Rugby & Northampton AC went into their home fixture looking to make an improvement on their disappointing opening fixture at Bristol where they finished 5th.
For this match last Sunday, they also had the challenge of National League fixtures on Saturday which denied the team the services of several of their leading athletes. However, on the day the hosts rose to the occasion to record a clear victory and inflict a surprise defeat on local rivals Birchfield Harriers.
With a score of 357 points at the end of the meeting the winning margin over the Stags was 30 points, the heaviest defeat the club have ever inflicted on the Birmingham team. This was thanks to a string of personal best performances along with a willingness throughout the team fill in and cover extra events. This spirit was personified in the hurdles where the team finished in the top three in the A races and won three of the B races thanks to Kerry Murch, Esther Thomas, Luke Townsend, Theo Walkley Bartlett and Charlie Barker.
As ever the challenge was to win the A string events and this was duly delivered by Zac Stapleton (200m), Hayley Murray who claimed a club record of 57.28m in the Hammer, Emma Wilshire (100m) & Evie Harris-Jenkins who threw 40.23 for another pb in the Javelin. This was backed up by a string of other B string victories for Kevin Murch (Hammer), Dave Cowley (who was competing in this league for the 51st season) in the hammer, Clinton Osaba-George who completed the club’s double in the 200m, Alex Hamlin in the Discus (also marking his league debut with a 2nd place in the Shot), & John Moreland in the Shot.
Other personal bests were recorded by Dan George who dipped under 11 seconds in the 100m for the first time whilst Joe Musgrove recorded 2.00.0 in the 800m with a fine controlled race, Theo rounded of his busy day by clearing 2.80 for a PV in the Pole-Vault, whilst Jason Dankyi showed his growing confidence with pb’s in both the Long Jump and High Jump. For the Ladies Janelle Quinn also picked up a pb when she cleared an excellent 1.40m in the High Jump, whilst both of Kerry and Esther’s hurdle times were pb’s.
The club spirit was also shown in abundance by both Richard & Lorna Latimer in the 3000m races, Ed Wise who stepped in to claim 3rd in the B string 3000m and veterans Minnie Chesser & Alison Cobb who gamely tackled the 800m. However the biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for Discus thrower Harriet Sumnall who anchored the ladies 4x400m relay team home.
This completed a busy & hugely successful weekend for the club, hosting two top flight matches and turning out three senior teams who came away with 1st, 2nd & 3rd places in the three matches – a hugely creditable performance. Many of our visitors complemented the club on the conduct of the fixtures so thanks are also due to the club’s hard working officials as well as Richard Meecham & the Leisure Centre staff whop worked hard to ensure the success of the weekend.
The next fixture is at Alexander Stadium on Sunday, July 3 when the team will be looking for another strong performance to secure their Division 1 status ahead of a potentially tricky final fixture at Stoke in August.