After a difficult season for our Senior squad in 2012 in which we fell victim to that old curse of injuries, holidays, university, other competitions/championships etc, we were relegated from Division One down to Division 2WC. At the end of the last fixture of the season we vowed to bounce straight back, and we did it in real style, winning every fixture in Division 2WC and qualifying for the Promotion Match at Doncaster on Saturday 7th September.

At the Promotion Match, again through injuries, we were missing some key athletes, but Team Manager Richard Taylor, who told us ‘it would be tight on the day’ juggled the Team admirably. With the withdrawal of Bolton from the Match we were up against Gateshead, Derby, West Cheshire and Leigh and it did indeed prove to be a tight fixture with single figure points separating Clubs at the top of the Team Standings throughout the day. Indeed, as we approached the end of the Match, with just the Women’s Javelin event to be concluded, Blackburn Harriers led the fixture by just one point – but that was enough to ensure that the Club won the Promotion Match by just 4 points with Derby AC in second place and both Clubs being promoted.

Full Results HERE

The day ended with firstly the Derby Team Manager and then our own Richard Taylor being thrown into the Water Jump in celebration – a fitting end to a great day and performance.


After the Match had finished, Men’s Team Captain Ben Fish was delighted with the Clubs performance and told us that “it was a proud day to be a Blackburn Harrier, we’ve been at the top all season and deserved to win promotion, which we made sure of yesterday. Brilliant effort by all concerned. We’ve got a cracking team and I’m sure we can be up there in Division 1 next season “.


Steeple Chaser Chris Barnes in his first full season for the Harriers in T & F was also delighted to be part of a winning team and said at the end of the day that it was “A fantastic result at Doncaster in the play-offs with the usual outstanding individual performances, as well as one or two stepping up to the occasion on the day, but the most impressive thing this season has to be the size and quality of the squad used throughout the year. The number of people turning out for the Harriers in the Northern League this season is testament to the hard work put in by Richard and all the team “.


In difficult and windy conditions the overall performance of the Team was really solid, as we registered 12 wins – 21 seconds – and 23 third places. It’s not possible to single out every contribution but amongst the performances were some notable ones all setting new PB’s starting with Abby Edmundson’s 3rd placed Long Jump (5.43m) making her the 5th in the rankings of all women Long Jumpers in the Club’s history.

Paul Coffey lowered his 200m PB down to 23.6sec and was clearly delighted as was Jack Lonsdale in the 400m with 53.1 More PB’s were set by Chris Barnes who won the ‘A’ 3000m Steeple Chase in 10.35.9 and for Chris Davies who made it a double winning the ‘B’ Race and knocking 23 seconds off his previous best with 10.55.6. Joe Pearse cut half a second off his 110m Hurdle time (17.6) in winning the ‘B’ Race. Jamie Vickery doubled in the 100m with 11.3 and a seasons best 22.9 secs in the 200m . Brother Jack Vickery  was part of the Men’s Throws group with Tony Balko, Shanteep Sivarajah, Corie Shorrock and Joe Pearse who found themselves up a very strong Derby AC Throws Team.


The  Women’s 3000m and Men’s 5000m gave the Harriers really good points with Ben Fish winning the ‘A’ 5000m in 14.41.7 and Gary Priestley winning the ‘B’ Race in 15.26.3. Sarah Ridehalgh took 2nd in the ‘B’ Race (11.04.7) with Candice Heyes also taking 2nd in the 3000m ‘A’ Race with 10.35.3.


Women’s Team Captain Sarah Henton had a good day winning the Discus (45.47m) – the Hammer ‘B’ (34.40m) – 2nd in the Javelin ‘A’ (29.58m) and 3rd in the Shot Putt ‘A’ (10.94m). Backing her up in the Throws was young Rebecca Orrell with 3rd in the Hammer ‘A’ (34.77) and 2nd in the Discus ‘B’ (26.27).  In the Women’s Hurdles there were wins for Roxanne Oliver in the 400m Hurdles and Sophie Taylor in the 100m Hurdles. Abby Edmundson added to her Long Jump PB with a 2nd ‘A’ Triple Jump (10.89m) and U17 Polly Pearse had a really good day with three 2nd places – 9.83m in the Triple Jump; 1.50m in the High Jump and 2.10m in the Pole Vault. Katie Buckingham took 2nd place in the 400m Hurdles and the 1500m Women’s duo of Rachel Wood and Beckie Taylor scored good points in the 1500m.  Zac Howe 2nd in the ‘A’ 800m (1.58.7) and 3rd in the ‘B’ Triple Jump 10.70m scored well as did Robert Warner who doubled in the ‘B’ 800m (3rd) and ‘B’ 1500m (2nd). Sister Phoebe Howe gained invaluable points, not least of which was her 3rd place in the 100m, which she had never done before. Rachel Leech was consistent in the 200m and 400m double running 28.9 and 63.8sec.


Ben Aspinall who has competed in 16 Triple Jump competitions this season – winning 9, placing 2nd five times and once 3rd and 4th, won again to take maximum points with 12.57. Ben has now put on over a metre and a half on his distance from last year. In the Long Jump he finished 3rd with 5.63m just 3 cm short of setting another PB. Also setting a new PB was Connor Makin when he cleared 1.70m in the ‘B’ High Jump and added a 59.1 400m Hurdle to win the ‘A’ Race and a 54.9 2nd in the ‘B’ flat 400m. Oliver Aspden took a good 2nd place in the 110m Hurdles (16.4sec) and another 2nd in the ‘B’ Long Jump (5.55m). No doubt about team spirit when Christina Carr rows in with throws in the Javelin and Shot Putt, who has been unable to run for the last 2 years following a serious injury.


But in some ways the stars of the show were the Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Team. At the first fixture of the Northern League season they came last. They went to the 2nd fixture and won; the 3rd fixture and won and in the 4th came 2nd. In the Promotion Match they won again, making it three wins and one second out of five races – and who can forget the cheering from the Harriers squad as Katie Buckingham, Rachel Leech, Polly Pearse and Phoebe Howe ran like demons to support one anothers runs. And who can forget the smile on their faces. What a great way to end the season.

Women's 4 x 400m Relay Squad Rachel Leech; Phoebe Howe; Katie Buckingham; Polly Pearse

Women’s 4 x 400m Relay Squad Rachel Leech; Phoebe Howe; Katie Buckingham; Polly Pearse

……..and just so they don’t feel left out…………

Men's 4 x 400m Relay Squad - Zac Howe; Joe Pearse; Connor Makin; Jack Lonsdale

Men’s 4 x 400m Relay Squad – Zac Howe; Joe Pearse; Connor Makin; Jack Lonsdale