Records roll as Nene Valley Harriers storm to second at opener

An amazing eight club records and 22 personal best times (PB) were clocked by Nene Valley Harriers athletes at the first Southern Athletics League match of the season.

Despite a strong wind on the second bend and into the faces of the cage throwers, the athletes performed well at Colchester and were just pipped by a single point into second place.

This was a tough meeting, with Nene Valley up against a strong Colchester side, Division Two champions Thames Valley Harriers and Norwich, who are one of the strongest teams in East Anglia.

But the Harriers were never threatened by any team other than eventual winners Colchester. Indeed, they led throughout most of the day – only to be pipped by the hosts in the last few events.

Nene Valley saw several athletes step in to fill gaps on the day – even at the expense of their own non-scoring events.

Rosie Jacobs, who usually does not pass the finish line except at the end of a race, finished second in the ladies’ 3,000m race, while Rosie Fresen – a pole vaulter – completed the 2,000m steeplechase in second place on 9.54.2mins. That was an under-17 club record.

Fresen had also earlier recorded a new club record 2.80m in the pole vault.

Cat Foley stepped into the 400m relay team when a team-mate was taken ill just beforehand – and assisted the team to second place.

Simon Achurch was the athlete of the day in terms of club records. He secured a brilliant three veteran club records following a javelin win of 38.92m, second in the hammer with 42.58m and a third in the discus with 33.63m. He also took third place in the men’s shot put on the day.

Leigh Ann Rose was the other new club record holder, recording a time of 9.03.6mins in the 2,000m steeplechase as an under-20.

Maria Hollingsworth also equalled her under-20 110m hurdles record with a 15.2secs win.

Ashley Sandall’s time of 49.3secs for second place in the 400m put him in the man-of-the-match rankings as did Lily Hughes’ 100m and Becky Hall’s winning shot put of 12.19m. These performances, alongside the 18 wins and 25 second places, saw the club finish well clear of third place.

David Bush also competed in his usual seven or so events, picking up points all over the field. Pete Lewis recorded third places in his pole vault and high jumps events and Andrea Jenkins recorded a win and a second place just two days after being given the all clear following a recent operation.

Kane Wright’s blistering 100m win, leading from the gun, and Lily Hughes breaking the club record despite slipping out of the blocks at the start were also highlights.

Meanwhile, James McRae and Brad Spurdens took the competition to the other clubs in the men’s 800m. With neither wishing to let the other win, they raced each other to the line and left the field well behind.

Megan Ellison ran the same event with tactical prowess more associated with someone much older than the 14-year-old. She led the field and pulled away from the only challenger over the last 200m.

The men’s 400m relay team was led out by Dave Brown and from that point forward they left the field trailing almost 100m behind and eased home.

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