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Athletics: Double success as Harlow crowned champions

Athletics / Tue 7th Jul 2015 at 09:05am

HARLOW Athletic Club men’s team concluded their regular season with victory at Erith. The result confirmed their place as Division 1 East champions and they now move on to the Divisional Championships at Eton in August. Erith was also the venue for the third round of the Southern Women’s League. Harlow’s ladies won the match by just ten points to overhaul South London and snatch top spot in the Division One standings. The final match now becomes a winner-takes-all decider between the two clubs with promotion to the Premier Division the prize.

The Paxman brothers were again at the heart of the team’s success as they utilised their multi-event talents to the full: Glen Paxman took part in a mammoth twelve events, nine of which were as the A String competitor. He picked up first places in six of these events. Perhaps the highlight was the very competitive 400m as he and Luton’s Dan Bottesch battled hard from the final bend to the finish line; they were separated by less than half a second. With the consistency of his performances and the physical toll he places upon himself it is curious that he has not been named as a Man of the Match so far this season.

His brother, Carl, completed seven events. Collecting five B String first places in the process, including a new PB (8.68) in the shot. Perhaps his personal favourite result was the first place in the Long Jump A competition; his leap of 6.18m is his longest of the season to date and only 15 centimetres short of his personal best performance.
There were good performances on the track by Shemar Boldiszar and Will Snook respectively. Boldiszar was only used in the 100m and relay to avoid risk of injury as he heads to the English Schools’ Championships in Gateshead next week. He won it comfortably and noticeably eased down in the final 15 metres. Snook, who usually runs the 400m was selected for the 200m as he continues his comeback from recent hamstring soreness. His time of 23.3 was a nationally recognised target time and for this he was awarded the Man of the Match watch from sponsors Soleus: he is the fourth Harlow athlete to do so following Marcus Hunt, Dave Bauer and Shemar Boldiszar.

Donald Campbell and Liam Mistry took responsibility for the middle distance events and both had successful afternoons. In the 800m their positions were reversed from last week’s match at Luton with Mistry taking first in the A race and Campbell first in the B race. Both men were comfortable winners of their respective 1500m races. By the time the 5000m was to be run it was clear that Harlow would win the match and so neither man risked their health in the sweltering conditions by competing.

On the field, Chris Clark chipped in with valuable points in the Hammer as he threw just over 20m to pick up fourth place and Craig Snook also had a good day with two first places and a third. He was first in the B Pole Vault with a height of 2.40m and first in the B Javelin narrowly short of 40m with a best attempt of 39.25m. His third place was in the A discus with a throw of just over 22m.

Following the match injured men’s captain, Dave Bauer said; “It’s a great achievement in my view that such a little club as Harlow has once again put its Men’s Team in the League Final Play Offs which will be against some British League Teams. 

The women have their own version of the Paxmans in the form of Polly Woods. By her standards this was a quiet day as she competed in seven events. She had five first placed finishes in that number and will have enjoyed the 32m throw in the Hammer which was close to her best. Slightly less enjoyable for her but just as vital to the team was her performance in the 200m; her tussle with Swale’s Katie Masters was as exciting as the men’s 400m had been earlier.

The team had missed the contribution of the Owen family at the last match but they were all back in harness for this fixture: Bridget once again ran the 3000m and took fourth in the A race. She also took part in the shot and picked up third in the B event. Twins, Hannah and Annabel, took part in the sprints; Hannah was slightly quicker than her sister as she picked up second in the B event. Annabel was fourth in the A race and then went on to win the B race.

Younger sister, Louise, enjoyed a good day as she picked up two second places and a first place in A events. Whilst the time was not quick in sweltering heat the win and points she picked up in the 1500m were most welcome.
Another important family to the team are the Malcolm family: Eilidh, Grace and Mairi all took part in endurance events with Mairi picking up first in the B 1500m with Grace and Eilidh taking both second places in the A and B 800m races respectively.

There were welcome returns for Steph Fuller and Katie Champion. Fuller made a difference as she eased her way back into throwing, following a stint working abroad, and picked up good points in the hammer, discus and shot. She then saw that there was not a full complement of athletes in the 400m and entered herself to score points; considering the narrow margin of victory this was a good decision. Champion has been unable to compete due to Saturday school commitments but returned with two second places and a third place in events the club has lacked athletes for earlier in the season.

Eleanor Moss posted a PB, 18.74m, in the discus to win the B event and threw the javelin over thirty metres in a consistent set of throws to win the A competition. Beth Harryman picked up a hat-trick of wins in her three chosen events, hurdles, shot put and high jump and the club is sure to make use of her growing multi-event prowess going forward. She was agonisingly short by just two centimetres of a 9m throw in the shot. Ami Ashby and Claudia Andrews completed a brace of second places respectively and Martyna Jakstaite, making her return following injury, picked up two B String first place finishes. Katie Brennan also performed well throwing a PB in the Discus.

The 4 x 100 relays were handled well by the men’s, women’s and girl’s teams. The men brought together another new quartet and blooded youngster Jacob Juniper who ran an excellent first bend to secure first place from start to finish; the team went under 47 seconds for the third time this season. The women and girls ran two equally quick races to pick up first and second respectively; the girl’s baton changing was particularly impressive.
Speaking after Steve Lott said; “This was a fantastic occasion as it’s not often both senior teams are at the same venue. With both teams doing so well it was even better! Many congratulations to the men’s team for reaching the Divisional Play-Off for the second straight year. Looking at the list of eligible athletes the team could potentially better last year’s fourth place finish in this year’s finals.

I’m also very proud of what the women have achieved. Five years ago I wondered if we could even persevere with a women’s team as we were attending matches with as few as three athletes. Here we are today pushing for promotion to mix it with the likes of Windsor, Slough and Eton and Victoria Park – the home clubs of Morgan Lake and Perry Shakes-Drayton amongst other internationals. We have a huge opportunity to put Harlow back on the athletic map.”

SML Match Result
Harlow 179, Luton 144, Bexley 137, Swale 111
SML Division 1 East Final League Table
Harlow 684, Luton 549, Bedford 419, Bexley 328, Swale 315
SWL Match Result
Harlow 216, South London Harriers 206, Paddock Wood 173, Swale 157, Chiltern 29, Dorking 26
SWL Division 1 League Table (After Round 3)
Harlow 639, South London Harriers 631, Paddock Wood 381, Swale 362, Chiltern 148, Dorking 135

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