said: “This was a magnificent from Emily, showing great maturity in easing through the heats and registering with a podium finish in the final of the most important track and field event in the country.

“Emily came of age at this championship and if she continues to show the dedication in training which has led to her breakthrough there is no reason she can’t go on to repeat this on the international stage.”

Broome sweeps into Great Britain squad

Rugby & Northampton athlete Eleanor Broome has been selected in the Great British team for the European Youth Athletics Championship to be hosted in Tbilisi in Georgia.

The three-day competition, which begins today (Thursda), will be Broome’s first appearance on the international stage having dominated the long jump event she has participated in this year.

She has been victorious in six of her past eight long jump outings, which includes her first place in the England Athletics under-20 Championships in June.

A leap of 6.21 metres was enough to win the Championships, but Broome recorded her season best of 6.26m – three centimetres off her personal best – at the UK Youth Development Midland Premier North/East Division towards the end of May.

Despite Broome’s selection as a long jumper, her success for R&N hasn’t been limited to the jumps – the 17-year-old has also impressed on the track with strong performances in the 100m and 200m sprints this season.

Rugby and Northampton chairman Mark Exley said: “It is a massive boost for Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club for one of our young athletes to represent Great Britain.

“Eleanor is an inspiration to her club mates and we are proud of her achievements.”

Simon rings the bell for the Silson Joggers

Simon Woodward, Silson’s men’s team captain, rang the PB bell at the Buckingham parkrun this Saturday, and rightly so!

Woodward was not only the fourth runner home, he also finished with his brilliant new PB time of 17.59.

Andy Pacey was next home for Silson at this run, finishing eighth.

Abbie Burnett (JW11-14) also had a marvellous run on Saturday morning at the Daventry parkrun, where she was the second lady home, finishing in 22:21 with a new PB.

Chelsey Rose enjoyed her first run of the Bicester parkrun and it showed as she was the third lady home.

James Conquest (JM10) was the first runner home at the Junior Buckingham parkrun on Sunday, followed by his team-mates, Liam Cowley (JM11-14) and Jake Morris (JM11-14), who were third and fourth respectively.

Five Silson Joggers (Steve Lincoln, Julie Long, Caroline Mackenzie, Sally Stephens and Linda Lytollis) had a wonderful time racing in Wales last weekend.

Saturday saw Lincoln take on and conquer the Zone 3 Wales 2.4KM Swim, and the ladies complete the hilly costal Wales 66 Mile Sportive.

The Sportive was also completed, with Silson’s Elaine Evans taking part in this event with her husband (Mark Evans) on their 10th wedding anniversary.

On Sunday, Lincoln completed the Wales Marathon in an amazing time of 4.17, and the Silson ladies all ran the Wales 10K.