Renovations and the weather doesn’t deter Team Avon athletes
For the second year running the Regional Final of the Upper Age Group Youth Development League was badly affected by poor weather.
The match had been moved to Newport while the Yate track is under development, however officials managed to complete the programme, though hell and high water didn’t seem far away.
Consisting of athletes from Yate & District AC and four other local clubs, Team Avon’s day was a resounding success. They finished second, qualifying them for the national final in Bedford in early September.
The poor weather created many stories, which unfolded throughout the day. The pole vault was impossible due to the high wind, so the competitors filled spaces in the team. Pole Vaulter Liam Hiller, for example, took part in the hurdles and scored valuable points.
Jodie Dale, on holiday in Scotland with her family, was driven down by her father to compete in the shot and discus as well as her favourite javelin. Jodie won the javelin with a new PB of 35.47m and then the two of them set off back to Scotland.
It was remarkable that there were any personal best performances at all but the one that stood out was Adam Brooks in the high jump who cleared 2.01m for the first time; a clear twenty-five centimetres clear of the rest of the field. Toby Conibear is having a very fine season and threw the hammer 57.94m, a distance further than his coach Matt Spicer achieved at that age.
Other Yate winners came from Abdi Hasan in the 800m; Greg Hayward in the B 1500m; Rhiannon Paton also in the 1500m, and Emily Whitaker in the 1500m steeplechase.
Nathaniel Mitchell has found his ideal event in the 400m. Although still under-17 he competed as an under-20 and finished a fine second with 52.54 secs. He then contributed to an Avon win in the 4x400m relay. The under-17 4x400m relay saw three Yate athletes in action; Liam Hillier, Isaac Cory and Abdi Hasan came home in second place in an excellent time.
It was an afternoon to remember for athletes and team managers, Sandra Woodman and Lesley Nunn and an afternoon to forget for the officials who ended the day soaked to the skin.
Midland Athletic League
Yate together with Bristol & West mounted a valiant defence of the Midland Athletic League title but were pipped at the post.
Entering the final match of the year Bristol/Yate led by the narrowest of margins and for about two thirds of the day they were ahead of Birchfield even though both teams were in the unfamiliar positions of third and fourth. In the end injury weakened the smallest team for a while and they were narrowly beaten but still took a worthy second in the league.
Bristol/Yate were either first or second in the league all season, underlining their position as one of the main players while also knowing how to enjoy themselves. Through the year they introduced a significant number of new athletes to team athletics from U17’s through seniors and Masters backing up their more established contributors.
There are highlights at every match but two U17 throwers volunteering themselves for the 3000m steeplechase to try and retain the title was very special. Toby Conibear (Hammer) and Lewis Wall (Discus) were full of enthusiasm before the event and even when the reality of what they were doing hit them, they kept going in real pain and brought home more points than Birchfield.
Dan Brooks has competed in and won all four A string 100m races and also ran every A string 200m race recording two victories. Given the clubs he was up against in this Division this is a fantastic consistently high level of performance.
Lucy Durham and Matt Spicer are two athletes who are always there for the team, and this match and season was no different. Lucy covered ‘extra’ events as she has often done over a number of years, and at the other end of the age range, Matt did his normal ‘Mr Versatility’ act of throwing anything that needs to be thrown.
Adam Brooks (HJ) cleared 2.00m for the third time this year taking an A string win backed up by Jack Moore winning the B string in one of the many double wins of the day. Both Adam and Jack were multi-eventing as well.
U17 Abdi Hasan ran a PB of 1:55.5 for the 800m, which is a remarkable time and the face of the runners behind him as he moved away from them was a picture. Abdi also ran the 1500m (SB) and 4x400m relay to celebrate.
Emily Whitaker, James Viner and Toby Conibear competed in the Midlands Championships. James won the under-15 hammer; Toby took bronze in the under-17 hammer and Emily stormed to victory in the under-17 steeplechase.
The under-13s and under-15s did well enough in the YDL promotion match to stay in the Premier Division.