UK Women's Athletics League Division Three, 2009
Report and pictures by Alan Mead
Down - but far from out
Far flung Wigan was the destination for our numerically small women's team. But what they lack in numbers they more than make up for in courage. All doubled or trebled in a bid to cover events and although relegation to Division Four is now definite, they avoided the dreaded drop to the qualifying match which surely would have meant - Southern League next year.
Indeed there was a point early in the match, albeit brief, when the Belles were up with the leaders, when Martine Bomb and Jodie Favell scored nigh on maximum points for the opening track event - the 400m hurdles. This duo did a similar trick in the sprint hurdles - and this really encapsulates our problem: we have some good talent but we need three times the number of bodies. Just suppose everyone was able to bring a friend into the team next year.
As ever, Susan Bovill was a high points scorer and it was great to welcome 'local-to this-match' lass Louise Cooper and Sarah Gailey back into the team.
200m: 4 S Bovill 25.88. 400m: 2 S Bovill 58.17; 5 S Gailey 64.23. 800m: 8 S Gailey 2:24.20. 1500m: 8 L Cooper 5:44.15. 3000m: 4 L Cooper 11:59.15. 100mH: 2 M Bomb 14.77; 1 J Favell 15.54. 400mH: 1 M Bomb 63.60; 2 J Favell 64.65. HJ: 7 M Nestor 1.40. LJ: 7 M Nestor 4.63. TJ: 4 M Nestor 10.37; 2 J Bailey 9.98. SP: 7 C Bertram 7.59; 7 M Bomb 6.04. DT: 8 C Bertram 19.25; 8 S Gailey 14.14. JT: 5 J Favell 31.45; 7 C Bertram 24.38. HT: 8 S Bovill 13.46. 4x100m: 6 Belgrave 51.69 (J Favell, J Bailey, S Bovill, M Bomb). 4x400m: 6 Belgrave 4:09.37 (J Favell, S Gailey, M Bomb, S Bovill).
Match: 1 Bedford &C 219.5; 2 Wigan 195; 3 Havering Mayesbrook 159; 4 Newham &EB 156; 5 Medway &M 143.5; 6 Thames Valley 141; 7 Wakefield 119; 8 Belgrave 90.
Survival in the UKWAL is the target!
The team shrank to just eight hardy souls ready to do battle at Bedford. With such a small team there's no doubt that we're on the way down so it's now a matter of damage limitation until injured and pregnant Belles return to the fold.
Once again we managed to cover the required 50% of events in the programme - and thus avoided the automatic drop to the UKWAL qualifying match. The final test will be the third and last match at Wigan. If we can do it again there then Division Four might well be the best level for our team until it can regroup. But if we fail, then we might not survive the qualifying match and it could be Southern League in 2010.
But there's no doubting the fighting spirit of those at the sharp end, with middle distance runners heaving weights, throwers attempting runs and all led by Jodie Favell and Susan Bovill who finished well up in their events.
Come on ladies - you can do it!
200m: 5 S Bovill 26.16/0.0. 400m: 2 S Bovill 57.22. 1500m: 6 S Murphy 4:59.86; 4 Z Vail 5:20.72. 3000m: 2 S Murphy 10:31.40; 2 Z Vail 10:41.32. 100mH: 5 J Favell 15.99/-1.2; 6 H Mead 25.36/-1.8. 400mH: 2 J Favell 64.83; 4 V Goodwin 79.85. 2000mSC: 6 V Goodwin 9:46.83. HJ: 6 M Nestor 1.40. LJ: 8 M Nestor 4.37/-1.3. TJ: 4 M Nestor 10.85. SP: 8 C Bertram 7.53; 8 Z Vail 4.89. DT: 8 C Bertram 21.36; 7 H Mead 15.85. JT: 4 J Favell 30.79; 2 C Bertram 25.33. HT: 8 H Mead 19.64; 8 S Bovill 12.31. 4x100m: 8 Belgrave 55.94 (H Mead, J favell, S Bovill, M Nestor).
Match: 1 Bedford & C 214; 2 Wigan 190; 3 Newham & Essex 181; 4 Thames Valley 173; 5 Havering & Mayesbrook 149; 6 Wakefield 125; 7 Medway & Maidstone 108; 8 Belgrave 84.
Above left: Jodie Favell flies over barrier eight on her way to third place in the 400m hurdles. Right: A jump of 10.39m came from Michelle Nestor in the triple jump. Below: Taking the barriers with ease, Vicki Goodwin completed her first ever steeplechase in third spot; no doubt she'll be back for more.
It's going to be a slog
A small Belgrave team of just nine athletes struggled to make headway in our opening UK Women's Athletic League match at Mayesbrook Park. Failing to cover half the events means automatic relegation to the UKWAL qualifying match - never mind Division Four - and that in itself will be a hard slog to avoid in 2009 unless we can get more athletes out. All credit to those who were there though as virtually everyone doubled, trebled or even quadrupled up to cover as many events as possible. The task is not made any easier by the rule that forbids an athlete from taking on more than three competitions plus relays.
Jodie Favell started the day off with 400 hurdles and went on to run sprint hurdles, 200m and both relays. Susan Bovill scored heavily in the 400m and 200m before similarly turning out for relay duty.
An injured Christine Bertram was restricted to the throwing events where she was joined by Hazel Mead, expecting to throw hammer but roped into more than she bargained for. Meanwhile the jumps were taken care of by Michelle Nestor and Steph Smith.
Clearly the best vaulter in action Steph entered the competition in the second pool at 3.20m and there were a few anxious moments as the bar was removed twice at that height. But soon she was up and away to become our only winner of the day. In fact she enjoyed herself so much that having not previously competed in any running event longer than 60m, Steph stepped into both relay teams and clocked an eyebrow raising 63.3.
Recent marathoner Sarah Murphy just managed to keep Zoe Vail at bay in the 3000m while Vicki Goodwin, also a debutante in the London Marathon, turned her attention to the newly instigated steeplechase. Unfortunately Vicki had to bear the full brunt of a rain squall which made sighting the barriers difficult but she seemed to enjoy it and barely had time to draw breath before she too was on relay duty.
200m: 4 S Bovill 25.36/0.6; 7 J Favell 27.49/-1.3. 400m: 2 S Bovill 56.97; 6 V Goodwin 70.57. 1500m: 7 S Murphy 5:09.88. 3000m: 5 S Murphy 10:41.47; 3 Z Vail 10:41.80. 100mH: 4 J Favell 16.00. 400mH: 3 J Favell 65.00. 2000mSC: 3 V Goodwin 8:37.28. HJ: 8 S Smith 1.50; 4 M Nestor 1.40. LJ: 8 M Nestor 4.89/0.6; 8 S Smith 4.34/0.7. TJ: 5 M Nestor 10.39/0.6. PV: 1 S Smith 3.60. SP: 8 C Bertram 7.90; 8 H Mead 6.91. DT: 7 C Bertram 22.70; 7 H Mead 15.22. JT: 8 C Bertram 26.45. HT: 7 H Mead 22.70. 4x100m: 8 Belgrave 54.96 (H Mead, J Favell, S Smith, S Bovill). 4x400m: 7 Belgrave 4:18.41 (J Favell 63.5, S Smith 63.3, V Goodwin 70.9, S Bovill 60.7).
Below left: Sprinter Susan Bovill scored well in both 400 and 200 metres. Right: After running in a classy 3000 metres field Sarah Murphy tackled the 1500m - and was disappointed to be "left out" of the 4 x 400 metres relay.
Above left: Stephanie Smith takes the pole vault bar off at 3.80m but was a clear winner of the event. Right: Zoe Vail finished the 3000 metres strongly to close right down on Sarah Murphy.