On a beautiful sunny day, Newbury AC’s senior team made the short trip to their (almost) home fixture at Andover. On paper the team looked strong, but even in the most optimistic minds nobody was quite expecting what was to come. The home team dominated the day, finishing with their highest ever division 2 score of 242 points – a total which has only been beaten twice in the last four seasons, both times by the eventual league champions. Newbury finished the day streets ahead of the competition – early season league leaders Yeovil Olympiads (177 points), and London clubs Hillingdon AC (173) and Herne Hill Harriers (105).
The day’s biggest successes came in the throws, but this time the ladies team marginally outshone the men’s team. Helen Broadbridge and Charlotte Payne were an unbeatable force, taking the double victory in all three heavy throws. For both, the highlight of the day was the hammer, where Helen added another half a metre to her own club record, throwing 53.67m, while Charlotte wasn’t far behind with 52.27m – a remarkable achievement given she was throwing two weights above her own category, and becoming the seventh furthest U17 athlete of all time. To complete the rout, Rosie Stanton (A) and Abigail Livingstone (B) added a second and first place respectively in the javelin to secure 31 out of a possible 32 points.
On the men’s side, Jamie Kuehnel and Oliver Hewitt were consistently scoring big points, taking four wins and three second places over the day between them. Once again, the hammer proved a double victory, while Oliver’s huge PB of 39.01m in the discus not only won the A string, but took him within a metre of his coach’s club record.
The track events were punctuated by a faulty starting gun, meaning that the starter had to revert to the old fashioned use of a whistle to get the races going. This didn’t seem to faze Newbury’s athletes though, and another double win was seen in the women’s 5000m, courtesy of a big PB from Jess Franklin in 18:45, and a successful track debut for Philippa Cass to follow up with the B string win. The steeplechase seems to be one of the club’s most popular events this season, and Steve Elsmere and Graham Stent edged an impressive double victory in a tough fought chase over 3000m, both securing PBs. In the ladies event, Rebecca Downie and Emily Marshall showed great technique over the barriers to secure a second A and first B place respectively.
Over in the jumps, team O’Connor were the only athletes in the women’s pole vault, daughter Trinity beating mother Jenny in an inter-club battle for family glory, gaining big points for Newbury in the process. Equal success came in the men’s vault, with Graham Stent improving his V40 club record to 2.65m in winning the A string and Bruce Bamber following up with a B string victory. Unusually for this niche event, Newbury had non-scorers in both the men’s and women’s pole vault, showing there is great strength and depth in the club’s jumping team at the moment.
Back on track, in the shorter races Reuben Langdon, Vladimir Tsagov and George Biggs all made their club track debuts, scoring two second places and a third between them. Youngsters Amber White and Bo Stewart both won races in PB times, Amber taking the 200m B win in 28.7s, with Bo taking the 100m B win in 14.2s. At the other end of the spectrum, Wayne Lillis proved that age is just a number, with a new V50 club record of 2:13.3 in the 800m, while Matt Davies continued his great 2017 form, equalling his PB of 17.1s for second place in the 110m hurdles. Chloe Blair and Izzy Fry achieved B string wins in the 400m and 800m respectively.
Matt Green took the form that saw him win two road races the previous weekend onto the track, running PBs in both the 1500m and 3000m, teaming up with Phil Marshall in the latter to both dip under the 10 minute barrier for the first time. Yaz Ryder had two strong second places in the A string 800m and 1500m, with Sophie Fowler joining Yaz in the latter for second place B in her first race of the season. Mike Robbins won both B string hurdle races for the men, while Lucy Loxton and Sam Dredge took second places for the women. Rhys Ainsworth produced a stunning finish in the 200m to take second place B, and the ever reliable Phil Carter secured useful points in the high, long and triple jumps. Emma Downie, Becky Elsmere, Linda Pitts and Sarah Rudd joined the fun as non-scoring athletes, and of course we can’t fail to mention the team of helpful club members volunteering to assist with the smooth running of the day.
This really was a stunning achievement by the whole club, and should not be underestimated. The team managers would like to say how proud we are of this result and thank everybody involved. We look forward to the next match in Perivale on 17th June.