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Athletics: Harlow AC impress at the Riddlin Stadium

Athletics / Tue 21st May 2024 at 08:58am

SAL Division 2 North, Match 1: No puzzle for Riddlin Success!

ON Saturday, Riddlin Stadium, Stevenage, was the venue as Huntingdonshire AC hosted the first senior fixture of the season and Harlow’s first higher division match for over ten years.

The bare facts are that Harlow began in fine style and ended the match in third place. The key to success was a good turnout and huge commitment. Seven senior athletes were well-supported by fourteen Under 17 and Under 20 athletes, and only five events remained unfulfilled by the club across the men’s and women’s competitions. 

The day began with the traditional start of hammer in the field and 400m hurdles on track. The club could only muster one competitor in the hurdles and Carl Paxman came sixth in the A event. He did this before heading off to compete as the B competitor in the men’s hammer. 

In the cage, Rhiana Drew enjoyed a good start to the day as she threw over 33m for fourth place in a hugely competitive event. She was ably supported by Dawn Jones who stepped in to ensure the team fielded two athletes. Her throw of just over 12m was enough to secure two valuable points. It was a similar story for the men as Glen Paxman threw over 30 metres for fourth, and brother, Carl, 18 metres for fourth.

Track attention turned to short sprints and on the field a series of jumps got underway. The women were represented by newcomer, Halle-Brooke Lawson and making her debut as a senior, Louise Duffy. Lawson was sixth in 14.6s and Duffy third in the B event in 14.4s. For the men, Jack Ring ran his first competitive 100m and was supported by another debutant, Tommy Newnham. Whilst their times were similar, Ring’s 11.9 was good enough for fifth and Newnham’s 12.0 picked up third.

Whilst this was going on, Jack Palmer and Daniel Sokunle, both Under 17s, were making their senior debuts in the long jump. Both jumped well to record 4.94m and 4.88m respectively, picking up six points for the cause. Halle-Brooke Lawson finished her 100m and immediately jumped in the women’s high jump, the club’s sole entrant. Her 1.30m jump was good enough for fourth overall.

In the reverse of these jumps, Louise Duffy was another solo entrant for the women and her 4.03m jump was good enough for third. Glen and Carl Paxman fulfilled the high jump for the team: Glen jumped 1.60m for fourth in the A competition and Carl, 1.50m for third in the B event.

Meanwhile, field action moved to the shot. Rhiana Drew, fresh from a good display with the hammer, threw a personal best with the 4k shot for fourth in the women’s event. Sharon Wright took a moment off the track to throw in the B competition. She also came fourth with a best distance of 6.04m. The Paxman duo was at it again for the men. Once more, Glen was A scorer to Carl’s B; Glen was fourth whilst Carl was second for more valuable team points.

400m was a fruitful event for the club with good points for both the men and women. Jack Ring ran an excellent race to pick up first place, and in the B race, Sonnie Mowatt was second. Eilidh Malcolm and Faryl Wright, on senior debut, were both third in very similar times in the women’s A and B races. Nineteen out of twenty-four possible points for the event was an excellent return.

A flurry of track events took centre stage in the middle part of the day, beginning with 800m. Manny Richards and Kamal Ricketts were both making their senior debuts ran very well in two races of more mature athletes to pick up fourth and third places respectively. Faryl Wright ran a well-timed race for second in the A race for women. Unfortunately, Nissi Onofowokan, who stepped in to ensure a B runner injured her thigh but gamely finished the race. With two teams unable to field a B runner, she picked up a valuable three points, especially in the context of the result at the end of the day.

100m and 110m hurdles was next up and Harlow fielded three athletes. Glen Paxman and Carl Paxman were again the club’s entrants. Glen Paxmans A race was remarkable for the starter dropping his second pistol, causing it to fire and sound as if the race had been recalled! When the race was restarted, Paxman was fifth. Brother, Carl was one of two runners in the B race, and he was second. Louise Duffy ended her allowed individual events with an excellent second place in the women’s race. With the confidence of completing her first senior distance, her times will surely fall in the future from the 18s exactly she managed on this occasion.

With Onofowokan injured, Dawn Jones stepped in and ran the 200m and was fifth. For the men, James Palmer and Lawrence Wisebone-Donkor, another debutant, both ran well. Palmer was fifth and broke his personal best in the process. Wisebone-Donkor set himself a good mark to try and better in the future, 25.7s also for fifth in the B race.

Whilst this was occurring, men’s Javelin and women’s discus were in effect on the field. Drew ended her day with a decent throw of 25.36m for fourth and Jones was fifth in the B event. In the men’s javelin, Carl Paxman threw 37.19m for fifth in the A competition and Glen 36.33m for second in the B event.

In the reverse rotation, Ellie Marklew made a welcome return from university to take first place with 27.37m and Drew completed her day with a B event victory, throwing 19.35m. In the cage, Dave Bauer made his only appearance of the day as he comes back from injury. 32.56m was good enough for second, a feat repeated by Glen Paxman in the B competition. His best throw was 26.53m.

The versatility of the Paxmans was called upon once more as they were the club’s only pole vaulters. It was a sparsely contested event so Glen’s 2.80m was good enough for second and Carl’s 2m, third in the two competitions.

Back on track, the men’s 5000m was followed by the women’s 1500m. Adam Beaumont was third in the men’s 5000m in 16.14.6 minutes. He was ably supported by second year Under 17, Hayden Garrett, who ran a very creditable 18.52.0 minutes for third in the B race. Eilidh Malcolm and Sharon Wright shared 1500m duties. They were very close on track with Malcolm just ahead in 5.32.9 mins to take A third. Wright was also third in a time of 5.33.2mins.

Beaumont did not get much time to rest as he was almost straight back on track for the men’s 1500m. He was third in the A race in 4.26.0 minutes. Manny Richards returned to the track to run as B runner and was second in 4.40.4 minutes.

At the conclusion of the men’s 1500m, the women’s 3000m set off. Sharon Wright was second in the A race in 11.41.1 minutes. And, making her senior debut, Under 17 Isla Garrett, sister to Hayden, ran a very good time of 13.01.7 minutes also for second.

The final field event was the triple jump. Lawrence Wisebone-Donkor was fourth with 9.98m and Carl Paxman also fourth in the men’s B event with 9.94m. Faryl Wright ended her day with the last of her three permitted events, jumping 8.54 for third. Seeing that Harlow had no second jumper, Isla Garret, who had only just finished the 3000m, stepped up and jumped 6.42m for fourth in the B jump.

The day concluded with the traditional ending of 4 x 100m, steeplechases, and 4 x 400m. The men’s team was disqualified for a faulty change and the women were fifth. The men could not muster two steeplechase athletes, the only event that the men’s team failed to cover all day. The women, however, managed to put out two competitors. This was vital with no other team able to get out a second runner. Eilidh Malcolm won the A race and Dawn Jones, who was third on track, earned six important points.

Both men and women squads were able to field 4 x 400m relay teams, and both were second to cap an excellent day’s athletics.

 The result saw the teams in third fourth and fifth places separated by only four and a half points, proving the value of every B performer supporting an A competitor. Harlow’s senior athletes ensured that the newer athletes understood this, and everyone played their part in a very good team display.

Harlow are next in action at the same track, when Stevenage are the hosts, on 15 June.

Match Result: Stevenage & North Herts 282, Peterborough & Nene Valley 259, HARLOW 244.5, Cambridge & Coleridge 244, Huntingdonshire AC 240, Ryston Runners 188.5

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