MEN'S LEAGUE 11 JUNE 2017 - FOURTH AGAIN
Match 2 of the Scottish Athletics League returned to Crownpoint after an absence of over 15 years and we had a good turnout of 18 athletes compared to only 8 at Match 1 in Aberdeen. We also scored lots more points (313 to 208) but still finished in 4th position again! Like us, the other clubs were able to field much stronger teams and we were a frustrating 4 points behind 3rd placed Kilbarchan. We just could not raise 4 fit athletes for the last event, the 4x400 relay, which would have yielded us 5 points even for last position. Our athletes had given their all on a miserably rainy day and some had picked up or exacerbated minor injuries.
The good news was that we had some fine performances, starting with the Thomas twins in the sprints. Alec took the 100m after a thrilling ding dong with Aberdeen's Ojei (10.83 to 10.86, wind +2.3mps), then just lost out to Kilbarchan's Anthony Young in 200m (22.01 to 22.05, legal wind +0.4). Kade impressed with a B sprint double (10.95 +2.3 and 22.32 +2.9). They teamed up with Cian O'Donnell and Steven Beattie to finish a close 2nd to Aberdeen in the 4x100 relay in 44.48. Cian posted 11.38 (+2.5) and Steven 11.42 (+2.5) and 23.37 (+2.0) in the guest sprints, so they might have won if changeovers had been slicker.
Captain Martin Hayes couldn't have done better, with maximum points through wins in the 400 hurdles (58.98) and steeplechase (9:46.72), making it look easy despite a problem with shin soreness.
Once again decathlete Gordon Belch was our top scorer. One of only 2 Aberdeen survivors, he amassed 40 points from 4 events but the foul weather prevented him from setting any new pb's.
Alexander Lewis was only 7cm below his best ever in taking 2nd in the Javelin (49.93m), splitting the Inverness throwers in a close tussle over the final 3 trials. Marcus Morton took 2nd in the High Jump with 1.90m and just needs a bit more competition in good conditions to match his indoor pb of 2.06m. His mate Lewis McGuire of Pitreavie soared to victory with 2.07m, so the final two meetings could provide great opportunities.
Jax Thoirs, our Scottish record holder and GB internationalist, back from USA, turned out in the Pole Vault but his efforts were frustrated by the worst downpour of the day; he entered at a modest 4.05m to take top points before the event was stopped. Gordon took the B event with 3.30, equalling his best from Aberdeen. Jax used the strength he has gained in training to take 2nd in the Shot with 12.16m. Our only other survivor from the first match, veteran Gerry Farrell was reliable as usual and amazingly consistent throwing 31.82m in both Hammer and Discus for 4th in each.
It was good to have a decent showing in middle distance races. Allan Ramsay took valuable points in 800 and 1500m, while Kieron Rafferty in a rare outing reaped the harvest of hard track training with a fine pb of 4:06.68 for 3rd in 1500m. Lewis Priest made his League debut at age 17 in the 5000m and took 3rd in 16:47.78, a great start and surely a marker for more improvement.
Euan Urquhart, Cory O'Hara Iain Wilson and Tim Chan all did well in their events, and Calum Innes was a surprise but welcome entrant after his return from N America to turn out in the 110 hurdles. It was a day he'd prefer to forget, as he had to cede his early lead to upcoming runners when he stiffened up in the closing stages; but his A string 4th place enabled Gordon to win the B race and post a high score in the event.
After two matches we are 4th overall behind Aberdeen, Central and Inverness. A strong turnout like this can move us up a bit. Thanks not only to the athletes who braved the elements and lack of shelter at Crownpoint but also to our officials who took a soaking throughout the afternoon with little respite and to the band of faithful supporters who lent their voice.
Hugh Stevenson, Team Manager