Monday, June 23, 2014

The best day of the year

I've said it before and I'll say it again: South West Schools Championships is the best day's competition that I get involved in. The fact that Saturday was also the national under-23 championship and European trial was on the same day in Bedford led some senior athletes to suggest that they were looking for superior competition. Yet it would have been hard to find a meeting that offered better opportunities than the Yeovil match.

Twenty-four Yate athletes were involved. Twenty-two of them for Avon and two for Gloucestershire. And their results were outstanding. Five gold medals, so let's celebrate them straight away.

Luke Lorenzi in the senior boys 100m.
Rob Phillips in the senior boys 400m hurdles.
Mike Green in the inter boys 400m hurdles.
Jacob Spence in the inter boys 100m hurdles.
Tyler Molton in the junior boys hammer.

Nine personal bests: Rob, Jacob, Tom Pallot, Mark Pratt, Tyler, Jo Smerdon, Annie Lewis, Sophie Nash, and Hannah Hobbs.

The Avon team overall gained seven National Standards and twenty English Schools Standards. A terrific performance, but one that gave the selectors for the English Schools team a bit of a headache.

I don't know about the rest of the spectators but I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Officiating at a meeting like that is very different from a run-of-the-mill league meeting. Officials are out in force with every event fully covered by people who know what they are doing.

For once, the start team were slightly under-powered. Initially we were going to be four. This would have meant that we could have breaks, out of the sun. But Chris Lidstone, the chief, was called up for England and Ben Penberthy from Cornwall was taken ill, so that left Stuart Woodman and I to cover the meeting. Fortunately, John Lee stepped in and the three of us managed pretty well.

But goodness me, wasn't it hot! Some athletes revel in the heat. Others suffer quite a lot and performances show the difference. But by and large, competing with the sun on ones back is always something to look forward to.

By the time the Avon coach made it back to Parkway, Pisces and their fish and chips had never seemed so enticing.

At the moment we don't know how the YDL youngsters got on in Cwmbran. If the weather was as kind to them as it was to us on Saturday, that too will have been a good afternoon's competition.

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