North East T&F League Match 1 – Darlington
As most people in the Club should be aware, Blyth compete in the North Eat T&F League in a composite team with Wallsend Harriers, this means that the team should be able to cover most of the events and every athlete who finishes gets a point and as Brucie would say “Points mean prizes”.
So we come to the first match in Darlington and in the weeks leading up to the event, the men's team from Blyth looked quite promising and not having to rely on one or two people doing several events – however, come the day and the reality is totally different as Steve Walker will testify to. The women's team was bolstered by Sam Bell (a student who had travelled over from Manchester to support the club) and although primarily a high jumper tried several events with varying degrees of success.
The first events are always field events and Ralph got the proceedings under way with a seasons best throw in the hammer, then it was the ladies Long Jump where Bethan and Sam also both got seasons best performances. Sharon Richardson then threw the hammer and seemed to be enjoying the competition back in her native Darlington. Then the track events started and it must be said that we didn’t get off to the best of starts (literally) as Bethan was DQ’d for a false start (compounded by the starter George informing us that it was only the third time he had ever DQ’d anybody) – the other girls in the event were quite happy to let Bethan run (it’s that sort of day, friendly with some really top class performances as well). Then it was Dan’s turn in the 400MH (at one point Dan seemed to be doing two events at the same time!), where he had the misfortune to be up against Oliver Whelans and finished second to him – no disgrace there. Next on the track was Lauren Barrett and Erin Scott doing the 800M, Lauren said she hadn’t done a 800M since schools days – probably only two years ago – but it didn’t show as she set a PB for the distance, Joe Dungworth ran a steady 800M to finish second. Dan was also throwing a PB in the Discus, until somebody told him he was using the wrong weight – no matter he then threw a PB with the correct discus! Alice Dungworth (making her Senior debut at 14 as was Erin), then proceeded to win the 100M with a PB. At this point Dan was dashing between the Discus and High Jump where he set a PB of 1.50, while Calum won the ‘B’ High Jump with a PB of 1.45, having already set a seasons best in the Long Jump, with Joseph Woods getting points in the ‘B’ Long Jump. Back in the field Sharon and Anne Craddock both set PB’s in the Women's Shot, both adding points to the team total which was ticking over nicely. Not sure how, but at this point it looked as though Dan was in three events as he lined up for the ‘B’ 100M! Dave Swalwell, not fully fit, ran the ‘A’ race against athletes 20 years younger than him, and recorded seasons best time – in the same race, Jack Hepple of Morpeth ran a personal best to put him in the top 20 in the country in his age group. Meanwhile, Sam and Bethan were doing the Triple Jump which caused a slight problem as Bethan was doing the hurdles at the same time! Joseph Woods was looking forward to a 3000M Steeple Chase but due to a faulty barrier it was turned into a 3000M, so while Joe was running around the track, Sharon and Anne were throwing the discuss and both getting PB’s. Suzanne Beal was another newcomer to track and field who confidently strode 7 ½ laps around the track to win the ‘B’ 3000M just behind the ‘A’ runner from Wallsend. Then Dan again finished second to Oliver Whellans, this time in the 110MH, Erin then tried here hand at the shorter distance of 400M and was rewarded with a PB as were Calum and Joe Woods as they ran the 400M, Dave Swalwell was another one multi-tasking as he came second in the ‘B’ Shot Put, and followed this with the Javelin . The men's 1500M race was one event where we couldn’t turn out a runner from Blyth, while Helen ran for the Ladies to keep the points total ticking over. Alice then did the double as she won the 200M with a PB, while Dave and Joe Dungworth both gained points in the Men's 200M and Dan again finished second to Oliver Whellans, this time in the Triple Jump, while Calum jumped a seasons best. Jon French had spent most of the afternoon cheering on his team mates and now it was his turn. With some class athletes in the race, Jon ran a steady paced run to finish third in the ‘A’ race with a PB of 17.38. The final field event was the Ladies Javelin, where Anne Craddock threw a PB again. Then it was onto the relays, where we managed to get teams in all the races and even more surprisingly we managed to get the batons round without dropping them.
So, on the day Blyth/Wallsend finished 3rd with 322.5 points behind Morpeth 1st (377) and Houghton 2nd (325), just 2.5 points behind second place. Nobody from Blyth could have given any more with most people doing several events (outside their comfort zone as well).
The next one is on Saturday June 7th at Churchill Paying Field, so if a student can come over from Manchester I’m sure we can get a few more to turn up from Blyth. Even now people are saying they are available, but we just know come 2 days before Blaydon race they will suddenly decide they want to save themselves for that!
I’m sure Dan, Calum, Dave etc would all just rather concentrate on 1 or 2 events plus a relay and get maximum points for Blyth
Anybody interested see Steve Walker and I’m sure he will fit you in the Pole Vault.
I’ve only mentioned Blyth athletes but the Wallsend contingent all competed and tried as hard as they could as well.