The first round of National Athletics League (NAL) fixtures took place last Sunday 11th July at various locations across the Premiership, Championship and National One divisions.
The NAL is for Senior and U20 Men and Women and comprises three levels involving 37 clubs competing at three rounds of fixtures. BAC are in the Championship Division which has 16 clubs spread across A and B fixtures.
On Sunday morning, BAC made the journey to Basingstoke for Championship Division Fixture 1B to compete against 7 other clubs.
The weather was set to be a scorcher with highs of 26 degrees and it certainly felt like it. The day started off quite muggy with overcast skies until the sun burst through after lunch. By the afternoon, the field eventers were taking shelter under brollies with many others fleeing to the shaded stands. The water tap in the club house certainly took a hammering.
Fortunately, our athletes, officials and team captains did not fade away in the heat and great performances were achieved by all – this includes the new ladies team captain in both organising the team as well as competing. We are delighted to welcome Suzi Shepherd on board to manage the women’s side of the team. This is following Amy Spencer standing down after successfully and enthusiastically running that side of the team for a few years. Thank you Amy for your great effort. Tim Hughes will continue to run the men’s side of the team and has expressed that he has been looking forward to working with Suzi for a successful 2023.
One of the most notable performances came from Ryan Webb (Coach: James Hind) in his debut NAL for BAC. He broke a 40yr+ old club record and a Championship record in the high jump, clearing 2.12m.
This also means that he qualifies for the British Championships which are set to take place in Manchester on the weekend of 8th and 9th July.
This is his first full season back after two ankle procedures which meant he has been out of action for circa 2yrs. His performance is certainly a testament of his hard work, dedication and commitment to rehabilitation and consistent training. Such a great start to the season!
Coach, James Hind commented “The next 4 weeks is about preparing for the British champs, he has surpassed his target for this year of 2.10m and qualifying for the British champs so anything else is a bonus.” In Ryan’s own words “I was surprised it happened so early in the season”.
The fabulous and enthusiastic Suzi Shepherd would like to extend a huge thanks to her flock (she is a Shepherd after all), namely Kia Slade, Sophie Pike, Poppea Bramwell-Reeks, Harriet Slade, Maddie Smith, Nikki Sandall, Janet Dickinson, Becky Knapton and Joy Wright.
Thank you …..
Sophie Pike for doing a multitude of events with a smile on her face. She did LJ, TJ and 100m. Always good to have smiles and a great team spirit.
Harriet Slade as she made a big come back to the track after battling with injury showing she still has what it takes in the 1500m. It took great restraint to not run the steeple, her main event as she wanted to remain fit for the next match. Thanks for your willingness to run the 4×4 relay too.
Poppea for running 1500m just for fun, as you do and looking as fresh as a daisy afterwards. She ran an excellent race, staying in contention with the lead runner to secure 2nd place in a great time of 4:37.01. Not bad for a fun run.
Maddie for coming by train and entering all the jumps. She won TJ by a convincing margin, 11.52m.
Nikki for getting over the Pole Vault height she said she couldn’t do. The opening height had been increased to 2.20m and Nikki was determined to clear it and grab those valuable points, well done.
Janet for storming the throws and supporting Suzi when she really needed her.
Becky for doing a monster long run (3,000m) as well as the 1500m run in the heat and agreeing to do relay even though it didn’t happen.
Joy for overcoming her disappointment in picking up an Achilles injury but embracing the role of official photographer – unfortunately using her phone camera.
Kia who had a great 100mH race. She was happy with her performance and believed it would have been a PB and a 1st place spot. Unfortunately the electronic timing and photo finish stopped working and she was placed 2nd. Kia has appealed so this is being looked into and may be amended. Although Kia was disappointed in track judge’s decision, she will be back to show them next time!
Suzi is already looking ahead to the next NAL in Yeovil on 15 July “we need to get more girls out there so please invite your friends . I will do cakes I promise!” We’ve seen it in print so we’ll hold you to that Suzi!
Moving onto the action from the men’s team. It was a superb result by Ryan Webb breaking the BAC HJ Club Record on his debut for the club. Fantastic to see 400/800m runner, Ben Arnold back in the team and earning valuable points including an impressive 400m time of 52.76. Same goes for Cameron Hale who has also made a comeback this year and scored well alongside the ever present Andy Brown. Great to get valuable support from Simon Armstrong to help fill those shows events with mature skill.
Great debut performances for BAC Conor Kearns (PV) and Josh Smith (800). These guys are great new assets to the team.
It was Conor’s first competition back and in his words “it was good fun.” He has his sights on the club record and will no doubt take it with his continuous improvement and consistent training.
There were great PBs from the sprinter; Amir Ismail clocked both 100m and 200m PBs and Rob Woolgar’s ran PBs in 100m and 110mH to secure an excellent 2nd place spot against a strong field.
Rob said he was “very happy to come away with 2 PB’s. The 11 second barrier has been long overdue, and it feels good to be able to call myself a 10. runner! It was a great match and there was a strong team spirit even with a small team! Although the heat meant surviving the day, and conserving as much energy as possible”. Rob ran 100m in 10.91, PB. Well done Rob!
We saw strong runs in a vast heat for the 3000m guys, Tag (Rob McTaggart) and Henry Bramwell-Reeks. Great! Both excellent middle distant runners and a great asset to the team.
It was brilliant to see such brave and quality runs from Ben Collins and Theo Weaver in the 400mH – not their events but they stepped in and pulled in valuable points for the team.
Strong performances by Jamie Grose and David Clark in the 1500m race. Again no easy feat in the heat.
Great 2nd places in A and B strings of LJ for Rob Woolgar and Ben Butcher. Theo Weaver 2nd B, with an 11.86m TJ PB,.
The men’s captain, Tim Hughes said “I thought the team members that were there performed very well and it was great to see the enthusiasm to get those points. I’m disappointed with the result but that was due to a number of team members not being available to compete. It’s gutting that we missed out on 6th by only 3 points. We have to get stronger teams out and I think we should be able to.
We look to be heading to Yeovil with an even stronger team on the men’s side, so not so much need for athletes to step into extra events. Looking forward to a big result and climbing the table.”
Thank you to the team captains, Suzi Shepherd and Tim Hughes for their huge effort and dedication in getting the best possible teams out to represent BAC – this is no easy task and a lot of work goes on in the lead up to each match.
Thanks to our fabulous umpires that give up their time to ensure these events run smoothly: Juliet Dobson, Jemma and Hazel Bates, Robin James and Dave Clark.
Thank you to every athlete and supporter for your hard efforts in the heat – well done to all!