Rugby & Northampton AC made the trip to Stoke for the final Midland League match lying in 4th place in the league but with the home team breathing down their necks in the battle to avoid relegation. As expected the home team turned out their strongest team of the season and claimed a string of victories in the individual events such that after a third of the events Stoke had a commanding lead with R&N back in 5th place. As the match progressed R&N had a series of good results whilst Stoke faded and after a series of close finishes the result of the match and the relegation battle went down to the relays at the end of the meeting. In the sprint relays R&N claimed 2nd place in men’s & women’s whilst Stoke dropped the baton in the men’s event. Then followed a couple of gutsy performances in a pair of exciting 4×400 relays and the final result had Stoke in 2nd place with R&N close behind in 3rd. This meant that R&N hung on to 4th place overall and condemned the home team to relegation.
In a tightly contested match individual victories were hard to come by, but for the Ladies Lily-Mae Pursey & Ella Watford each had an excellent day, Lily won the Hammer & Shot and finished 2nd in the Discus, whilst Ella won the Long Jump & High Jump and finished 2nd in the Triple Jump with a new Personal Best of 10.48m. The only men’s victory was Tom Saunders who took the Triple Jump with a new PB of 11.81m. There were other 2nd places for Will Price (400m), John Moreland (Discus), Fenton Bishop-Timmings (Javelin) with a PB of 50.64m and Gigi Woodward (Pole Vault) along with a string of 3rd places for Madison Wells (100m & 100H), Emily Cooper (400), John Moreland (Shot), Bradley Whtehead (LJ & 100m), Sam Whittaker (200m), Ollie Munns (S’Chase), Abedon Beyene (3000m) & Tom Saunders (110H). Perhaps the most notable of these was Abedon who was just squeezed out in a blanket finish to the 3000m, whilst Ollie was a welcome addition to the team in the steeplechase.
The ladies also scored well in the B string events with Eloise Nowill completing a clean sweep of victories in the High Jump during the season and Debbie Murch winning the Hammer, Discus & Shot. Tia Lynch also had a busy day, taking 2nd in the 200m, 3rd in 100m and running strong legs in each of the relays. In the men’s B string there were a string of victories for Lee Woodward (PV), Charlie Barker (110H), Tom Saunders (400H) & Kevin Murch (Javelin & Discus). Ian Gidley was 2nd in the High Jump whilst there were also 3rd places for Winston Rose, Tim Cort, Joe Vaughan & Kevin Murch.
The team was completed by Tilly Lea, Myles Martin and James Fletcher, each of whom put in good performances with James running a brave race in the 1500 to claim a PB.
So yet again the League proved to be enjoyable and highly competitive and a fine example for Midlands Athletics, with lots of R&N athletes registering pb’s during the season. Cannock & Stafford won the league thanks to their quality and consistent performances through the season with the gutsy Abingdon team 2nd. R&N finished 4th , just behind the inconsistent BRAT team whilst Halesowen were relegated along with Stoke. Thanks to all officials, coaches and parents for their support throughout the season.