North East Masters Athletics Association (NEMAA) Track and Field League Meeting 2 – 3rd June 2024

by Geoff Hewitson

The second NEMAA Track & Field League meeting of the 2024 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 NEMAA debut for Mark Standbridge and a welcome return to competition for Danny Oakley. A combination of unavailabilities and missing the entry deadline meant that the ladies only had 4 competitors.

On a positive note, however, it was good to have Sharon B competing again, and the ladies still had a team (minimum 3 competitors required) so were able to score points in the league.

The men’s team accumulated a very health 120 points on the night (an improvement on the 92 we scored at the previous meeting), an average of 13.3 points each. We remain in 4th place in the current league standings, but despite their big turnout we still managed to outscore Jarrow and Hebburn.

Team Grand Prix for Men:

Top points scorers for the men’s team were Joe Hall (18), Geoff H (17), Ken C (15) and Peter Coser (15). Remember, the maximum is 18 points if you are lucky enough to finish first in your age category in all 3 events.

Remarkably, Joe Hall was the only competitor in his age category (M55) for all three of his events, so was guaranteed maximum points provided he registered a valid throw/jump in each one. In fairness, the 21.87m he threw in the discus would have taken a fair bit of beating anyway, and he backed this up with decent efforts in both the shot (6.96m) and triple jump (6.52m). And being the modest, understated guy he is, Joe didn’t even broadcast the fact that he’d scored 18 points.

Ken C came first in both throwing events, with best efforts of 19.40m in the discus and 6.17m in the shot. He also picked up another 4 points in the 100m.

Peter C had a go at the sprint double, scoring good points in both races. His times were 14.3s for the 100m and 29.0s for the 200. Despite a stuttering run up in order to ensure a valid jump, Peter still managed 7.49m in the triple jump, good enough for second spot and 5 points in his age category.

Phil “The Leap” Healey scored 11 points from the high jump (1.00m) and triple jump (6.40m). The M60 age category is a pretty competitive one for track races, and in particular, the sprints. Despite this, Phil’s 35.8s 200m performance was still good enough to earn an extra point.

Mark Standbridge enjoyed a successful night on his first ever NEMAA outing, picking up a very handy 12 points for the team. His efforts in the shot (6.66m) and discus (16.69m) were both good points winners, but arguably his best result was in the 800m where he ran a very good heat to finish in 3:05.2.

Andy T is always Mr Dependable when it comes to NEMAA. Despite being currently restricted to field events due to a recent injury, he picked up valuable points in the triple jump (5.49m), discus (14.86m) and shot (6.19m).

Danny O didn’t want to risk doing the sprints with The Blaydon Race on the horizon, so opted for the middle distance double of 800m (3:25.0) and 1500m (6:44.4). He scored points in both of these events, and as an added bonus found himself to be the only M35 in the discus, so scored maximum 6 points with a throw of 12.35m. This was his first ever try at the event which illustrates that at these NEMAA meetings you never know what you can achieve!

Brad came along with the main aim of posting a good time in the 800m. He was looking for something around the 2:14 mark and went through the bell in 67 seconds – perfectly on schedule. However, despite feeling that he was heading for a negative split, the strengthening wind obviously took its toll, and he crossed the line in 2:20.5. Still a good solid run and 3rd place in his age category. He also had a go at the triple jump, again registering an age category 3rd place with a best of 8.34m.

Following an underwhelming (to say the least) performance at the previous meeting, my own contribution of 17 team points was much better than I could have hoped for, and the best I’ve achieved for many years. Practising the shot and discus at Shildon on Tuesday night certainly paid off, resulting in age category wins in both events. 6.79m in the shot was an improvement on the last time I did the event (6.67m in 2021), whilst 19.40m in the discus was a near 2 metre PB! With only one rival (and a decent one at that) in the high jump, I only needed a valid jump to guarantee 5 points, and came away fairly satisfied with 1.15m (and a very close call on the first attempt at 1.20). It goes to show that choosing the right events is key to points scoring even if overall you aren’t in the best of form generally!

Our four ladies collectively scored 49 points in the league (average of 12.25 points each), which as can be seen in the table below, saw them slip a couple of league places to 5th. South Shields (in particular) and Jarrow always have big numbers and consequently are very difficult to compete with, but as the results from the previous meeting show, we are well capable of competing with clubs like Elvet, North Shields Poly, and Blyth. Just 2 or 3 additional ladies would make a big difference.

Team Grand Prix for Women:

Heather Jones scored a maximum 12 team points from age category wins in both the discus (13.19m) and shot (5.01m). Despite it being a non-scoring event, it was a shame that Heather had to pull out of the 2km race walk shortly after the start, having aggravated an injury.

Still on the gradual road to recovery from a long term injury, Sharon B competed in the two throwing events, achieving an age category win in the discus (13.19m) and 3rd place in the shot (5.61m). These performances earned a very handy 10 points for the team.

Mel R is also carrying an injury which restricted her ability to sprint flat out in the 100m. Nevertheless, a gutsy effort to finish in 27.2s still earned 4 points. Better was to come in the 1500m, with an age category 2nd place finish (7:27.7), and a further 4 points from 3rd place in the shot (4.62m).

Amanda T’s run of good form continues and she posted another couple of excellent efforts in the two sprint races. Her time for the 100m was 17.5s and for the 200m it was 38.0s. Both resulted in age category 2nd placings. Amanda also had a go at the shot, and whilst selection for the GB Olympic squad in this event seems unlikely, she still managed a decent effort of 4.90m.

After just 2 meetings it’s still early days as far as the various Individual Grand Prix competitions are concerned, but we do have a number of people currently sitting in first or second in the various age categories. Updates will appear in future reports as the season unfolds.

The next NEMAA track and field action is the Annual Championships which take place on Saturday 22nd 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 1st 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