NEMAA Fixture 2 – 5th June 2023

by Geoff Hewitson

The second NEMAA Track & Field League meeting of the 2023 season took place last Monday evening, once more in near perfect weather conditions. The men’s team had a reasonable turnout of 9 competitors, including a welcome return to NEMAA competition for Jason Marr. A combination of unavailability and Kimberley being struck down with Covid at the 11th hour meant that the ladies only had the bare minimum of 3 competitors necessary to constitute a team.

The men’s team accumulated 95 points on the night (an improvement on the 84 we scored at the previous meeting), which saw us slip a place from 5th to 6th in the current league standings.

Top points scorers for the men’s team were Ken C and Phil Healey (14), Percy P (13), Geoff H and Joe Hall (12). Remember, the maximum is 18 points if you are lucky enough to finish first in your age category in all 3 events.

Ken won his age category in the shot (6.94m) and came third in both the discus (14.35m) and 200m (43.9s). Percy finished second in the 100m (21.0s) and just pipped Ken in the 200m thanks to a dramatic dive for the tape, which required a brief intervention from our St John’s Ambulance friends! Both achieved exactly the same time but Percy was given the verdict in a very tight photo finish from a fast-finishing Ken.

Percy added a further 3 points from a debut effort of 13.09m in the discus. Phil Healey won the aforementioned 200m heat involving Percy and Ken in a very speedy 35.7s (new PB), and finished second in both the triple jump (4.57m) and high jump (1.00m). “Turbo” Joe Hall decided to spurn the track in favour of three field events, securing an age category second place in the discus (22.16m), 3rd place in the triple jump (6.26m) and 4th place in the shot (6.80m).

Paul Smith ran well in both his track races, clocking 3:20.4s for the 800m and 6:27.2 in the 1500m. He also produced a very respectable 6.18m in the shot, accumulating a total of 8 points for the team. Jason Marr and Gerry Hehir also contested both middle-distance races. Jason ran 3:22.2 for the 800m and 6:44.7 for the 1500, whilst Gerry’s times were 3:25.4 and 6:26.5 respectively. Gerry scored 4 league points from his two age-category 5th placings, whilst Jason contributed 8 team points from his track races and a 3rd place in the shot (6.03m).

Andy T was involved in the same three field events as Joe Hall, with best throws of 16.98m in the discus and 6.17m in the shot. His triple jump

best of 5.90m earned a useful 3 points to add to the 4 he secured in the throws. My own contribution of 12 team points was much better than at the previous meeting, despite what I considered to be two disappointing performances from the three events. It goes to show that choosing the right events is key to points scoring even if you aren’t performing at your best!

Our three ladies collectively scored 32 points in the league, which as can be seen in the table below, saw them slip a couple of league places to 8th.

Jo Raine had what might be described as a mixed night, but still managed to pick up 12 points. Having won her age category in the discus with a tremendous throw of 19.32m, she moved on to the high jump (which had started earlier than the advertised time!) to find the bar at 1.25m. Jo would normally clear this height comfortably but coming straight into the competition “cold” as it were, she failed to register a jump. This was very unfortunate as the opening height of 1.20m would have been well within her compass, so through no fault of her own she didn’t get any points.

Later in the evening, it looked as though she was going to be at a considerable disadvantage in the 200m having left her track spikes at home. Fortunately, however, our friend from Middlesbrough AC (Mandale), Hayley Richardson came to the rescue, allowing Jo borrow her “super fast” spikes, and it certainly paid dividends with an age category win in 29.8s. (Jo spend much of the journey home researching the availability of these spikes on Vinted etc!)

Heather Jones also scored 12 team points from age category wins in both the discus (13.62m) and shot (4.97m). In addition to this, she contested a 2km (non-scoring) race walk which took place before the main competition, finishing second overall in a time of 15:58.9.

Sharon B competed in the two throwing events, and achieved age category 3rd place finishes in both the discus (13.39m) and shot (5.38m). These performances earned a very handy 8 points for the team, as well as strengthening Sharon’s position as leader of the F50 Individual Grand Prix for throws.

After two meetings the Individual Grand Prix competitions are starting to take shape. In addition to Sharon, we have a number of other athletes who are currently leading their age category in the various disciplines. Percy and Ken are first and second respectively in the M75 sprints whilst Ken is also leading the way in the M75 throws. Joe (M55) and Heather (F65) are our other throws leaders, with Andy T a close second in the M65 category. Heather is ahead in the F65 jumps as well, whilst last but not least the multi-talented Phil Healey is now leading the M60 jumps competition.

The next NEMAA track and field action is the Annual Championships which take place on Saturday 17th June. A full program of both track and field events are available (including the steeplechase!) As the term “Championships” suggests, this is a one-off competition, and does not form part of the T & F League or Individual Grand Prix.

The next league meeting takes place on Monday 3rd July. Events are 100m, 400m, 3000m, long jump, high jump, javelin and hammer. Online entries will close at 5pm the previous Friday – I’ll put a reminder out nearer the time.

Geoff H