Nene Valley Harriers’ youngsters rose to the occasion when they beat off strong opposition to win their final Eastern Young Athletes’ League match (Sun Aug 3) at Sandy to secure their place in the cup final for the second time next month.
The relatively small club has done remarkably well considering the size of their rival clubs in each match, with Sunday’s meeting drawing the Harriers against much bigger guns such as Stevenage and Havering, both teams sitting above them in the league before the competition began.
To put the Peterborough, Spalding and Boston-based club’s achievements into context, there are 28 teams in the league, with only the top six going through to the cup final on September 7 at Basildon.
Leading the way was 16-year-old England international shot putter Robbie Shaw, who won in style with a huge throw of 15.18m. This was a personal best for all of four days, before he threw even further at the Biggleswade AC Jumps and Throws Open at Sandy to a new life time best of 15.43m, placing him sixth in the country for his age group.
Also performing well in the U17 men’s competitions was Callum Crosby, who won the 100m in 11.9 before placing second in the 200m with 23.8.
Bradley Spurdens won the 800m comfortably in 2:05.2, finishing more than six seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, while Olly Bowling and Dan Corrigan won the A and B 1500m competitions in 4:32.2 and 4:42.1 respectively.
Continuing the success for the age group were Callum Lewis, who won the high jump with 1.76m and the B string javelin with 30.72m, Alistair Pitts, who performed strongly in a range of events, and Lucas Fidler, who won the B triple jump (10.45m) and long jump (4.88m).
In the younger competitions, U13 athlete Nathan Rudman excelled when running 13.3 for the 100m and 27.9 for the 200m, before gaining valuable points when throwing the discus to 14.97m.
Ethan Ellison won the 800m in an impressive 2:31.1, Callum Robertson took maximum points when winning the shot put with an 8.06m effort, and Matt Church threw the javelin to 18.73m before sprinting round the 1500m in 5:33.0. U13 Amelia Monaghan proved the girls could score highly too when she won the 1500m in a new PB of 5:24.3.
In the girls’ U15 events, Casey Hilliam and Kelsi Ellis impressed when winning the A and B string 300m in 45.0 and 46.2 respectively, as well as dominating the 800m with times of 2:21.3 and 2:31.4.
Alex Pullen took second in the A 100m in 13.5 and B 200m in 29.9, while club mate Jasmine Allen won the B 100m in 13.6 and was second in the A 200m in 28.3, and Megan Ellison won a competitive 1500m in 5:02.3.
Perhaps the most impressive performance in this age group, though, came from young Rosie Fresen, who not only dominated her pole vault competition to win in 2.5m, but also threw the hammer more than 14m further than anyone else to win with a huge 34.36m, less than 2cm short of her PB.
Alison Church shone in the U17 age group, winning the triple jump with a 10.10m effort, placing second in the long jump with 4.8m, before also throwing the javelin to a very respectable 19.33m.
Finally, the U15 boys excelled as usual, with William Hughes winning the A 200m in 24.7 and new club member Jack Baker winning the B in 25.8 and A string 300m in 40s. Harry Burchnell won the B 300m in 41.6, while the consistently excellent Josh Akinwumi won the 80m hurdles in 11.8 and B long jump with 5.23m.
William’s brother Charles won the shot put and javelin with superb throws of 10.95m and 37.21m, Kai Harrison won the B shot put with a 9.55m effort, and Scott Waumsley won the high jump with a strong leap of 1.66m.