|Phil Taylor in Barcelona
After a fabulous indoor season Liverpool Pembroke Sefton’s international 400m runner has struggled with injury and is just emerging in the outdoor scene. His times have been for him modest and he forsook the poor weather in Britain for a meeting in Barcelona. Here again bad luck dogged him and the conditions were blustery. Although he won his event in 48.2 this was about a second off the time he was looking for. His options are now running this season out but it would only take one good result to set him back on course. The third local Junior Northern Division League match was close by at the new track in Litherland. There are many questioning the survival of this league as the attendance was once again poor. The LPS highlights included an Alex Stokes double(100m in 11.1 and 200m in 23.1) supported by the club`s latest international Wayne Ashall taking the B 100/200m. There was a very pleasant and confident return to form of Jack McGinn(400m in 51.2) and predictable wins from Danny Gordon(3000m in 9.48.4) and Andrew Bowen(2000m Steeplechase in 6.38.1). Tony West`s Hammer throwing is very impressive indeed and his 36.63m was well clear of his rivals. Similarly Darren Bosuana is emerging as a talented Javelin thrower with a winning cast of 37.74m. The men`s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay squads are rarely challenged and this remained so at Litherland. The women were less successful on this occasion but Abby McComb and Rachel Hutchinson are amazingly prolific in gathering points across several events. Their efforts went a long way towards the club securing second team spot on the day with 285 points, a mere six points behind Wigan.
1st July 2007
|Great run from Kirsty Longley
Liverpool Pembroke Sefton’s Kirsty Longley had a fantastic run in the Penny Lane Strider’s 10K Road race. She fought her way past some talented opponents to break her own personal best by over two minutes in 38.59. Better still she finished third in the Women’s race won by Liverpool Harriers international Jenny Clague. Her overall position was 52nd in a field approaching 500. This result comes after a really tough winter’s training and racing under the supervision of coach Mark Bleasdale. She now looks forward to beating her personal best 3000m track time in a forthcoming league match.
|Rimmer on course for World Championships
Michael Rimmer’s mini-tour of Europe took in a major meeting in Lausanne where he won a B 800m race in 1.47.17 followed by a televised Golden League meeting in Rome where again, against formidable international opposition, he collected a respectable 5th spot in 1.46.57. His preparations for the World Championships in Japan look on course.His next generation Liverpool Pembroke Sefton colleagues were elsewhere picking up medals. At the prestigious English Schools Championships in Birmingham, again televised, there were two bronze medals. Harry Doran was an outstanding Inter-Boys third placing in the 400m with a time of of 48.95. If he could have reproduced his semi-final winning time of 48.51, a personal best, he will reflect that he could have collected the gold. In the Junior 200m Adam Thomson ratcheted up a succession of fine 200m times but could only run 7th in the final. However, his basic speed earned him a 4 x 100m relay spot in the Merseyside team that collected third. Wayne Ashall’s mind was on his forthcoming international appearance but will be reasonably pleased with a 7th place in the final of the Senior 400m in 48.98.It was miserable weather at Bolton for the rest of the club’s senior members as they contested the penultimate match in their Northern League division. Struggling somewhat after the first two encounters the club needed to get its best out and this transpired. A particular delight was the return of former international Courtney Birch, a runaway winner of the 3000m in 10.20.3, and in the same race the courageous support act and B Race winner, Kirsty Longley. A third place in a 10K Road Race, second in a 5K race and here a sparkling personal best 3K time of 10.54.6 and all in one week is astounding result for Kirsty. June Swift was also in good form winning her A 800m race in 2.15.3 with her team mate Emma Bowen doing likewise with 2.26.3 in the B race. At this level simply covering events is important and it was a day for unsung heroines like sprinters Rebecca Lea, Jessica Ryan and Cathy Jackson , together with other middle distancers, Emma Binns and Toria Swift plus in field events stalwarts Natalie Walsh, Rachel Hutchinson, Faye Atkins and Abby McComb.
The men were also in good form. Lots of top placing and in particular Alex Stokes(1st 100m in 11.2) and an eye catching B double for Michael Zaim(100m in 11.3 and 200m in 23.4). Mark Grimshaw was an untroubled 400m winner in 49.8 but the serious point scoring was done in the field events with Dave Readle and veteran Mark Line interchanging first and second placing in the throws to the discomfort of the opposition. In the end though it was simply a day for point scoring and keeping the club at this level of competition. The members duly obliged with second spot behind a strong Bolton club.
|Double Athlete of the Match Award
The final match of the Northern Young Athlete Premier League was played out at Liverpool`s Wavertree Stadium. Liverpool Pembroke Sefton needed at least third spot to retain membership of this division in 2008 and this they duly achieved but not without a very tough scrap indeed with the evenly matched Southport, West Cheshire and Preston squads. From the LPS point of view it was a workmanlike performance but given a special boost with two Athlete of the Match awards. Nathan Hilton’s sparkling Under 17 Grade 1 400m win in 50.9 was not entirely unexpected given his huge talent but the really big surprise was tucked away in the Under 13 Girl’s High Jump where second placer Zoe Rafferty leapt 1.39m to catch the eye of the judges. For some time the club’s jumpers have played second fiddle to the runners and throwers but the broad smile on the face of coach, Dave McComb, at Zoe’s breakthrough suggests great things to come from this burgeoning group.Grade 3 and Grade 4 performances proliferated as point gathering became the order of the day but there were four significant Grade 2 efforts. At Under 15 Mike Bride raced to a 1500m win in 4.33.4, Brad Brennan threw a useful 30.48m Discus and Jessica Broady reciprocated in the Girls event with 22.76m. Under 13 800m mini-star Eleanor Miitchell also scored a convincing 800m victory in 2.31.6 but the event that will, perhaps, be best remembered on this distinctly unseasonable day came from Under 13 George Curran. In his first race over 1500m he was running comfortably with the leading group when the heavens opened and a torrential downpour ensued. This had a distinctly off putting effect on the field but the LPS athlete responded in a mature and convincing fashion charging away to a 5.01.3 win. It is a day he will remember.
|More European success for LPS…Gold for Wayne Ashall
In a history stretching back almost 120 years Liverpool Pembroke and Sefton have rarely enjoyed such a great track and field season with athletes performing at the highest levels. Perhaps the most surprising result, though, came from 17 year old Wayne Ashall of Scarisbrick and a student at Ormskirk School. He started the year struggling to beat 50 seconds for 400m but in the National Championships lopped nearly two seconds of that time to record 48.44 and propel himself into fourth spot on the Under 18 rankings. Recognising his potential the selectors immediately picked him for the European Youth Festival in Belgrade. It was to be an astonishing debut.
Wayne coasted through the heats of the 400m and looked a definite medal prospect for the Final but a niggling injury slowed him to 49.37 and he struggled home 8th. However, his hopes were not completely dashed as he was part of the Great Britain 4 x 100m relay squad which simply got better and better as it progressed to the Final. The quartet were never headed and their slick baton changing carried them to victory in a fine 41.6 timing. So Wayne found himself on the top level of the podium receiving a gold medal. The stuff that dreams are made of.
Meanwhile at the televised UK Championships and World Championships Trials at Manchester`s Sportcity Ashall`s team mate, Michael Rimmer, was defending his national title. The 21 year old had been parading his talent abroad throughout the season culminating in him gaining second place in the European Cup but, more importantly, posting fast times. At Manchester his opponents were clearly in awe of his talent and showed no desire to lead so Michael had to take it on solo. A first lap in 53.05 did not suggest a fast time but he was already soaring away from the field and in the finishing straight could afford to look around casually as he recorded 1.47.06. The selectors will surely be impressed with such a commanding performance and he should find himself on the plane to Osaka, Japan for the World Championships in late August.
Both Wayne and Michael will spare a thought for LPS`s other major star, Phil Taylor who collected a gold medal as part of the GB 4 x 400m team in the European Indoor Championships earlier in the year.He too looked on course for an amazing outdoor season but persistent injury reduced him here to a modest 48.4 400m in the Trials and no place in the Final. He will park his disappointment and spend the winter dealing with the injury and concentrating hard on next year. The year 2007 has been kind to LPS but with such a lot of talent in the pipeline 2008 could be even more rewarding.
|Final League updates
The last of the NJL (Mersey) matches was held at Ellesmere Port on 29 July . A fairly routine match but enlivened by a nice Alex Stokes double win(100m 11.5 and 200m 23.3) and other A first placing from Elliot Marsters(400mH 64.1), Andy Bowen(2000m SC 6.29.3), Tony West (Hammer 38.46) and Faye Atkins (HJ 1.60). Numerous sterling efforts including a men’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay wins carried the club to second on the day behind Cheshire Tigers and second overall. Generally a satisfactory outcome to the season but it is unlikely LPS will want to contest the qualifying match for the next layer of competition.