GB internationals lead NAL Premiership second round entries

Written by Alex Seftel

NAL Premiership Round 2 – Woodford – Sunday 7th July

Live stream on Vinco

Schedule and results on OpenTrack

Harrow AC will be aiming for back-to-back NAL Premiership wins in the second match of the season at Woodford on Sunday.

They triumphed over reigning NAL champions Thames Valley Harriers in last month’s Premiership opener at Eton, giving them a one-point lead in the overall standings.

The two sides should again be close, with Thames Valley’s squad including familiar international names such as UK shot put champion Amelia Campbell, who is yet to be beaten in 10 NAL competitions.

Olympic Games-bound Bianca Williams is set to feature in the 100m and 4x100m relay, with Jade Lally in the discus, Joel Clarke-Khan high jumping and Zoey Clark down for the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay.

Lally has an opportunity to win her 15th league competition, going back to the UK Women’s Athletics League.

Harrow’s side leans more towards up and coming stars, with the likes of European under-20 100m champion Joy Eze involved in the 200m and 4x100m.

PositionClubLeague PointsMatch Points
1Thames Valley Harriers151218.5
2Harrow AC151208.5
3Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow9878.5
4Woodford Green with Essex Ladies9878
5Glasgow Jaguars9874
6Blackheath & Bromley Harriers 7800.5
7Sale Harriers4749
8Birchfield Harriers4692

South of England 100m hurdles champion Marli Jessop will focus on her favoured event, alongside the 100m flat, before joining Eze in the relay.

Miguel Perera — who was part of the British team at the 2022 European Championships — goes in the men’s sprint hurdles and Poppy Malik — who has improved her 400m best from 53.84 to 52.56 seconds this season — will do the 200m and 4x400m.

Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow (WSEH) were a surprisingly distant third at Eton, but they have a team that is very capable of pushing for victory this time.

2022 European 400m bronze medallist Alex Haydock-Wilson is one of their standout names and he features on the entry lists for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m.

WSEH ought to be even better in the field events, having named internationals Jake Norris and Charlotte Payne in the hammer, alongside Tokyo 2020 Olympian Taylor Campbell, who recently returned after nearly three years out with injury.

Sophie McKinna, who is also trying to get back to her best following elbow surgery, is expected in the shot put.

The host club, Woodford Green with Essex Ladies (WGEL), are headed by another future Olympian in the shape of Yemi Mary John, who was named as part of the 4x400m squad for Paris on Friday, with 2023 UK triple jump champion Georgie Forde-Wells in both horizontal jumps events alongside that year’s UK indoor triple jump champion Mary Elcock.

Glasgow Jaguars finished just ahead of WGEL in a respectable fourth place last month, but they perhaps don’t quite have the same global championship pedigree to challenge the clubs above them.

The Scottish side features Commonwealth Youth Games 200m silver medallist Dean Patterson, along with 400m hurdler Connor Henderson, who was second at the Philippine Championships in May.

Sale Harriers and Blackheath and Bromley Harriers (BBH) finished in seventh and eighth places respectively in the first match.

They will be hoping to relieve some pressure this weekend, as the bottom two sides in the table will be relegated after next month’s third and final fixture of the season.

BBH have UK silver medallist Zara Obamakinwa competing in the discus, alongside Lally who she beat in Manchester, as well as Kirsty Law of Sale Harriers.

There is also an opportunity to see BBH’s European under-18 200m champion Faith Akinbileje in both sprints.

One point above them in the standings are Birchfield Harriers, who have named European under-20 100m hurdles medallist Lucy-Jane Matthews and England 400m silver medallist Amy Hillyard in their side.