30 April 2017
- U17/20 - Norwich
The junior men and women of Blackheath and Bromley got
the defence of their national title off to the perfect start with a
convincing victory over the best clubs in Southern England. At 7.15 a
completely full 61 seater coach left Bourne Way carrying a near full
strength squad of junior men and their female compatriots set off for their
first competitive match since winning the national final last September.
Norwich was the venue for this first YDL fixture of the 2017 campaign as
Team Norfolk, one of the promoted clubs (together with Crawley), were hosts
for the day. Also contesting the league this season are Shaftesbury Barnet,
WSEH and Reading. All eyes were on Shaftesbury who had narrowly outscored
our junior men to win a place in European Clubs Final alongside the B&B
ladies last September. Rumour had it that SBH had been “in the market” for
reinforcements after the scare they got from us at Bedford.
First up was the hammer and in order to get to the
venue on time James, Charlie and Dylan had left the club at 6.30 am thanks
to Charlie’s mum Jane who was our team physio for the day. The hammer boys
got us away to a terrific start with James and Charlie taking a double win
in the U17 A & B strings. Ever the perfectionist and despite delivering a
Grade 1 performance, James was dissatisfied not to be over 60m (he was 4cm
shy of that). Charlie meanwhile was within 1 cm of his PB and Dylan picked
up points in the U20 competition (which saw a Windsor man break the league
The first track event was the 400 hurdles, a brutal
event requiring speed, strength and stamina (so Paul Austridge tells me).
All-rounder Ed Adams ran a composed 61 sec for 2nd in the U20 A string but
we were short of an athlete for the B string. Up stepped first year U17
athlete Oscar Heaney-Brufal who had previously only tried hurdles once in
training but he performed brilliantly taking 2nd place and looking like a
real prospect for the event. In the U17 competition Coleman opened his
account for the season with a fine win. Another new under 17 athlete, Caelen
Raju, collected maximum points with an accomplished performance in the B
Meanwhile the long jump was getting underway and Ben
Sutton stepped up an age class for the team, taking 4th in the U20
competition with a 6.45m jump (which would have been enough to win the U17 A
string). The U17 competition saw two more new U17s performing well, Myles
Xavier produced a fantastic PB of just over 6m for 2nd in the A string and
Nana Okwesa took an unopposed win in the B string.
Next it was the turn of the middle distance boys with
the 1500m on track. The U20 race went off at a very high pace (the first lap
in 60s) which Lewis Mills managed to stay with for a couple of laps and
whilst everyone slowed a bit he eventually paid the price finishing 4th. In
the B string Oscar HB was back in action and despite his earlier exertions
managed a PB and 3rd. In the U17 event it was an impressive debut for new
member Matthew Francis. Against a strong field Matthew held his own for most
of the race eventually finishing 4th in 4:16 but with a performance that
suggests there is more to come. Ben Gardiner continues to make great
progress with a PB of 4:32 to take 3rd in the B string.
Next it was the turn of the sprinters and the 100m was
to be another high scoring event for the club. New member and English
Schools' winner Camron Lyttle appeared in a Blackheath vest for the first
time and he was in a close battle with the SBH athlete, narrowly finishing
2nd despite producing a 10:80 performance into a swirling crosswind. In the
B string Matt Knight went one better with a great win to take maximum points
with the wind now seriously affecting the times. Multi-eventer William
Adeyeye was up next taking a narrow win over Shaftesbury in a competitive
field. Our sprint domination was completed by Chizute Ogbedeh, who has
picked up where he left off last season with an impressive performance
making it a double win for the U17 lads.
Meanwhile the high jump was underway and Ed Adams was
called into action for his 2nd event. Whilst not his favourite event, Ed
still managed a respectable 1.65 for 5th in the U20 string. We had two very
evenly matched athletes in the U17 event with new joiner Theo Adesina,
fellow multi-eventer and training partner of William, lining up as A string
and Rico Cottell as our B string. The mutual support helped the lads take a
double win although ultimately it was Rico who came out on top with a 1.85
PB jump to take the A string with Theo going just 5cm less to win the B
string. Great to see us dominate an event that hasn’t always been our
strongest in recent seasons.
The 400m event saw the junior men’s team captain Will
Pope, on the track for his first event. Having recently been come back from
injury Will was a little below his best but showed he is heading back to
form with a great 2nd place. With no other U20 400m specialist available,
800 runner Peter Guy, new to the age U17 age group, stepped up for his first
taste of Upper Age Group action. Peter’s winter training is clearly paying
off as he laid down a respectable 54.8 seconds performance in his first
competitive 400m race to take 4th. The U17 event saw two other first year
age group athletes introduced to the squad. Robert Suckling was 4th in the A
string just missing out on a PB and new member and local lad Keiron Farley
made his debut in the B string.
The 3000m race was a PB bonanza for the club with 3 of
the 4 athletes grabbing one. Marco took third in the U20 A string and whilst
Charlie Davis didn’t manage a PB he was still good enough for 2nd in the B
string. The biggest improvement came from Callum Myatt who smashed his
previous best by over 20 seconds for 9:32 and 3rd in the U17 A string. Joe
Georgiadis was just a whisker over the 10 minute barrier in his debut at the
event, something he will no doubt want to break at the next opportunity.
Next it was the turn of the javelin boys and, as is
often the case when James Whitaker is in town, the performance of the day.
In his first competition of the season James launched a colossus of a throw
73.40m, setting a new league and club record and launching himself to top of
the UK rankings and 7th on the all time list! In the U17 A-string, Angus
Harrington, suffering from a fractured toe was only able to jog up but
inspired by James managed a PB of 48.55m to win the A string. Multi-eventer
Coleman made it a high scoring event for us taking 2nd place in the B
Over in the sandpit the Triple Jump was underway.
Dylan and Oscar were closely matched in the U20 string with Dylan coming out
on top for 5th in the A string whilst heavy-legged Oscar had to settle for
3rd in the B string. In the U17 event it was a fantastic introduction to the
age group by Josh Gbagbo who not only PB’d with 12.36 but took maximum
points winning the A string!
In the 100 hurdles we dominated. Despite the windy
conditions Josh Watson, ranked in the top 10 in the country produced a near
flawless display to win the A string in 14.1 seconds. Rico made it a double
win with a great 14.5s in the B string – all the more impressive as he had
no real competition as there was only one other athlete in the race… and he
was left for dust.
Pole Vault is an event that we have a great bench of
talent so despite several absences we were still able to field the full
compliment of athletes – we were the only club able to do so. Ed admitted he
was struggling with his run-up and only managed one clearance but that gave
him 3rd in U20 competition. In the U17 event Lewis Stickings grabbed 2nd
place with a 3.05m vault whilst Caelan produced a 25cm PB for 2nd in the B
The U20 shot event saw Luc take 2nd place (against an
athlete ranked 9th on the all time list) with a 14.40 put, close to his PB.
Dele filled in for the B string grabbing points for his side with a 3rd
place. It was maximum points for William in the U17 A string however, who
despite admitting to being a little out of practice, still managed to win
the event with a 12.30 put.
Having been narrowly beaten in the 100, Camron looked
determined as he charged to victory in the U20 A string running into a
strong headwind which clearly affected the times. Matt grabbed a good 2nd in
the B string and in the U17 event Ben Sutton to 4th in the A string and theo
was 2nd in the B string.
In the 800m u20 A string we welcomed the club debut of
Ricky Lutakome. Ricky joined with the hope of getting some good competition
and he wasn't to be disappointed. Such is Ricky's reputation he was
subjected some “mind-games” from an opposition coach before the race but he
was not to be phased. It was a tactical race going through the bell in
around a minute at which point things burst into life. Coming off the final
bend it was neck and neck with SBH but an exciting battle down the home
straight saw Ricky come out on top by just a quarter of a second. A
fantastic way to open his account! In the B string a tired Oscar Hussey took
a solid 4th. He was disappointed with that but having virtually done a
decathlon the day before for his school he will know there is more to come.
In the U17 event Peter Guy, performed well against a strong field taking
4th. Another debutant, Prince Reid led the B string for at least 500m before
running out of steam, eventually just managing to hang to 3rd as the lactic
was getting the better of him!
The final field event was the discus, Dele produced a
42m throw for 3rd in A string and Luc tried the event for the first time in
the B string – his 34m throw was good enough to put him 30th in the UK
rankings and take 2nd. It was 2nd too for James Lancaster in the U17 A
The 4x100s were exciting as usual, with the u17 lads
narrowly losing out to Shaftesbury after some baton juggling on the 2nd
change robbed them of a vital half-second. Fortunately the U20 quartet of
Matt, Will, William and Camron got one back on SBH with a great win and a
superb leg on anchor from Camron.
The steeplechase was another highly successful event
for the club and as we were the only club to field all 4 athletes a high
scoring one. Second claim member Aaron Enser made a great debut for the club
taking the win in the U17 event in a time which put him top of the UK
rankings. He was backed up by Cameron Swatton who looked impressive taking
the B string win, we even had a non-scorer in the event in Ben Gardiner!
Joss Barber had a competitive race in the U20 event and despite a PB he was
eventually 2nd having led for much of the race. Trying out the ‘chase for
the first time was Lewis Mills who stepped in after Charlie was forced to
withdraw. Despite being a bit reluctant it was a terrific debut at the event
for Lewis who won the B string in a very good time.
The final events were the 4 x 400s and an U17 squad of
Peter, Robert, Ben and Theo had to settle for 2nd place, beaten by a fast
SBH squad. That left the U20 quartet of Oscar, Ricky, Coleman and Captain
Will to produce a sensational finale to the day by running away from SBH to
seal the win and a perfect first match of the season!
Photos from Rod Harrington