Northern T&F League - Division 3E - Meeting 4 Churchill W. Bay
[Sat 8th Aug]
The sun blazed down on a track ready to see a dramatic final showdown to settle the title for division 3E. Six teams, two relegation places, two promotion places, one champions trophy. All the performances of the last three meetings led to this day. Sadly, this was lost on me as I was fast asleep in bed for a lot of the morning. But I promise I took in the gravity of the event once I was more awake. In the meantime, Ralph and Paul were kicking off the day as usual with some hammer throwing, claiming the day's first points. Despite their great throwing, they were overshadowed by Steph throwing a PB and Blyth club record in the Hammer. With Sharon taking second in the B competition, we were off to a positive start. In the Women's Long Jump, Julie Williams and Gill Weatheril both took third in the A and B strings.
Beginning the match on the track was the women's 400m hurdles in which Lauren led the charge with a third place in the A race, with Sarah Robson winning the B race. Eager to keep up with the ladies, Daniel and I raced the A and B of the men's 400m hurdles both taking first place, giving us a big lead in the points table. Having paid my dues, time after time, it was wonderful to finally win a race (despite some interesting starting marksmanship). Meanwhile Peter was casually jumping yet another PB in the Long Jump, even clearing six metres. He reacted with his usual unenthusiastic demeanor, but everyone else was very happy for him. Followed by Craig taking third in the B string, it was proving to be a successful day so far in both track and field.
It was a tale of two Sarahs in the women's 800m with Sarah Robson and Sarah Graham competing in the Wallsend vests. Making his return to the track was Dan Weatheril in the men's 800m, racing against a seriously competitive field. In the B race, Woodsy turned out with better tactics, better strength and worse facial hair, running a brilliant race to steal first place in the last 50 metres. Paul was showing his strength in the discus, throwing over 30 metres to take second place, with Dave coming back from Injury to throw in the B competition.
Due to the wonderful efforts put in so far from the team, we were leading comfortably by this point in the competition, much to our delight and celebration. It was ours to lose, so we had to keep the points rolling in. Not an issue for Lauren and Erin who showed their versatility by raking in points in the women's 100m, with Daniel and Craig doing the same in the men's race against some great sprinters. Drawing the eyes of the crowd was the high jump competition going on in amazing style. I jumped well to clear 1.55 metres and win the B competition, but was utterly outshone by our Peter, and Neville from New Marske, who duelled their way up the heights only just falling short of 1.79 metres. Peter, having achieved a brilliant new 1.76 metres, returned in a spectacularly indifferent mood. I think I spotted a smile at one point but I really had to look for it. Celebrating a little more was Steph who threw yet another PB and club record in the shot putt, yet again backed up by Sharon, showing their prowess as a duo. With Julie and Gill each taking third places in the triple jump, everything was coming up green.
Jon's numerous attempts at the Blyth steeplechase record had been hampered by bad luck, bad weather and bad plumbing. He'd done his sentence, though committed no crime. But with the team steamrolling ahead, he had momentum behind him, condition were perfect and the water jump was indeed full of water. After a few laps he was clean ahead of the field and pushing on strong. Blasting through the last 400m, he crossed the line, taking his record in style. Kirs Stobbs was happy to come home strong to win the B race too. Another one two blow from the team to carry us further ahead on points.
Time now for more hurdling action and more big points for the team with Lauren coming third in the A race and Gill taking on the hurdles to come second in the B. Julie and Ann Craddock were meanwhile throwing the discus, battling hard against the New Marske throwers. Stepping up from the middle distances, Leanne raced the 3000m, working hard over seven and a half laps, backed up by Elaine Liu. The men's hurdles races have always been a points bonanza for the team, and that continued to be true as Daniel and Craig teamed up once again to win the A and B in the men's 110m hurdles. Time for another PB and club record in the men's shot with Dave coming second in the B, with Paul coming second in the A competition.
Lauren was back on the track yet again for Blyth in the 400m against some fierce competition. Gill proved that she's not afraid of the shorter, faster races by taking on the B string. Next up was Wallsend's Mr.USA, Denver Stretesky who was able to continue this year's great form by taking third in the men's 400m, with Joseph Woods replicating the feat in the B race. Wallsend's strong young(ish) lads, Michael Day and Dan Weatheril, took to the Javelin runway with great success. By this point in the day, promotion seemed certain and winning the division almost as certain. It was time to just enjoy the rest of the events and bring it home with a bit of flair.
Sarah Robson and Erin charged out in the 1500m, enjoying every lap I'm sure, even if Erin would never admit it. Wallsend really brought out their big guns for the men's 1500m with Phil Aiston and Nick Zissler running fanstastically, beaten only by former Wallsend runner Andy Graham. Leanne, obviously needing a relaxing lie down on something soft after her 3000m, competed in the high jump along with Sarah Graham. Both doing great in a tricky event.
Making her first appearance of the season in the 200m was Charlotte Ramsay, eager to prove she still has the power, coming third in the A race, with Gill coming third in the B race to continue her sprint form. Daniel showed similar prowess with a third place in the men's 200m, with myself doing my best in the B race. As it turns out, it's not easy to go straight from the 200m to a triple jump competition. Craig jumped well in the A competition, but bad mistakes, I made a few. After a few bad jumps, and having my share of sand kicked in my face, I managed to just about hang on to second place in the B. With that, there were just two events left before the relays. First of which was the 5000m in which Harry Coates took second in the A after a close race, and Matt continued his usual form by winning the B race. Meanwhile, in the women's javelin Sharon Richardson and Becki Newman took on a tough field to claim bonus points for the team and cement our victory going into the relays.
As the team's assembled for the relays, we knew it was time to just relax and enjoy our last races of the day. First up was a fast 4x100m women's team taking second place, seeing a return to running for Steph who led the team out (and just about got the baton to her sister Charlotte, despite their worries). The men's 4x100m team, including a first run of the season for Peter, managed to come second and break the team record. I don't think Peter's shrug quite did the news justice, but it's still a wonderful achievement. The ladies 4x400m team had a tough race on their hands, but they came through, with Lauren bringing the baton home in third place. I was pleased to be a part of the final race of the season, the men's 4x400m. Leading our team out was Denver, cool and casual as ever, passing the baton on to Woodsy who blasted around his lap before passing the baton on to me. I did my best not to let the team down, but was still able to enjoy the run in the green and white. Bringing us home in true style was Dan Weatheril, flying the Wallsend colours and seeing the team into third place.
Now in case you didn't notice my not-so-subtle inclusion of song lyrics in this report, I'll go for the even less subtle version now: WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!!! It was time to celebrate with barbecue food, sack races and in my case, running in circles flying the club flag. A huge thank you to everyone who competed, officiated or supported this season. We couldn't have done it without each and every person who showed up from the both Blyth and Wallsend. We can be truly proud of this accomplishment, and we can now start training and looking forward to Division 2 next year. See you all then!