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Sunday saw some members of the club travel to Thurrock to compete in the last of the summer competitions within the EYAL structure. After competing in 5 matches in the league, the club finished in a fantastic 2nd place, an improvement from the 4th place finish last year at this stage. This result saw us qualify for the EYAL final for the 2nd year running. This has only been possible due to a large number of athletes representing the club at the previous league matches, with many of them trying new events or filling in at short notice. I appreciate those athletes and families who have avidly supported the team this season, and changed plans to compete in any of the matches.

It is an achievement that should be celebrated as all of those athletes have shown commitment and determination whilst facing some very strong competition. All have reveled in their success and some have had to overcome some challenges and disappointments but have never given up on striving for the next event or competitive opportunity. 

As you would expect, when facing the top 5 clubs in the league, the competition was undoubtedly some of the strongest that we have faced as a club but we embraced the challenges and contested the events strongly, demonstrating determined performances adding those all important points to the team and club totals which resulted in a 4th place for the club overall. To see photos of the day visit our website’s About page.

The first event for the girls was the shot put which saw Talia Williams (A) and Lucy Bevan (B) continue to improve their distances and both throw over 7m for the first time, achieving new PBs. Talia, one of the youngest competitors in the club, threw 7.35m for 4th place and Lucy finished in 2nd place with her throw of 7.26m.

The hurdles race saw a different line-up to the other league matches, where Brooke Evans (A) and Olivia Wilson (B) demonstrated their strength in this event despite only competing in this event previously at the Pentathlon earlier in the year. They were both rewarded with new PBs with Brooke 4th in 12.69 and Olivia in a blanket finish on the line in 3rd with her time of 12.51.

The high jump was next and the PBs kept coming. Megan Saywell (A) in her first year of U13 competition, continued her excellent performance in this event. Her hard work in training with Charlie Rowland was rewarded with her clearance of 1.40m for the first time and a 2nd place. This height is just 1 cm of attaining the exceptional AAA Grade 1 award, so fingers crossed for Club Champs. A nervous Lucy Bevan (B) gamely stepped in to cover this event. With one training session with John Hopper under her belt and her confidence improving following her performance in the shot, she too achieved a PB with her clearance of 1.30m and 3rd place.

The 800m was run in the searing midday sun and all of the runners had to cope with those conditions. We are accustomed to seeing Brooke Evans (A) run strongly in this event and today she did not disappoint with her 2nd place finish in 2.30.61, just 0.59 seconds outside her PB a superb time given the heat and the fact that she had run a hurdle race just 30 mins earlier. Phoebe Miller (B) who has been concentrating on her sprinting during more recent training sessions, found the race very competitive and added valuable points to the team with her 5th place finish in 2.53.86. 

The 100m races saw the girls facing some very fast competitors from the other clubs. Olivia Wilson (A) finished in 6thplace with her time of 14.51and Lucy Bevan (B), with only 10 minutes notice, stepped in to this event and produced her 3rd PB of the day and a 5th place finish with her time of 14.46.

The javelin saw both girls throw new PBs to secure wins. Megan Saywell (A) continued her very consistent form and reliability with her throw of 26.83m. Talia Williams (B) continued her development in the throwing events. In only her 2nd javelin competition, she added 7m to her previous best with her distance of 23.49m. 

The long jump saw the familiar duo of Olivia Wilson (A) and Brooke Evans (B) face a very competitive field. Throughout the season the girls have shared the accolade of success. Today saw Olivia finish in 3rd place with her leap of 4.25m and Brooke finishing one better in 2nd with her distance of 4.09m.

The 1500m again had the heat to contend with and some very fast competitors who took the race out from the gun. Ella Head (A) who had agreed to attend as a reserve and chief supporter, was drafted in on Tuesday when an injury ruled out another athlete. She was joined in the race by Evie Light (B) who after busy morning playing netball, and with a sore knee, dashed to the venue and arrived with minutes to spare. Ella and Evie ran together and stuck to the race plan of not being drawn into the very fast initial pace. Ella finished in 4th with her run of 5.51.07. Despite being in pain, Evie valiantly finished the race in 6.00.56 in 6th, adding to the team points total.

The discus competition had a pattern to follow where we were hoping the clean sweep of PBs in the throws would be continued. Both girls rose to the challenge with Kate Hopper(A) capitalising on some recent training with Seb Wadlow, producing a throw of 16.29m for her 4th place finish. Talia Williams (B) achieved her 3rd PB of the day with her throw of 14.64m.

The 200m saw both girls facing some very strong fields. Becky McCaul (A), dashed to the venue fresh from a netball win and ran strongly to produce another consistent time of 29.93 for 6th place. Phoebe Miller (B) also ran confidently for a 5th place finish in 30.74.

The girls relay, with yet another new combination of Brooke, Olivia, Phoebe and Becky, completed the race in a season’s best time of 57.74 for a 6th place finish.

The boys also faced some very strong competitors in all of the events.

The boys started with the 75m hurdles. Noah Franklin (A) faced some challenges with this opening event for the boys, but showed strength in completing the race whilst in pain. This was reflected in his time of 15.84. Haydan London (B), continued his form when his run narrowly missed out on a new PB. His time of 14.52 finished in 4th place.

The javelin saw both Kenneth Powley (A) and Kyeran Funnell (B) again prove consistent in this event. Despite having a slight timing clash with another event, he agreed to cover due to athlete injury, Kenneth approached this event with maturity and experience. With the officials agreeing to him being allowed to throw first, he dashed to the long jump after 2 javelin throws with his best distance today of 20.68m for 6th place. Kyeran Funnell who quietly goes about competing, achieved his first PB of the day with his throw 19.61m and was rewarded with a 5th place finish.

The boys faced no easier task than the girls in the 800m. Again strong front running from some other clubs required some clear commitment to our own individual race plans. Both competitors are learning valuable tactics in their first year in this competition, from every race that they run. Isaac North (A) finished in 6th place with his run of 2.48.41, just outside his PB. Alfie O’Neill(B) showed determination to finish the race in the heat also finishing in 6th place in 3.04.25

The long jump again saw our boys facing a very competitive field. Due to some unfortunate injuries earlier in the week, Alfie Parker (A) and Kenneth Powley (B) stepped up and achieved 6th places. Despite a very successful skiing competition yesterday and a last-minute practice on Thursday, Alfie in his first long jump competition of the year produced a very consistent series of jumps. His best of the day was 3.66m a new PB. Kenneth, did not have the best preparation either with his run from javelin, dodgy knees and very limited practice and he faced some challenges with his run up. None the less his jump of 3.05m added to the Club points total.

Reece Ranger (A) and Tobi Bajomo (B) faced some incredibly strong sprinters in the 100m.

The boys showed some true spirit which saw Reece run 14.79 for 6th place and Tobi 15.55 for 5th place.

Ben Franklin-Green (A) continued to impress with his performances in the shot. He added just under 1m to improve his PB set at the EYAL last month in St. Albans. His throw of 8.60m secured a 5th place finish. Alfie O’Neill (B) had a difficult competition with 2 of his throws being disallowed. However, he remained calm and recorded 1 throw of 5.44m and although below his usual distance he finished in 5th place adding points to the team.

The 1500m for the boys also proved a tough race. George Hawkins (A) and George Doyle (B) contended with the heat and fast front-runners to finish in 4th and 5th places with times of 5.06.24 and 5.25.93 respectively.

The high jump also saw a couple of less experience athletes represent the club. Both athletes performed well with Alfie O’Neill (A) in his preferred event achieving a great new PB of 1.30m for 4th place. Ben Franklin-Green (B) having only competed in a high jump competition as part of the Club Pentathlon earlier in the year, finished in 3rd with his clearance of 1.20m

The 200m did not prove any easier for the boys but they both ran strong bends with smooth transitions into the home-straight and maintained their form under a great deal of pressure. Having made the decision to miss his football to be able to compete in these finals, George Hawkins (A) ran strongly considering he had already run a 1500m. His time of 29.84 secured a 5th place finish. Ruben Munday (B) who joined the team for the latter events in the day, finished in 6thplace with his run of 30.95.

The discus saw relative novice throwers in this event as it is a difficult one for the Junior group to practice due to safety considerations. Noah Franklin (A) has competed in this event a couple of times and Kyeran Funnell (B) competed as a non-scorer in the previous match and today they both achieved 4th place. Noah continued his consistent performance in this event despite hurting his ankle in his hurdle race with his throw of 22.31m and Kyeran achieved his 2nd PB of the day with his throw of 15.37m. 

The boys relay of Tobi, George H, Ruben and Reece, yet another combination, produced some solid safe baton changes to finish with a seasons best time of 57.97.

The Athletes of the Match was awarded to Lucy Bevan and Isaac North.

A special mention to all of the athletes who achieved Amateur Athletic Association graded standards (1-4 with grade 1 being the highest) for their performances today: –

  • Talia Williams Shot Grade 3
  • Lucy Bevan Shot Grade 4
  • Olivia Wilson 70m Hurdles Grade 3
  • Brooke Evans 70m Hurdles Grade 4
  • Lucy Bevan High jump Grade 3
  • Lucy Bevan 100m Grade 4
  • Talia Williams Javelin Grade 2
  • Kate Hopper Discus Grade 4
  • Ben Franklin-Green Shot Grade 3
  • Alfie O’ Neill High Jump grade 4

As this is my last EYAL report for 2019, I would once again like to thank all of the officials and parents helping them on match days who have made these competitions possible for the athletes. Thanks to all of the coaches (Rob, Lauren, Mark, Ed, Zoe, Amber, Dan H, Deb, Mike, Jonathan, Shaun, Seb, Charlie, John, Ben and Trevor) and parent helpers ( George, Jude and Jo) who have developed the athletes over the year, both in the junior and the event groups, Zoe for her co-managing this season as well as competing for the U17s, Amber for covering the St. Albans match and my Team Captains, Phoebe Miller and Theo Potton, who despite the disappointment of injury ruling him out of this competition, came to support the team with his Mum. I appreciate those athletes and families who changed plans to compete in any of the matches but especially today.

It is as a very proud coach and team manager that I write this report and try and summarise the fantastic season that the U13’s have had including a huge medal haul at individual County championships, a win in the U13 Inter-Club Challenge, selections for County teams and reaching a top 6 EYAL final by finishing the league competition as runners-up.

However, perhaps the most unquestionable feeling for me at the end of this season is the enjoyment of being part of such a great team. I only have to observe their team dynamics, hear their laughter, share their tears, applaud and recognise their successes and achievements, stand in awe of their determination, be grateful for their adaptability and above all revel in their supportive behavior of each other, see them grow and develop as individuals and athletes.

It is with a touch of sadness that we are losing our older athletes to the U15’s and events groups, however for the remaining U13’s and U11’s it’s an exciting time and they have some big shoes to fill but I’m confident that no matter what our achievements may be as individuals or as part of a team, there will be a continued level of enthusiasm and dedication from the athletes.

(I used these words last year and really cannot find any reason to change them, so I’ve recycled them as the sentiment remains!)

I hope to see as many of you as possible at Club Presentation Evening on the 5th October at JFK School so we can celebrate our success this year.

Thanks Petra

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