UKWAL Premier Division Match 1 – Swansea – Saturday 10th May 2014

The UK Women’s League match  in Swansea on Saturday was the first competitive outing of the season for several of the senior team, but more than cobwebs were blown away on a day where extremely high winds led to challenging conditions.

In a tantalisingly close battle Edinburgh AC finished 3rd, just one point behind winners Birchfield and tied on points with host club Swansea. It was a great start to the club’s defence of the Premier Division title with some fantastic individual performances and many athletes rallying round to fill gaps.

On the track the middle distance girls were a force to be reckoned with, never outside the top two in any race from 800m to 3000m steeplechase. In the penultimate race of the day, while most athletes and officials were starting to think of getting indoors with a hot drink, Lauren Stoddart produced a fantastic run in the steeplechase to place 2nd in a new personal best of 11.18.89. It took a division recored from the winner, Sara Tracey of Birchfield, to hold her off and the performance was even more remarkable given the weather and the fact she had already run a 400m hurdles earlier in the day! 

Laura Dunn doubled up for 1st in the B 800m and 2nd in the A 1500m, Kathryn Evans raced to 2nd in the A 800m while Madeleine Murray took a commanding lead to win the B 1500m by almost 7 seconds. Amanda Woodrow, in her first race on the track since racing 800m as an under 15 in 2003, finished a fantastic 2nd in the A 3000m.

Gillian Cook

Gillian Cook

On the field eighteen year old Hannah Lawler rose to the occasion to win the A pole vault despite a challenging crosswind, the same wind experienced by the horizontal jumpers where wind speeds hit over four times the legal limit. Sarah Warnock and Gillian Cooke were separated by a single centimetre as they took 2nd A and 1st B in the long jump with 5.99m and 5.98m respectively.

Sarah Warnock

Sarah Warnock

Club captain Susan McKelvie launched her hammer out to 60.20m to place 2nd in the A event backed up by 3rd place in the B event from Hannah Evenden. Hannah, having also competed in the discus, rounded off a busy day by also taking 3rd in the B shot putt with Kirsty Yates just over 15 metres for 3rd in the A event.

The strong winds played havoc in the sprints and hurdles and special mention has to go to Catriona Pennet who ran the B 100m into a headwind of 4.6m/s,  her main event – the A 100m hurdles – into a headwind of 5.4m/s and then both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays for a very full and tiring day’s work!

The final result was a real team effort and thanks must go to all the athletes, coaches and officials who braved the conditions and a long journey south to represent the club.

MATCH RESULT:

Birchfield                                                              196

Swansea                                                               195

Edinburgh AC                                                      195

Blackheath & Bromley                                       186

Thames Valley Harriers                                     181

Windsor, Slough, Etonian & Hounslow           169

Trafford                                                               151

Southampton                                                    115

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