WINNING FORM: Simon Achurch starred for Nene Valley.

Nene Valley Harriers make solid start to Southern Athletics League title defence

Nene Valley Harriers got their Southern Athletics League campaign off to a promising start at The Embankment on Saturday.

As current league champions, and winners in two of the last three years, Nene Valley have become the team to beat.

They finished second out of the four teams, losing out by just half a point to Bracknell AC, but there were plenty of performances to suggest that It will be no easy task to prise the league trophy from Nene Valley’s clutches.

Nene Valley’s dominance in the throwing events is becoming the stuff of legend, and in the men’s throws they completely cleaned up dropping just one point.

Between them, Martin Tinkler and Simon Achurch won the A and B competitions in the hammer, shot and discus. Achurch also finished runner-up in the javelin, with team captain David Bush winning the B event.

Tinkler’s putt of 15.02m was a seasons’ best, and the third longest of his career.

The ladies were nearly as successful and Becki Hall won the ladies’ shot with a 12.62m throw.

Hall also came first in the B discus, while Lydia Church won the B shot and Kelly Lawrence the B hammer.

Andrea Jenkins was narrowly beaten into second place at both discus and hammer.

On the track, Nene Valley steadily accumulated the points with a host of second place finishes and a generous sprinkling of race wins.

Alexander McNally won the B 100m and Ronan Rawlings the B 200m, while Abraham Jones and Ashley Sandell continued the trend with firsts in the B 400m and 800m respectively.

Will Hughes had a terrific 200m race, and despite finishing as runner up, the teenager clocked 21.90secs – the third fastest time of his burgeoning career in what was his first race of the season.

Sean Reidy was first over the line in the 100m hurdles.

Emma Randall enjoyed a fine run to win the B 100m, and ladies captain Devon Spencer won the B pole vault and triple jump.

  • Nene Valley fielded a quartet of veterans in the British Masters Road Relay Championship at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday, finishing in 34th place.

Three of the four team members were at the higher end of the age category, but acquitted themselves well against many of the finest veterans in the country.

Chris Mooney was quickest in 19.32mins, with Darryl Coulter clocking 20.47mins, Barry Warne finishing in 21.52mins and Paul Parkin stopping the clock on 22.20mins.

Coulter is proving to be a real glutton for punishment, competing in the relay just six days after he took part in the notoriously arduous London Marathon. The 47-year-old raced again on Sunday, securing 72nd place out of 826 finishers in the Flitwick 10k with a 41.32mins clocking.

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