Written by Alex Seftel
Premiership Division Fixture 3B – Birmingham
Harrow had the delight of winning their final NAL Premiership match of the year at Birmingham’s state-of-the-art Alexander Stadium to secure second place in the overall season standings.
The London club came to the Midlands with ambitions of pushing Thames Valley Harriers all the way for the title – and although TVH proved too strong at their fixture in Glasgow – it didn’t take the shine off an impressive 134-point margin of victory over an excellent Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow team.
Indeed, WSEH’s Jake Norris continued a phenomenal season in which he has won 12 out of 14 hammer competitions including the UK Athletics Championships. His best throw of 71.49m made it a hat-trick of maximum points across the three-fixture NAL season. Craig Murch (Birchfield) made it two men over 70 with 70.06m.
Another British gold medallist – Bekah Walton of Sale – won the javelin on her NAL debut with 52.39m, before Harrow’s consistent performances started to turn into victories. Terry Fawden took the 2000m steeplechase in a PB time of 6:00.39s, swiftly followed by European Championships competitor Miguel Perera’s 14.01s in the 110m hurdles and British Universities’ (BUCS) winner Adelaide Omitowoju’s 12.39m in the triple jump.
But Windsor’s spirit remained high through Amy Holder’s 52.96m discus win, and Jacob Paul’s 51.93s 400m hurdles time which beat George Seery’s (Blackheath & Bromley) 52.95s on the latter’s return to the UK after his international debut at the European Under-23 Championships.
Without hurdles, Blackheath’s UK indoor 400m champion Sam Reardon again tried the shorter of his preferred distances to take the scalp of World Athletics Championships-bound Rio Mitcham (Birchfield) in 46.79s compared to 47.70s, after Niamh Bridson-Hubbard had triumphed for the team in both the 1500m (4:29.64) and 3000m (9:42.92). That followed coming so close to a double in round two with a first and a second place at Woodford Green’s Ashton track.
Her club-mate Luke Dorrell was glad to get a +2.0m/s legal wind to record a rapid 20.84s 200m win after experiencing a ridiculous +7.0m/s last month.
Third-placed Birchfield’s Ese Okoro’s 58.67s clocking was 2.3 seconds clear of her competitors in the women’s equivalent, with team-mate James Tomlinson getting the desired 12 points in the discus (50.89m), Adele Nicoll doing the same in the shot (16.55m), and Diani Walker winning the women’s 100m (11.77s).
In the second-string race, Louise Evans (B&B) made it four personal bests over four distances in 2023, with her new fastest ever 100m clocking of 11.83s adding to a 7.54s 60m time, a 23.51s 200m and a 52.84s 400m. What’s more, Louise was agonisingly close to that 200m mark in leading the first-string athletes home in 23.55s.
Sale locked out the 800m with former England senior champion Max Wharton coming home in 1:51.44, before BUCS 1500m gold medallist Jess Spilsbury cut the proverbial tape in 2:08.34. Then Nicholas Walsh ran a solid 10.28 to take the 100m.
Notts were pleased to secure Premiership survival on the final day and were aided by a one-two in the women’s hammer through Annabel Crossdale (54.03m) and Poppy Bean (52.78), with Felicia Miloro later clearing an unmatched 3.92m in the pole vault.
Swansea’s Patrick Swan’s 17.18m was good for top spot in the shot put as he held off talented Harrow duo George Hyde and Kane Aubrey (16.26m and 15.70m), while fellow Welsh athlete Hannah Brier continued to look at home in the 400m with 54.00s to follow up last week’s 53.59 personal best which also came in Birmingham.
Crawley competed well and received their biggest score in the women’s discus, with Jo Rowland and Hayley Emerson grabbing a total of 14 points between them, thanks to their furthest efforts which measured 34.08m and 27.85m. Rowland certainly played her part with the long jump, javelin, shot put and 800m also part of the experienced athlete’s busy schedule.