UK Women's Athletics League Division Four 2005
Final League positions: 1 Belgrave H 24; 2 Blackheath & Bromley H 19; 3 Thames Valley H 16; 4 Herts Phoenix 15/486.5; 5 City of Stoke 15/426.5; 6 Medway & Maidstone AC 10; 7 Kingston-upon-Hull 6; 8 Radley Ladies 1.
Match 3, Abingdon, 31 July 2005.
Division Four Champions
It was fitting that the last match of the year took place at the same stadium that twelve months earlier had seen us miss promotion by just 2 match points. This time everything came right and it would have taken an almighty disaster for the Belles to have missed out again. But it wasn’t just promotion that we were looking for – an unbeaten 2005 campaign would be nice. Blackheath & Bromley weren’t going to make it easy for us and when the opening event – the pole vault – saw two B&B stars and no other competitors, it was tantamount to giving them an 18 point head start.
Hannah Stares started the recovery by winning the 400 hurdles and then Claire Robinson took the 800m. As the jumps and throws results then started coming in, we crept slowly towards the lead. Double wins came from Sarah Wellstead and Katryna Euridge in the long jump, a double again in the "triple" with Sarah again and Michelle Nestor close behind her, and it was almost a maximum score in the high jump as well thanks to Hannah and Michelle.
With Julie Hollman in the line-up, no-one was going to get near our sprint hurdle duo, and as Julie then turned her attention to the shot where she partnered Eva Massey, it was top points again. It remained for Laura Fox and Jacquie Loney to do the business in the discus and we were away and clear.
Congratulations to all who made the league campaign a success - every point scorer - every judge and timekeeper - and especially Team Managers Cynthia and Bob who kept the momentum going. It'll be tougher next year in division three, but there's no reason why we cannot do it again in 2006.
100m: 4 J Culley 12.73/0.8; 2 K Euridge 12.87/1.5. 200m: 2 J Culley 25.59/-0.8; 2 R Lewis 26.81/0.6. 400m: 4 R Lewis 60.06; 4 L Collier 64.35. 800m: 1 C Robinson 2:12.35; 3 S Gailey 2:18.90. 1500m: 6 R Powell 5:00.41; 4 V Goodwin 5:29.15. 3000m: 7 L Cooper 11:26.46; 1 A England 11:32.26. 100mH: 1 J Hollman 14.23/-0.5; 1 H Stares 14.87/1.0. 400mH: 1 H Stares 63.27; 2 V Goodwin 74.22. HJ: 1 H Stares 1.50; 2 M Nestor 1.50. LJ: 1 S Wellstead 5.87; 1 K Euridge 5.29. TJ: 1 S Wellstead 11.53; 1 M Nestor 11.43. SP: 1 E Massey 15.17; 1 J Hollman 12.53. DT: 1 L Fox 39.77; 1 J Loney 32.66. JT: 7 H Mead 18.10; 6 J Loney 6.50. HT: 4 J Loney 40.42; 2 E Massey 34.26. 4x100m: 3 Belgrave 50.39 (J Culley, H Stares, L Collier, K Euridge). 4x400m: 2 Belgrave 3:54.88 (C Robinson 58.2, R Lewis 60.2, H Stares 61.2, J Hollman 55.2)
1 Belgrave H 223; 2 Blackheath & Bromley H 209; 3 Herts Phoenix 174; 4 Thames Valley H 142; 5 City of Stoke AC 134.5; Medway & Maidstone AC 116; 7 Kingston upon Hull 83.
The long haul to Stoke and some dubious overnight accommodation did nothing to discourage the team who posted another convincing win. With just the one match to go now there would have to be an almighty disaster to halt the Belles' bid for promotion to division three in 2006.
Once again Hannah Stares set the tempo for the afternoon with a win in the opening track event - the 400 metre hurdles. Then, teaming up with fellow multi-eventer Julie Hollman, these two covered the sprint hurdles and high jump to pull in more maximum points. At this point Julie moved to the throws where yet another win came in the shot.
Double wins came in the horizontal jumps, Sarah Wellstead taking both A events with good backing from Michelle Nestor in the triple (a season's best) and Katryna Euridge in the long.
The flat 400 metres saw Captain Jennifer Culley powerfully sweeping up the field: as SEAA champion over the 400 hurdles surely she will smash the 60 seconds for her speciality, given the right conditions.
Claire Robinson is so solid over two laps, always turning out something in the 2:10-2:11 area, and this occasion was no different in spite of the fact that she'd run a best of 2:09.98 at Solihull in the BMC meet less than 24 hours earlier. A best ever 800 metres also came from Chrissie Foster who lost touch with the leader but finished strongly to claw back all but half a metre by the finish line. In the 1500m Birhan Dagne set off a little more cautiously than she did in match 1, this time stretching away to a good win - in spite having placed 5th in the AAA 5k Championship that very morning.
And so to the relays. In the 4x100 TVH turned out a powerful quartette that proved to be 15 metres too good for us, but come the long race and the Belles finished off the day as they started - clear winners.
100m: 4 J Culley 12.8/-2.5; 2 K Euridge 13.0/-0.6. 200m: 6 R Lewis 26.9/-0.8; 2 C Foster 27.0/-1.9. 400m: 1 J Culley 56.1; 4 S Gailey 60.6. 800m: 3 C Robinson 2:11.3; 2 C Foster 2:15.4. 1500m: 1 B Dagne 4:39.5; 3 R Powell 5:02.0. 3000m: 4 S Gailey 11:33.2. 100mH: 1 J Hollman 14.5/-2.4; 1 H Stares 14.7/-0.6. 400mH: 1 H Stares 60.3; 5 V Goodwin 75.6. LJ: 1 S Wellstead 5.74; 1 K Euridge 5.52. HJ: 1 J Hollman 1.80; 1 H Stares 1.60. TJ: 1 S Wellstead 11.59; 1 M Nestor 11.31. PV: 2 J Searle 2.80. SP: 1 J Hollman 12.35; 2 L Fox 9.57. DT: 3 L Fox 36.79; 1 J Loney 34.84. JT: 7 J Loney 20.90; 4 H Mead 18.58. HT: 4 J Loney 40.51; 5 H Mead 17.35. 4x100m: 2 Belgrave 49.8 (R Lewis, H Stares, S Wellstead, K Euridge). 4x400m: 1 Belgrave 3:51.2 (J Culley 57.4, R Lewis 60.2, C Robinson 57.0, J Hollman 56.6).
1 Belgrave 224; 2 City of Stoke 163; 3 Thames Valley 161; 4 Blackheath & Bromley 158; 5 Medway and Maidstone 155; 6 Herts Phoenix 140; 7 Kingston Upon Hull 122; Radley withdrew.
Standings: 1 Belgrave 16; 2 Blackheath and Bromley 12; 3 City of Stoke 12; 4 Thames Valley 11; 5 Herts Phoenix 9; 6 Medway & Maidstone 7; 8 Kingston upon Hull 4; 8 Radley 1.
Belles win well in windy Ware
Having missed out on promotion by a measly couple of match points last season, the Belles' intentions for 2005 were made clear with an emphatic win at Ware in spite of a few blank spaces on the team sheet.
Good points came in the hammer thanks to Diane Holden and Jacqui Loney, from there on the points piled up and the Belles moved into an early lead which grew to a winning margin of 43 by the end of the day.
Hannah Stares set the ball rolling on the track with a win in the long hurdle race but with Jennifer Culley, our other regular one lap hurdler, due to cover the sprints, we had to make do with just the one runner.
Sarah Wellstead made a dramatic impact in the jumps, winning both long and triple, the latter with her best ever performance. Fellow Sutton athlete Katryna Euridge backed up with a winning B long jump and Michelle Nestor did likewise in the triple. Also from Sutton, Sarah Porter cleaned up in her events - the B 100 and a sprint hurdles - and the three Sutton girls combined with Hannah Stares to do a demolition job in the sprint relay.
Eva Massey had the shot putt judges scampering to the further end of the arc and "complaining" that the 4kg ball had ice on it by the time it came down from orbit. Fifteen metres didn't please her, however, and she'll be looking for something around 16 plus before too long.
The standard of the middle distance races was particularly high and Birhan Dagne, fresh from winning the hilly Plymouth Half Marathon seven days earlier, found it impossible to stay clear of the pack in the 1500m.
Two-lapper Claire Robinson ran within a second of her season's best for second in the A 800m while Chrissie Foster ran her best for the year to win the B event. Next on the track was the 400 metres, and having seen Michelle Carey run away from the field with a 54.3 run and with no B competitor due to take part, Chrissie pulled her spikes back on to run sub-60 for second - some double for her!
Honesty proved not to be the best policy for Jennifer Culley who stood up from her blocks after she judged that she'd got a flier. Unfortunately the starter had not seen it that way and did not fire the recall gun so it was "nil points" for the A 200. Happily she was allowed a guest run in the following B race.
So, it was a happy Cynthia James after match 1 - and we just hope that we can do a similar job at Stoke in three weeks time.
100m: 3 J Culley 12.5; 1 S Porter 12.8. 200m: dns J Culley; 2 C Robinson 27.3; J Culley (guest run in B race) 26.5. 400m: 1 M Carey 54.3; 2 C Foster 59.4; 800m: 2 C Robinson 2:11.6; 1 C Foster 2:19.3. 1500m: 4 B Dagne 4:43.3; 3 A England 5:00.2. 3000m: 5 S Murphy 10:40.1; 5 V Goodwin 12:15.8. 100mH: 1 S Porter 14.2; 1 H Stares 14.7. 400mH: 1 H Stares 61.6. HJ: 2 H Stares 1.55; 2 M Nestor 1.45. LJ: 1 S Wellstead 5.86; 1 K Euridge 5.27. TJ: 1 S Wellstead 12.04; 1 M Nestor 11.05. PV: 2 J Searle 2.50. SP: 1 E Massey 15.07; 2 L Fox 10.43. DT: 3 L Fox 35.30; 1 J Loney 35.19. JT: 7 J Loney 21.27; 4 H Mead 17.96. HT: 1 D Holden 51.39; 2 J Loney 42.44. 4x100m: 1 Belgrave 49.1 (S Porter, H Stares, S Wellstead, K Euridge). 4x400m: 3 Belgrave 4:02.9 (J Culley 58.0, C Foster 59.7, V Goodwin 65.2, C Robinson 59.0).
1 Belgrave 226; 2 Blackheath &B 183; 3 Herts Phoenix 172.5; 4 Thames Valley 154; 5 Stoke 129; 6 Medway & Maidstone 111; 7 Kingston upon Hull 107.5; Radley 55.
Above: Michelle Carey rips up the 400 metre field with a 54.3 run. Below left: Sarah Murphy finds herself at the front of the 3000 metres. Right: Sarah Wellstead on her way to her best ever triple jump - 12.04 metres. Photos by Patricia Mead.