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Senior Men Show Strength in Bedford

Report by Peter Stansbury

The senior men’s team made an excellent start to their season. There were plenty of challenges to endure: the cold weather, a number of key competitors missing and even a few last-minute changes to cover an injury and a work crisis, yet they still managed to keep every event covered for A and B – a vital thing this season. It was great to see such a strong contribution from the younger athletes which bodes well for future seasons as well as the rest of this one. So many great performances as well. The support from the team, travelling supporters and coaches was infectious were it will be fantastic if we can build on this spirit.

I’m not sure which was a harder job, missing the match or choosing man of the match. Josh Woods and Destiny Ogali each with 2 A wins and a relay 2nd to rack up the points. Marcus Stansbury and Rhys Rowlands each doing 4 events and Marcus with 3 PBs and a 4x400m leg that was up there with his quickest times. Shaun Wall and Matt Hamilton for doing 3 events. In the end Haydn Williams probably stunned himself as much as the onlookers with 2 monster PBs, adding 30cm to Pole Vault even though he had only competed twice last year and cutting 3 seconds off his 400m Hurdles time with a gutsy run even though he hadn’t competed since 2017 and had never competed at the senior height before.

Destiny Ogali did the double, as expected, in the 100 and 200. B string selection in the short sprints was always going to be hard for the manager with so many good runners available. Samad Ibrahim repaid the faith put in him with 2 PB performances and vital points with 2nd and 1st places and times good enough for 3rd in both A races. 

Josh Woods cleaned up in the horizontal jumps and his 6.90m PB in the Long Jump drew audible gasps from the crowd. He then joined Destiny, Jacob Haynes and Louis Jackson to complete the 4x100m relay team who took 2nd place. Solly Sandiford celebrated his birthday with a late call-up and valuable 3rd place in the Long Jump. Josh Evans took 2nd place in the B Triple Jump and 400m as well as running in the 4x400m relay. Tom Bain ran both 400m races with victory and a PB in the 400m A. Marcus Stansbury stepped in for Ben McGuinness in the 4x400m relays and played his usual part in covering hard to fill events with his first ever 110m Hurdles race at any height and proving undaunted by the senior height to gain a 2nd place in the B race. He managed to find the energy to claim 2 further PBs coming 2nd in the 2000m steeplechase B and 4th in High Jump A (and he still saved something for the EYAL on Sunday with a Triple Jump PB). 

Phil Oddy ran a PB for 3rd in the 5000m A and was supported by Jamie Marlow who gained a valuable 2nd place in the B race.

Shaun Wall proved his versatility by joining Marcus in the 110m Hurdles and High Jump as well as throwing well in the shot put for 2nd. Matt Hamilton also put in hard work in the 800m, 1500m and 4x400m relay with a consistent 3rd in all events. Rhys Rowlands was another workaholic putting in good performances in the 1,500m (3rd), 2000m Steeple Chase (2nd) and 400m Hurdles (2nd). It’s a great credit to the team with so many athletes putting in these multi-event performances making us the only team to fill all events on the day.

Trevor Ratcliffe proved a stalwart in the field once more putting in strong Javelin (2nd) and Hammer (3rd) performances in the A string, supported Chris Line in both events (with a Javelin PB and 1st place and 2nd in the Hammer). Trevor also stepped in as manager and mini-bus driver on the day. John Garner took off his manager hat long enough to gain a 2nd place in the shot put.

Well done and thanks to all, looking forward to the next match.

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