The Midlands Veterans Track and Field Cup Final
Sept 1st Solihull.
Very much the dominant force in the Midlands for over one and a half decades this turned out to be the closest cup final on record. Thanks to the hard work and passion to be the best, by its team managers and athletes, Rugby and Northampton A.C has for several years been the club to beat. The 2018 Cup final was going to test like never before.
Over the build up during the season to this annual cup final the Lionesses did their customary annihilation of the opposition with winning all four of their divisional fixtures, blasting all before them away with very little trouble. The male Lions still proved a little too good for their opposition but only won two from their four Divisional matches. The Lions ran very close in deed to winning all four and were only just edged out into second place in the matches they lost.
The other R & N team in the Cup final was the Saints who although both finished fifth in Division but lost out to Harborough A.C on the cumulative point score to finish sixth in the div.
This put the Lions and Lionesses into the “A” and the Saints into the “B” final.
After only three events the Lions were trailing their closest rivals Worcester by 12pts. The lions only scoring 10pts partly due to only being able to fill 2 of the 3 events whereas Worcester were able to fill all 3 places so it was Lions 10 Worcester 22. The Lionesses were not faring much better with only two events filled scoring 12pts and Worcester filling all three again and picking up 21pts…
The field events has always proved to be one of the clubs strongest areas and here the Lions only dropped two points from their first three events to score 22pts.. Worcester were on the skids some and picked up only 7pt.
The Lionesses vs Worcester were much more evenly matched but the Lionesses just edging it with 21 – 20.
Both the Saints’ teams were always going to have a major fight on their hands as they are in truth usually made up with those that for one reason or another never quite made it into the mighty Lions and Lionesses this year but still have to contend with first team choices of other clubs.
For the Lions on track there were only four victories and that was thanks to two from Gordon Houghton in the M70 100 and 200, Simon Bickers in the M50 400 and a mighty seven second win in the 4 x 400 by Simon Bickers, Craig Christian, Richard Bowers and Dave O’Leary. The Relay was particularly sweet as the criteria for the race is that all teams have to have one runner minimum age of 50yrs. Most of the winning relays fill the teams with 35-40yr olds with just the one M50. The Lions were made up of and ran in the order of 56yrs, 39yrs, 49yrs and 52yrs a superb performance. These wins were bolstered by two runners up spots.
The Lionesses 4 x 400 squad were not to be outshone by their male team mates. Lead out by 71yrs old many times British, European, and world record holder and Champion over several distances Angela Copson followed by Ellena Ruddock, Karen Gomes and Gemma Knight streaked over the finish line and like the men, left all in their wake.
Of the of the nineteen track events the Lionesses had won eight and were second in another seven, but as incredible as it sounds had been outscored by Worcester by eleven points.
As often happens “the best was yet to be”. As usually, the power of the Lions in the field events was strong enough to turn thing around for them. For the men the field yielded eight wins and two second thanks to John Moreland (1) and a second, Ian Gidley (3) and a second, Dave Cowley (2) and Kevin Murch (2).
The Lionesses won eight events with Sally Hine bagging (2) with a second, Janelle Quinn (3) Debbie Murch (2) and a second and Carole Parker winning (1) and a second.
Although both the Lions team did not out score Worcester on the track, on the field they dealt out punishing performances.
The Saints worked hard in the “B” final against other teams’ top players and were rewarded with a win by Chris Cardin and a string of third place from many others for the men’s squad.
For the Ladies the Saints saw four wins, two from Marian Allen and two from Sam Berry and as with the men a sprinkle of seconds and thirds.
By the end of the 2018 Midlands Track and field Cup Final meeting the Rugby and Northampton Lionesses had again been crowned the winners of the “A” final by five points over Worcester. With The men finishing Just four points behind Worcester men, Rugby and Northampton took the Victory by one solitary point.
1st Lionesses 211pts
2nd Worcester 206pts
3rd B & R 145pts
Cannock & Staffs 186pts
“A” Final Combined scores
R & N Lions & Lionesses 417.5pts
Cannock and Staffs 303pts
Women Saints 124 pts = 3rd
Male Saints 129pts = 6th
Overall = 5th
The icing on the cake for the club and its members was to stand, watch and clap the last two laps with the whole stadium as the Lady Veteran Super star of athletics Angela Copson demolished a World record for the 3000m by over forty seconds.