Rugby & Northampton finished joint-first on day one of the Heart of England Athletics League as they hosted the first round of the competition at their Rugby track.
The club, who have left their Sixfields base to move to a newly-built track at Moulton College in 2015, traditionally use the competition to give experience to upcoming athletes alongside those who are used to competing at national events, and entered teams in all six categories at their home event. The competition operates by each category from under 13 to under 17 having their own league, with final female and male positions being combined to find an overall winner.
On what was another successful weekend for R&N, the club took gold in the female competition and bronze in the male event, leading to a joint-first finish overall with Amber Valley.
Catagory wins came for the under 13 and under 17 females, thanks partially to a dominant victory for Abigail Pearce in the under 13 1500m A race, clocking an impressive 5 minutes 30 seconds on her way to victory. There were also strong showings from Charis Hayes (U15G, 5.25.7), who took silver in the 1500m A race and Emma Bond, who finished second at the same distance (U17W 5.03.9) in what was her track debut for the club. Zoe Morling in the U13G 800m B was also a runner-up, clocking a time of 2.44.9. Success continued in other B races, with wins for Rosie Edmonds (U13G 800m), Ella Bromley (U17G 1500m) and Hollie Moore (U15G 1500m).
The sprint and hurdle events saw fierce competition for podium places. The A races produced second-place finishes for Mary Beetham-Green (U13G 100m, 14.8) and Tia Clues (U17W 100m, 13.6). Katie Print continued her excellent season with third place in the U15G 100m with a solid time of 13.8. In the B races there were victories for Fenella Downes (U13G 100m) and the versatile Laura Simpson (U17W 80m Hurdles). Clues got further reward for her efforts with a fine second place in the U17W 200m B race.
The field events provided further evidence of how strong the club has become with victory for Evie Harris-Jenkins in the U17W Javelin A, backed up by second-place finishes in other A string events from Kiona McLennon (U17W Shot Put, 12.09) and Abigail Pearce (U13G Javelin, 21.61), followed by third places for Adele Blenkinsop, (U13G Shot Put), Anna Robinson (U15G Long Jump) and Tia Clues (U17W Long Jump).
On what was a challenging day for the R&N male team, the under 17s rallied to take runners-up spot, aided by a double victory in the Shot Put. Paddy Price took victory in the A event with a distance of 11.15, while Jonjo Fanning was the winner of the B string with a promising 10.08. There was also a brace of second places in the Javelin with Lewis Ogden improving his PB to 44m84 in the A event, and Fanning recording 38.80 in the B. On the track, Ben Musgrove, was second in the 1500m with 4.22 and a gutsy run from Adam Searle, racing up a category, saw him finish second in the B race with 4.40.1.
The U15 boys performed solidly to take third with the highlight being double victories in the 1500m and 800m – Joe Musgrove winning the 1500m A race in 4.40.3 with team-mate Rhys James taking the B race in 4.47.8. The shorter two-lap event saw Thomas Haynes win the A race in 2.21.8 and Ethan Kent-Whittaker the B in a promising 2.29.2. The 80m hurdles also contributed plenty of points to the R&N total with Jay O’Leary second in the A race in 12.1 and Harry Mason winning the B race. There was also some excellent Javelin throwing from Ryan Hodges on his club debut as he finished third in the A string with a distance of 33.79 and Thomas Lea finished second in the B string with a personal best throw of 33.25.
An inexperienced U13 team finished a credible third. Ben Gidley threw 34.61 to win the Javelin and a PB throw of 25.44 from Alfie Bowers secured victory in the B string. Bowers also took second in the Shot with 6m10 whilst Eddie Baker took a fine second place in the 100m with 14.7.
Running alongside the main match was a small competition for U11s with eight athletes in each team. The R&N girls team performed superbly, winning the overall title with a clean sweep of all four A events and also winning a B event.
A magnificent effort from Megan Burge saw her win the 75m in an excellent 11.9, as well as the Javelin Howler competition with a throw of 24.42. This feet was mirrored by Zoe Gardner who took the Long Jump with a massive leap of 3.93 – over half a metre further than her nearest rival. Gardner then won the 600m B race in a competitive 2.10.6 with the A race won by team-mate Claudia Searle with a stellar run of 2.06.02.
The boys team did themselves proud as they finished in second place overall. Highlights from their team included third place finishes in A events for Connor Moon, throwing 30.88 in the Howler, Lewis Gurney, who ran 2.05.0 in the 600m and Sachin Thethy, stopping the clock on 11.9 in the 75m. At the end of the meeting the mixed relay team of Megan Burge, Claudia Searle, Lewis Gurney and Sachin Thethy ran to glory with some excellent baton changing to complete the 4x100m in 62.7.
R&N’s road runners kicked off the 2014 East Midlands Grand Prix Series with a string of good performances at the Silverstone 10k.
Hywel Davies posted the club’s best individual finish of the night as he recorded a time of 34.02 in the senior mens to cross the line in ninth, a little over two minutes behind the winner. Daniel Mould (84th, 38.42), John Saw (272nd, 43.54) and Paul Baxter (829th, 56.02) also contributed to the team finish.
The club’s form continued in the veteran men’s race where R&N finished 12th thanks to the efforts of Peter Thomas (124th, 40.19), Alan Mould (165th, 41.17), Alex McMurtrie (250th, 43.31) and Richard Franklin (390th, 46.22). As with the senior men only the top four finishers contributed to the club’s overall team standing. Neil Martin (414th, 46.48) and Brian Malin (591st, 50.41) also appeared for the club in the veteran race.
Maree Jesson was R&N’s only female runner to take part and her time of 39.13 was enough to take 98th in the race and third in the F40 category.