It was a great start to the weekend of athletics for Blackburn Harriers, starting off with the final Match off this years West Premier Division of the Northern League. Going into the Match the Club were assured of taking their third successive title, having won all three previous matches by the smallest of margins – winning the first Match at West Cheshire by just 4 points, the second Match at Trafford being even closer, winning by just half a point and the third Match at Wigan by 38 points. Match 4 held at Witton Park Arena was just as close with the Harriers taking first place by just 4.5 points which meant a clean sweep and an undefeated defence of the title they had won in 2021. Massive congratulations to all the athletes who made this outcome possible who went above and beyond at times to secure the victory. Thanks also to our Club Officials who gave of their time throughout the season and not just at Northern League Matches but in both Leagues of the UKYDL, the Mid Lancs League and the various Championships that they also volunteered to support. On Saturday at Witton Park thanks to Lee Thompson who ran the EDM all day for all of the Long Throws, Chris Wood (Chief Starter), Lindsay Davies (Track Referee), Alison Hulme (Track Judge), John Chaplin (Timekeeper), Vicky McKinlay, Krista Camara, Claudine Smith, George Woodburn, Chris Thompson and Kevin Allcock for officiating on Men’s Hammer and Men and Women’s Shot Putt. Thanks also to Anne Davies and Sabrina Dewhurst for doing the results.
On the day the Harriers produced 22 wins,19 second places and 12 new personal bests plus three athletes equaling their previous best performances. Not every athlete and every performance is covered in this report, however, irrespective of where athletes finished in their events, every single one of them contributed to the overall team performance on the day and throughout the season. We now move on to the Grand Final which will be held on Saturday August 27th at Doncaster where we will compete against the top two Clubs in the North East and the top two Clubs in the East.
Not everyone who competed on the day is on the team photo taken at the end of the day nor are all of the athletes who have competed throughout the season, however, a huge thankyou to each and everyone of them.
All photos from the day will be on the Blackburn Harriers Facebook Page.
Our wins came from Matt Ramsden in the A 800 clocking 1.59.1 backed up by Joe Gebbie in the B also winning with 2.01.8. Ben Fish and Josh Birmingham produced a win double in the 5000m – Ben taking the A in 15.05.0 and Josh setting a new PB of 15.25.3 in winning the B race. Ben Makin and Marc Hartley also took a win double in the 3000m Steeplechase – Ben running 10.16.2 in winning the A and Marc clocking 10.37.6 in the B. Ben Boocock in his first year over 400m Hurdles continued with another win running 63.1 whilst special mention to Nicholas Smith who hasn’t competed for two years due to health problems but still turned up to run the B and jump in the B High Jump, taking 2nd spot in 72.6 in the 400m Hurdles and to Maddie Elliott who ran the Women’s 400m Hurdles finishing 5th (75.6) even though she was carrying a niggle.
Anthony Kent and Tony Balko continue to deliver for the Harriers and did so once again winning the Hammer – Anthony taking the A with 47.29m and Tony the B with 30.34m; Similarly in the Women’s Hammer where Emma Harrison and Grace Bontoft made it four wins out of four for the Club, Emma winning the A Hammer (42.27m) and Grace the B (37.82m). Special mention to Anthony and Tony who in the absence of some of our other Throwers took on all for events, Hammer, Shot Putt, Discus and Javelin. Overall our Senior Throws Squad featuring Anthony Kent, Tony Balko, Matt Heywood, George Whittaker, Sarah Henton, Charlie Williams, Emma Harrison, Grace Bontoft with the latest addition Oliver Palk have made a hell of a contribution to our results, not only this year but also in previous seasons.
Kara Dacosta continued her winning ways in the 200m as she won the A in 26.5 and their was another win double in the Women’s 800m – Abigail Stratton winning the A in 2.15.6 and Keira Haxton the B in 2.33.7. Eleesha Charnley and Amy Davies followed that with a win double in the 1500m – Eleesha clocking 5.00.2 in the A and Amy 5.06.2 in the B. The third consecutive win double in the 3000m came from Isabel Holt winning the A in 10.23.7 and from Ellen Sagar-Hesketh in her first season over the 3000m setting a new PB by just over 24 seconds, winning in 11.02.3.
Lucy Rishton set herself a new PB and the third of the day in winning the non-scoring 100m in 13.5 an improvement of a tenth, whilst Harrison Allcock equaled his 100m best time of 11.8 in his non-scoring 100m, Charlie Unsworth equaling his 100m best in 2nd spot in the B 100 (11.3) and Ben Boocock running 24.1 in 3rd in the B 200 also equaling his previous best time. Kara Dacosta and Poppy Mae Preece gave the Harriers another win double in the High Jump – Kara winning the A with a clearance of 1.60m and Poppy the B with 1.45.
Other new personal bests came from Lewis Slack in both the 100 and 200m A races – Lewis clocking 11.1 in 2nd place in the A, bettering his previous best by two tenths and went even better in the 200m placing 2nd again with 22.9, the first time under 23 seconds and an improvement of 4 tenths. Joe Gebbie knocked 4 tenths off his 400m best with a new time of 52.7 in 4th place in the A 400m whilst team mate Codie Dewhurst knocked a whole second off his previous best by coming home 2nd in the B 400 with a new personal best time of 55.4. Codie then went and improved his best in the High Jump by 10cms establishing a new personal best height of 1.60m in 4th place in the A. Samuel Mutombo claimed himself a new distance in the Triple Jump by just 6 cms, leaping out to 12.56m in 3rd spot in the A whilst his team mate in the B – Harrison Allcock – also set him self a new best distance of 11.02m in 3rd place in the B, an improvement of 18cms. Kady Thompson and Isabelle Hartley set themselves new best distances in the Javelin – Kady improving her best by nearly half a metre with 24.19 in 2nd place in the A, Isabelle improving by well over a metre in the B in 5th place (21.9m).
The Relays always provide a colourful and ‘noisy’ end to the day and this was no exception as athletes urged and shouted support to their own athletes as the different Legs of the Relays unfolded. The Harriers took maximum points in the Men’s Relays winning the 4 x 100 with Lewis Slack on Leg 1, Samuel Mutombo on Leg 2, Harrison Allcock on Leg 3 and Charlie Unsworth on the final handover, bringing the team home in first place in a time of 45.7. The 4 x 400m Relay team had Joe Gebbie on Leg 1, Codie Dewhurst on Leg 2, Ben Stratton on Leg 3 and Ben Makin on Leg 4 who brought the baton home in the most dramatic fashion. Setting off on the Final Leg with a lot to do, Ben found himself some 20m off the front with around 150m to go and produced a devstating run in the home straight to close in on the Team I.O.M last leg athlete and take the win literally in the last strides in a time of 3.36.2 with Team I.O.M in 2nd 3.36.5.
The Women’s Relays produced two second places which meant that the Harriers came out on top of the points table for Relays overall with 32 from West Cheshire in 2nd with 31. After two last minute withdrawals, changes had to be made – Isabelle Hartley and Beatrice Toman both volunteering to fill in which meant that the 4 x 100m team consisted of Isabelle Hartley on Leg 1, Beatrice Toman on Leg 2, Kara Dacosta on Leg 3 and Amy Wiggans on Leg ran well to clock 53.5 in 2nd place behind the winners, West Cheshire (52.0). The 4 x 400m team saw Beatrice Toman on leg 1, Abigail Stratton on Leg 2, Eleesha Charnley Leg3 and Ellen Sagar-Hesketh on the final leg – the team finishing in 2nd spot and again behind West Cheshire with a time of 4.08.9.