In life before Covid -19 Blackburn Harriers finished the last competitive track & field season as title winners in the Northern League 2019 and kicked off by defending the title in 2021, undefeated in all matches in the this years West Premer Division. In a season which has been horribly truncated, seen cancelled matches, athletes coming into the season without the right winter training and conditioning, it is a tribute to the athletes at the Club that they consistently turned out at every match, put in good performances, winning each match and finishing undefeated champions at the end. The final match saw the Harriers finish in first place with 416 match points, West Chesire in 2nd (335), Sale in 3rd (282), Preston in 4th (216) and Wigan in 5th (204), Team Isle of Man not having been able to compete this season as a result of restrictions. A big thank you also to the officials and volunteers at the Club for giving their time and the Coaches who worked well with the team manager in constructing the teams.
Starting off as usual with the 400m Hurdles Aysha Karolia took 3rd spot (75.7) with Roxanne Oliver 2nd in the B (79.5) to get the points total up and running, followed by A & B wins in the Men’s 400m Hurdles – Ben Whittaker taking the A (65.2) just a tenth outside his best and John iLunga getting the points, despite his shoe lace coming undone after 200m, in the B in 75.7.
In the 800m, Ellen Sagar-Hesketh took the race on on the back straight and came home a comfortable winner in 2.22.0 – a new PB by one one hundreth, Maddie Elliott making it A&B wins as she took the B race in 2.24.4 – a seasons best. Likewise in the Men’s 800m Joe Gebbie and Matt Ramsden took another double win – Joe taking the A Race in 1.59.4 and Matt taking the B in 2.05.1.
Maddie Elliott (11) – Ellen Sagar-Hesketh (1)
On to the Sprints at this stage which saw Abbey Riley and Amy Wiggans lining up for the Club – Abbey clocking 13.0 in 4th in the A race and Amy just returning from injury also 4th in the B (14.2). In the Men’s 100m Fawwaz Mustapha ran 11.3 (3rd) in the A as Kyle Mashiter won the B in a time of 11.6. George and Ben Whittaker, along with Beatrice Toman making her debut for the Club ran the non-scoring 100m with times of 12.0, 12.1 and 13.6 respectively.
Roxanne Oliver and Polly Pearse paired up in the 100m Hurdles with just one other athlete taking both A & B wins and both of them clocking the same time of 16.7 – seasons best times for both of them. Only two athletes in the Men’s 110m Hurdles which saw John iLunga take it nice and easy to take 2nd spot and gain the points for the team.
Annabel Ralph chopped half a minute off the time she ran in the last match, clocking 10.42.3 for a seasons best in 4th spot in the 3000m whilst Sara Barnowska took maximum points as she won the B race in 11.59.3. Eleesha Charnley and new member Beatrice Toman teamed up in the women’s 400m, resulting in Eleesha placing 4th in the A race (64.2) and Beatrice winning the B in a time of 61.4 and a new PB by two tenths from the time she last ran a race over 400m in 2017 as an U17. The Men’s 400m saw the Harriers take another double win with Dominic Walton (49.6) winning the A race in a really good contest with Sale’s Cameron Duff as Jamie Teare won the B with a time of 53.4.
Ben Fish and Marc Hartley were the Harriers team in the 3000m Steeplechase unfortunately only featuring four athletes, which ended with a double win again for the Harriers – Ben winning the A in 10.26.1 and Marc the B in 10.30.7.
Callum Davidson was having his first outing in this years Northern League in the 1500m alongside U20 Ben Makin and it turned out to be very productive for both Callum and the team – Ben & Callum went through 800m in around 2.02 at which point, Callum took it on, setting himself a new PB by over two seconds (3.52.00) with Sale’s Nigel Martin placing 2nd in 4.00.4. Ben then took the B race in 4.13.5. The Women’s 1500m races saw Maddie Eliott who had already run the 800m clock 5.03.1 in 3rd place in the A as Katie Buckingham took 2nd spot in the B with 5.21.5.
Back to Sprints with Abbey Riley and Roxanne Oliver pairing up in the 200m – Abbey setting a new PB of 27.1, down from 27.4 in 4th spot in the A and Roxanne clocking 27.3 in the B race (2nd). Yet another double win in the Men’s 200m – Fawwaz Mustapha taking the A race in 23.0 – a new PB by two tenths – and Kyle Mashiter won the B in a time of 23.9 which looked faster than the time given suggested.
In the final endurance race of the day – the 5000m – Tim Baldwin was making his debut for the Club and also on the Track as he paired up with Tim Raynes. Tim Raynes and Sales Nigel Martin went to the front almost immediately going through the first 1k in a rapid 2.50 and gradually Martin went in front to take the A race in 14.27.3 with Tim Raynes in 2nd (14.45.1) and Tim Baldwin also second with an excellent debut, coming back after a year off with injuries to run 16.24.0.
Four sets of relays produced two wins, a 3rd and a 4th place for the Club. Our wins came in Men’s 4 x 100m with a time of 45.4 from the team comprised of George Whittaker, Kyle Mashiter, Benjamin Whittaker, Fawwaz Mustapha. Our second win came in the Men’s 4 x 400m with a time of 3.36.00 featuring Hayden Mercer, Joe Gebbie, Dominic Walton, Jamie Teare. The Women’s 4 x 400m team of Eleesha Charnley, Katie Buckingham, Ellen Sagar-Hesketh, Maddie Elliott placed 3rd in a time of 4.25.6 whilst the 4 x 100m team took 4th spot in 53.3 – the team beling led off by Roxanne Oliver, Aysha Karolia, Beatrice Toman, Abbey Riley.
Unusually, we only had one Hammer Thrower out on this day for both Men and Women resulting in Anthony Kent winning the A with a throw of 44.94m and Grace Bontoft taking 2nd spot in the A Women’s Hammer with a distance of 36.71m – the winner throwing two personal bests as she took it with 38.77m. Anthony was back out in the Discus placing 3rd in the A with 38.65m as sprinter Kyle Mashiter volunteered to throw in the B placing 4th with 15.28m. In the Shot Putt Anthony threw 10.99 for 4th place with John iLunga also volunteering to do the B finishing 3rd in the B with 8.39m. George Whittaker and John Cookson teamed up in the Javelin – George throwing 35.84 in 5th spot and John coming in 4th in the B with a distance of 26.41m.
Just 16 cms between Sarah Henton and Anna Peers as they took a double win in the Women’s Discus – Sarah winning the A with 37.62m and Anna winning the B with 37.46m. The Shot Putt had Anna teaming up with Grace Bontoft resulting in Anna finishing 2nd in the A with 10.74m and Grace 3rd in the B with 7.76m. In the Javelin it was Anna and Sarah again as the pairing which finished with Anna in 2nd position in the A (35.45m) and Sarah in 3rd in the B (10.06m).
The Men’s High Jump finished with Rory Teare clearing 1.65m in 3rd place in the A and John iLunga coming 3rd with 1.45m in the B alongside Polly Pearse placing 2nd in the Women’s High Jump A (1.50) and Poppy Mae-Preece winning the B with the same height of 1.50m – equaling her personal best. Poppy started off the day with the Pole Vault securing a new PB height of 2.32m with George Whittaker also recording a new PB in the Men’s Pole Vault of 3.00m as he took 2nd spot in the A along with team mate Hayden Mercer who cleared 2.90m to take 2nd place in the B.
The Long Jump witnessed the return of Kail Sturgess jumping 5.53m in the A (4th) with U17 Samuel Mutombo making his debut for the Harriers in the senior league leaping out to 5.18 for 3rd place in the B. Ellen Sagar-Hesketh returned to the Long Jump for the first time in some while and did well to jump 4.75m in 3rd place in the A with Abbey Riley also in 3rd in the B (4.24m). 2nd and 3rd spots in the Men’s Triple Jump with Fawwaz Mustapha coming 3rd in the A with a leap of 12.62m and Kail Sturgess 2nd in the B with 11.81m. Polly Pearse jumped 9.71m in 2nd for the Women in the A as Eleesha Charnley came 3rd in the B with 8.22m.