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League teams' strong start

Sunday 7 June 2009

Cardiff's men's British League got off to a brilliant start in Cardiff yesterday, winning their first round match by the narrow margin of 5 points from Harrow, with old rivals Thames Valley Harriers third. The women's League team, weakened by late withdrawals, exceeded expectations by finishing fourth. These are the best starts to the league campaigns for many years.

After a week of hot sunshine, Saturday 6th June dawned with torrential rain and cold and it was feared that many events may have to be abandoned. Miraculously, the rain stopped for the first track event, the 400m hurdles, featuring Cardiff's European bronze medallist Rhys Williams, returning from two years of injuries. Rhys got his team off to a flying start, winning in the very respectable (given the conditions) time of 51.3 sec. Jamie Gutteridge scored a second place in the B event and so Cardiff took an early points lead that was never headed throughout the day.

Luckily, the rain held off for most of the afternoon which saw a sequence of excellent performances from Cardiff athletes. Notable amongst these was David Guest, still a junior, who was acclaimed Cardiff's athlete of the match. David won the Long Jump A with a fine 7.14m and followed this with a second win in the 110mH A (his first ever run over the senior hurdles). He also scored useful points in the Pole Vault B. Double wins in the A and B events were achieved by Gareth Wiltshire and James Nazrat in the 800m, James Mills and Harri Jones in the 1500m and David Coleman and Gareth Bull in the Discus.

It is perhaps too early to talk about promotion but if team manager James Williams can keep this team together for the next three rounds, who knows?

The women's team produced an excellent result in the circumstances. Team manager Peter Lane had an agonising week with a succession of withdrawals for various reasons. That the team finished fourth is a tribute to the athletes who turned out, especially those that stepped in at short notice.

It is interesting that Cardiff won only one individual event, the triple jump. However, with plenty of seconds, thirds and fourths, the points mounted up steadily and, for times, Cardiff were in third place. The final placings were not settled until the last results were counted and Cardiff finished with 152 points, 8 behind third placed Blackheath & Bromley.

The outstanding Cardiff performance was Sara Barry's 12.75m triple jump which set a new Welsh record for the second time in two weeks. Naturally, Sara was Cardiff's athlete of the match.

The two athletes of the match were each presented with a bottle of champagne which was kindly donated by Mr Darren Davies, franchisee of Threshers, Albany Road, Cardiff to whom we would like to express our thanks.

Full details of the matches can be found on the event pages. Go to Track & Field Events>View League Results> BAL or UKWAL.