Shaftesbury Barnet are one of three Championship teams who have won back-to-back matches. Photo: Daniel Rees

Shaftesbury Barnet, Swansea, Tonbridge and Trafford win in the Championship

Written by Alex Seftel

NAL Championship North Round 2 – Leigh – Saturday 22nd June

Results on OpenTrack

Trafford strengthened their promotion credentials by winning the second Championship North match of the season in Leigh.

Great Britain’s Naomi Metzger won the triple jump in what was her second outdoor competition since the 2022 European Athletics Championships, with a best of 13.06 metres helping the 10-time UK champion to ramp up her comeback ahead of the Olympic trials.

Trafford’s first victory came in the fifth event of the day through UK high jump silver medallist Emily Madden Forman, who had a best clearance of 1.72m.

Round one match winners City of Sheffield and Dearne took victory in five out of the first seven events, including a one-two finish in the men’s pole vault, led by George Heppinstall, who went over the bar at 5.11m.

His teammate Alicia Barrett was more than a second clear of her opponents in the 100m hurdles as she clocked a time of 13.83 seconds.

It was then Notts AC’s turn to take a maximum of 22 points, with Tae Jan Blake leading Harry Whyley in the men’s high jump with a height of 2.06m, compared to Whyley’s 2.01.

In doing so, they reversed the order they finished in Nottingham three weeks earlier, where both cleared personal bests of 2.05m, but Whyley won on countback.

The club also tasted sprint success through Sharhnee Skervin winning the women’s A string event 100m and 200m 11.82s and 24.42s respectively, after Liverpool’s former England under-20 indoor 60m champion took the men’s 100m in 10.77s.

But Trafford pair Samuel Hopkins and Joe Hudak hit back by leading home the 1500m field in 4:01.26s.

Despite the best efforts of British Universities’ (BUCS) indoor 200m champion David Chapman taking 12 points from his favoured event with a time of 21.52s and Commonwealth Games heptathlete Anna McAuley winning both the long jump and javelin, Trafford were consistent enough to clinch the overall win with 537 points compared to Sheffield’s 498.

Liverpool powered to victory in both of the 4x100m relays but just missed out on third to Notts.

Marshall Milton Keynes and Bedford and County battled to fifth and sixth in that order.

Bedford’s Glen Kerr picked up a second place in the hammer, with MMK’s Abi Fitton taking that position in both the 100m and 200m.

NAL Championship South Round 2 – Crawley – Saturday 22nd June

Results on OpenTrack

Tonbridge broke through the 600-point barrier as they won their second consecutive Championship South fixture and built a strong lead in the divisional’s regional group.

Those in white and navy vests took maximum points from the first four events; namely the women’s long jump, women’s hammer, and both the A and B string races of the men’s 400m hurdles.

Kingston AC and Poly had early joy through Joely Bytheway’s 64.29-s women’s 400m hurdles win, before Bournemouth’s Jazmin Cooke cleared 1.61m to lead the high jump standings.

The honours were shared all round by the time that third-placed Crawley’s Charlotte Wormley grabbed an 800m win in 2:13.46s, Leslie Parkes threw the hammer 53.32s to snatch 12 points for fourth-placed Portsmouth, and Belgrave’s Peter Wild crossed the line ahead of the rest in 14.85s in the 110m hurdles.

But Tonbridge were relentless in their pursuit of success right across the sprints, jumps and throws disciplines.

Lewis Church was up to his usual tricks with a double victory in the pole vault and discus. Respective marks of 4.71m and 43.57m were enough for 12 points in those events.

A best effort of 13.63m helped fellow decathlete and training partner Harry Kendall win men’s shot after he had already nailed top spot in the B string 110m hurdles.

Top-three finishes in all of the last four events of the day helped Belgrave Harriers secure second place with 491 points, behind Tonbridge’s brilliant score of 601.

Kingston’s women’s 4x400m relay victory – which again featured Bytheway – helped them keep hold of fifth overall ahead of Bournemouth.

NAL Championship West Round 2 – Yate – Saturday 22nd June

Results on OpenTrack

Swansea retained their mantle as the team to beat in the Championship West with victory in Yate.

The Welsh side established their authority on their competition by finishing at least second in all of the first five events including A and B string races.

UK shot put medallist Patrick Swan impressed with a win in the discus as well as his aforementioned favoured event, while 400m hurdler Jack Houghton followed up his 12 points in the first match on home soil.

The home side, Yate and District AC, stayed in contention until late in the day, with success including Stephanie Brooks winning the 400m hurdles A race in 63.95s, before teammate Daisy Harvey’s 70.27-s clocking beat the B field.

Third-placed Cardiff opened up with a 5.82-m long jump win for Sarah McCarthy, before Samuel Gordon’s 10.49s 100m win.

But their athlete of the day was surely Commonwealth Games heptathlete Lauren Evans, who won the 100m hurdles and high jump, before finishing second in the shot put and as part of the quartet in the 4x100m relay.

Roberto Lopez Smith won a very close men’s pole vault competition for Yeovil Olympiads on countback, with three men all clearing a best of 4.21m, with Harry Barton’s 7.29m long jump a more dominant 71cm ahead of his opposition.

But one of the biggest margin’s of victory of the day came when Southampton’s Samantha Callaway threw the discus 50.08m, to win by more than 10 metres.

She would later hurl the shot put to 13.37m for a further 12 points, although those in red and white stripes were unfortunately just one point short of Yeovil’s fifth place spot overall when all was said and done.

Yate looked like they might have enough to clinch the overall win as 2023 European Under-20 Championships competitor Luke Ball led a one-two finish in the high jump with a best of 2.12m, and Gregory Hayward triumphed with a time of 4:02.07 as part of a one-three finish in the 1500m.

The hosts also swept top spots in all of the relays apart from the men’s 4x100m as part of a late push, but Swansea had enough to hold onto a 44-point overall lead and win the match.

Basingstoke and Mid Hants had 55-year-old multi-events coach Rafer Joseph in their side, who competed at the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games.

He finished a very respectable fourth in both the men’s hammer and discus with 40.65m and 38.68m.

That was also the position that Basingstoke would finish overall, aided by their efforts to keep their low-scoring events to a minimum.

NAL Championship East Round 2 – Hendon – Saturday 22nd June

Results on OpenTrack

Shaftesbury Barnet stunned their visitors with a 138-point victory in their Championship East encounter at StoneX Stadium in North London.

In doing so, they made themselves clear favourites to qualify for August’s Promotion Match, with one more fixture to come next month to decide the top two teams from each regional group who will be put forward.

Quickfire wins in both 800m races through Sam Wiggins and Mya Mairs-Ingram were followed up by success for both genders in the high jump and pole vault, as the hosts built a commanding lead.

Second-placed Havering tasted victory in the first event of the afternoon, with Alice Fairmaner’s 5.43m long jump being good for 12 points.

Chelmsford battled Shaftesbury hard in their home match earlier in the month, securing a runner-up spot, and here they clinched a respectable third, with wins including Oliver Graham’s hammer success with 61.30m, William Nuttall’s 2000m steeplechase victory in 6:27.63s and Jodie Judd’s 1500m time of 4:40.63s.

There were still closely-fought contests between the two clubs though, with Shaftesbury’s Paul Ogun only 4cm ahead of Chelmsford’s Samuel Wright, who jumped 7.10m for second place in the long jump.

But nobody could match Greg Thompson as he used home turf to his advantage to throw the discus 54.01m, leading teammate Ruben Vaughan’s 45.53m in the standings, as Chelmsford collected a handy three-four finish.

Thompson also won the shot put with 14.84m, but 2021 UK javelin champion Daniel Bainbridge was also impressive as his best effort of 67.45m was more than 18m better than his opponents.

Fourth-placed Herts Phoenix took both of the A string 400m hurdles races through Edward Laws’ time of 55.13s and Louise Grenfell’s 65.24s clocking, before Lauren Rule made the club look like real one-lap specialists by taking the 400m flat win in 54.31s and contributing to a 4x400m triumph.

Herne Hill Harriers’ Ella Rennie sprinted to the line in 12.23s in the women’s 100m for a squad that also won the women’s 4x100m and sealed a one-two finish in the women’s 1500m steeplechase through Lily Newton and Maeve Minielly.

Newham and Essex Beagles’ Ben Snaith led the men’s field home in 10.71s and Shemar Boldizsar followed that up for the team by clinching the 200m in 21.17s, before the pair combined to win the 4x100m.

Ultimately, fewer zero-scoring events helped Herne Hill finished fifth, ahead of Beagles.