THE bank holiday weekend saw Harborough AC returning to collective track and field action, as the Senior League season got under way.
Competing in division seven of the Midlands League, the town club find themselves pitted against Notts AC, Tamworth AC, Daventry AC and Hereford and County AC.
Always more of an unknown at the early stages of the campaign, the opening meeting proved to be a relatively lucrative one for HAC, with the overall table seeing them place second, just seven points adrift of Notts AC.
That tremendous display was made all the more remarkable by the relatively sparse nature of the team contesting the day, with alternative commitments and injuries taking their toll.
However, it was the performances of Mark Cherry – making his debut on the track – that really caught the eye. Casting his net wide, Cherry competed in no fewer than eight events, collecting some 23 points from six individual pursuits (including a win in the 2,000m steeplechase as the ‘A’-string runner, as well as contesting the 400m ‘B’, 5,000m ‘B’, shot put ‘B’, discus ‘A’ and javelin ‘A’), before also running a leg in each of the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
It therefore proved to be a very tiring day for Cherry, but his enthusiasm and willingness to pitch in wherever needed typified the attitude of the 14-strong squad who chose to make the journey to The Harvey Haddon Stadium in Nottingham.
First-place finishes in the men’s events were garnered by Jake Watson in both the 800m (‘A’) and 1,500m (‘A’) – the former in a personal best of 2:07.00, Dan Taylor in the 800m (‘B’), Paul Tomlinson in the 1,500m (‘B’) and the returning Andy Wilkinson in the pole vault (‘A’).
Top spot was secured by Bethany Ellis in the 800m (‘A’, and also in her first outing amid the senior competition), Yvonne Scarrott in the 1,500m (‘B’) and 3,000m (‘B’), Jill Postelthwaite in the 3,000m (‘A’), Emily Taylor in the 400m hurdles (‘A’) and mum, Marise, in the long jump (‘B’) among the female ranks.
Also producing top-three spot results during the day were:
Men – Roy Barber – in the 100m, 200m and 400m (all ‘A’, and with a new PB in the first of those), Tomlinson – in the 5,000m (‘A’), Watson – in the high jump and triple jump (both ‘A’), Dan Taylor – in the hammer (‘B’).
Women –Marise Taylor – in the shot, hammer, discus and javelin (all ‘A’), and the 100m (‘B’), Emily Taylor – in the 200m, 400m and long jump (all ‘A’), Lianne Brooks – in the 100m hurdles and pole vault (both ‘A’), and the 200m and shot (both ‘B’), Lin Farrow – in the 800m and Javelin (both ‘B’), and Postlethwaite – in the 1,500m (‘A’).
Speaking after the conclusion of competition, women’s track and field captain Lianne Brooks, said: “To take second place overall was a surprise if I’m honest. With quite a small team, we really needed to pull together. So to pick up 256 points [over 50 points more than third-placed Tamworth AC] is a great achievement, and I can’t speak highly enough of everyone. Bring on match two; that’s all I can say!”
A couple of days earlier, Will Clapp also dusted off his track spikes, for the Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire 10,000m County Championships – held at Saffron Lane.
In atrocious conditions for distance running, Clapp acquitted himself strongly in the 21-strong field – taking 11th place overall, fifth in the MV45 category, and seventh in the county – as he clocked a time of 35:29.5.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west