Bedford & County AC’s women were narrowly beaten into second place in the opening match in Division 2 of the UK Women’s Athletic League on Sunday.
Fourth place in this division last season was considered a good springboard for a tilt at promotion in 2016. However, a flurry of late withdrawals plus six debutants among the young Bedford team ensured that over-confidence certainly wasn’t an option against some strong opposition at Chelmsford.
The throws and sprints proved particularly competitive but the young Bedford team (half of the 16-strong team being aged 19 or less) proved well up to the task and were only deprived of a win by the narrowest of margins, losing by one point to Southampton AC who only two seasons ago were in the Premier Division.
Individual wins were extremely hard to come by, especially in ‘A’ string events where only one was gained. What a win it was though, in the 3000m where a great solo run by Rebecca Murray completely dominated the field.
Her teammate Tasha Peters, tracked her relentlessly throughout and won the ‘B’ race with her third PB in three weeks in different events and this after a nine- year drought! She followed this up with another ‘B’ string victory in the 1500m and further ‘B’ wins were obtained by debutants Holly Brown and Octavia Cavill in the Pole Vault and High Jump respectively.
Consistent scoring right across the board was the key to the Bedford result with 15 second and third places and many PBs and Season’s Bests being achieved. Those who must be particularly happy with their afternoon’s efforts are Mia Chapman in the sprints and Kathryn Woodcock in the throws with three PBs between them.
Busiest athletes of the day, competing in the maximum allowed three individual events each, were Adela Hussain with a run (100m Hurdles), jump (High) and throw (Shot) plus a late long relay call-up, Belinda Sargent who followed up her horizontal jumps with a surprise PB in the 100m Hurdles and a sprint relay stint and Jemma Eastwood who hadn’t bettered her Pole Vault performance for seven years and also threw Discus and Triple Jumped!
The efforts of the other seven athletes were also crucial and included valuable points for top three places for Leanne Buxton (Shot ‘A’), Lauren Russell (400m ‘A’ and 200m ‘B’), Faye Nicholson (Long Jump ‘A’), Diane Chalmers (2000m Steeplechase ‘A’) and Katie Winwood (Hammer ‘B’).
Last but by no means least were the performances by Eleanor Usher and Rebecca Barnard. Both drafted in at late notice, they did all that was asked of them and more and will be challenging for places in the remaining two matches.
With athletes who were absent for this match being available for the next match at Southampton on July 3, there is no reason why the Bedford team can’t obtain a result which will make promotion to Division 1 a real possibility when they travel to Manchester for the final match in August..
Result: Southampton AC 199,
Bedford & County AC 198, Marshall Milton Keynes AC 177, Herts Phoenix AC 175, 5 Victoria Park, City of Glasgow AC 174, Sale Harriers Manchester 173, Havering AC 156, City of Liverpool 140.5.