Athletics: Harlow AC gain Cambridge Second but aren’t blue!

Athletics / Mon 19th Jun 2023 at 09:25am

CAMBRIDGE played host to the latest round of the Southern Athletic League matches in Division Three North. Not only was this tussle with the five other teams but also with the weather.

Heavy rain and lightning led to the abandonment of five events. Thankfully, this was not enough to warrant a void fixture and so the journey up the M11 was a fruitful one as Harlow finished second.

Fifty-four events across the men’s and women’s matches withstood the weather and the team only failed to fill six of them with at least one athlete. Even more impressively, thirty-seven of the events resulted in a first-, second-, or third-placed finish for the athlete concerned.

In a digital age, it is frustrating that confirmed times and confirmed distances are unavailable for the match report. Nevertheless, there are some notable performances to report upon:

Séamus O’Brien, making his debut for the club, ran well in both the 200m and 400m, picking up a fourth and fifth place respectively.

Jack Ring was another debutant for the men’s team, and he ran in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and a leg of the 4 x 400. If his 56.0s, in the 400m is confirmed, he is close to breaking a club record for Under 20 men already.

Adam Beaumont, another newcomer to team athletics, but a seasoned road racer, ran a strong 5k for a well-earned second place.

Alongside these performances, were some strong showings by the core of the men’s team: Glen Paxman was restricted to five events by a muscle injury but still managed three first places in the 400m hurdles, Shot and ‘B’ Discus.

Brother, Carl, seamlessly slotted into the gaps and competed in seven events. He won two, was second in two and third in the others.

The Paxman twins were joined in the field by Dave Bauer, Sam Dawson, and Samson Brichieri-Colombi. Brichieri-Colombi won the Javelin. This is no mean achievement for an U17 with a higher weight implement, in a field of grown men.

Dawson had a good afternoon as he picked up victories in both the B string Long Jump and Triple Jump respectively. If confirmed, both marks will be new personal bests.

Bauer picked up a first and a third in the B Shot and A Discus. The latter was achieved in appalling conditions. And as he enters the twilight of a distinguished career, he seems content to watch his charges, as he moves more into coaching.

Sadly, Rhiana Drew was injured and so Bebe Jackson, one of Bauer’s throwers, had to begin the day on her own in the Hammer. She was third. She repeated the position later in the day when she threw discus. If the 22.86m is confirmed, it will be another new PB, further strengthening her claim of a place in the Junior Commonwealth Games later this summer. Bearing in mind what is at stake for Jackson, she is to be commended for putting herself on the line for the team as she participated in the U20 maximum allowance of five events.

Another who stepped up magnificently was Natalia Asemota-Lopez. The club has waited a long time for her appearance in a match. Shortly after joining us two and a half years ago, she broke her leg in a school event. Her strongest performance came in the triple jump where she jumped 9.41m. She competed in four events in total.

Summer Toppin produced a second in the 100m B race and a third in the B Long Jump as she made her first appearance in a senior match.

Johanna Willard made her first appearance of the season in the 100m Hurdles. With Beth Harryman nursing a niggle that kept her out of the race, Willard stepped up to A string and was second.

Club stalwarts Eilidh Malcolm and Sharon Wright completed the track card for the club. Malcolm ran 200m, 400m, 1500m and a relay. Whilst Wright ran 1500m and 5K. Wright was an excellent second in the latter of these two races.

Similarly, on the field, two more loyal competitors, Harryman and Upton completed Harlow’s entries in the remaining jumps and throws. Shot saw them pick up a pair of firsts, Javelin two second places, and they went their separate ways in the long and triple jumps. Harryman collected a second in the long jump and Upton repeated this in the triple jump.

It is always difficult to overturn the advantage a home team has with the volume of competitors they can usually expect. So, forty-one points behind is noteworthy indeed.

Harlow’s next match is in Sandy, Bedfordshire, in three weeks’ time. With exams fully over by then, the club should expect to see more athletes return to action and will hopefully be even stronger for the competition.

Match Result:
Cambridge & Coleridge 251, Harlow 210, Ilford 197.5, Watford 155.5, Barnet and District 116, West Norfolk 91

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