Return of the Macc. Northern League – Match 1 Report

Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears, get a few biccies and a mug of tea and settle in for the long haul. This has been one very busy weekend.
Saturday kicked off with our first Northern League match at Macclesfield with a few new teams and lots of new faces. Of course our seemingly perennial neighbours from Southport & Waterloo along with Liverpool Harriers were there but this season we’re joined by Wigan, Crewe, Macclesfield and Wrexham (a club with which our throwers have a very special relationship).
Please let me say at this point that, if I miss anybody out, I am genuinely sorry and it is not intended but I have a lot of results to chew through and I do sometimes make mistakes.
At first sight I feared we would have too many gaps in the team to do well but I needn’t have worried. Exams, holidays and a general lack of athletes all round meant everyone had gaps all over the place. This actually worked to our advantage because we tend to put out better quality performers, even if we don’t fill every space. Indeed, for LP&S, the “for-a-point” role was filled by the club captain !
I’ll start this off with a run down on the sprints which excelled and will, hopefully, provide a lift for Ray and Trish as they return to full health. Both Ryan Mostyn and Matthew Hughes picked up personal bests winning the B 100m and the A 400m respectively. Such was the strength on the day that Oliver Steele and Harry Coyne ran in the non-scoring event. James Read also came in as a runner-up in the B 400m (also with a PB). To top it they put together a winning sprint relay quartet that was a half-second clear of the next best. However I think pride of place for the sprinters probably sits with Harrison May-Joynson who was a runner up in the A 100m and won the B 200m in a PB time that would’ve won the A string. It has been a long time since we turned out a men’s sprint squad that was this good; Alan, Trish & Ray can be justly proud of their boys.
We had no specialist lady sprinters; what emerged was one of the stories of the day. The clan Swift, Katelyn, Bethany and mamma-Nicola; all throwers, stepped up to be jumpers and sprinters for the day too and hauled in over 50 points between them. That’s more than a third of what the entire Wigan team got !
We were thin on the ground for jumpers, especially in the horizontal jumps which reflects the absence of a coach for those events at the club. However, possibly the classiest competition of the day was the men’s high jump which saw Sandy Clarkson just lose out on count-back, with both himself and the Wigan athlete taking three good shots at 2.03m. In another great result for the Dave McComb stable, Georgia Barrett claimed second place in the A string high jump with a debut performance of 1.50m.
Circumstance left us short of male throwers but we filled all the spots with evergreen Iain Wilkinson ably backing Paul White who, in winning the A string hammer, showed he can throw every bit as well as he can coach the event. On the ladies side of things the Swifts waded in filling three B string throws inbetween sprinting, jumping and hurling abuse at dad while he was running for Southport. PC Shannon McGarry won the B javelin with a performance close to her best and managed not to arrest anyone in the process. Anna Peers did what she does best, hoovering points with A string wins in the shot, javelin and discus; a PB of 41.40m in that last discipline moves her towards the top 20 in the UK. Just for fun she grabbed a second in the hammer, something she only started to train for a few weeks ago.
Overall we finished a clear second which has already all but secured our future in this division.
1 Liverpool Harriers & AC 405.0 7
2 Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton H AC 351.0 6
3 Southport Waterloo AC 317.0 5
4 Crewe & Nantwich AC 290.0 4
5 Wrexham AAC 254.0 3
6 Macclesfield Harriers & AC 221.0 2
7 Wigan & District H & AC 145.0 1

On to the distance group where we had excellent quality A string runners, but missed many of the B strings. Ross Harrison and Chloe Leather were clear A string winners, each looking very classy in the process. Se Loughlin came down a little from his favourite distances to grab the runners up spot in the A 1500. It was lovely to see the return of Tiffany Penfold doubling up in the A 1500m and B 3000m, events where we did fill our places. Another from the mums battalion, Sharon Roberts, stepped forward to fill the B 1500m … and ended up winning it ! Once again there was joy over the return of a lost lamb to the fold as Isabelle Livesley ably filled an A string 400m/800m double. Between our sprinters and distance guys they formed up a long relay squad that came close to winning that event too.

Mid Lancs League Match 2 – Carlisle
And so, off to sunny Carlisle on the Sunday for the Mid Lancs league. A quick note on the apparent madness of this; all licences for fixtures now have to be obtained from a central planning/controlling committee in UKA. After they’ve taken all the prime dates for the championships and the sacred cow (otherwise known as the National League) the minions are left to grovel for whatever dates remain. Please don’t blame the NoEAA or Mid-Lancs organisers for this; I promise they do the best they can with the dates they’re allowed to use.
Despite all this LP&S came, saw and even did a bit of conquering with 10 athletes and a full squad of officials.
A pair of Procters each won their respective races, Daniel the under 15 1,500m and Alex the senior 3,000m in his debut track race. Start as you mean to go on I say.
One of the things I like most about this league is that, although you’re limited to three events, almost everyone does do three and there’s almost no restriction on what they can be. So, up steps Suzy Owens who, after winning the under 17 high jump with a 1.50m PB, rolled two dice, and picked the 800m and long jump to complete her set. Sarah Yates, on the other hand, thought that the javelin sat well with the 200m and her PB 1,500m second place. Even under 13 Millie Oliver mixed her PB 1.35m high jump with the 100m & 200m. This is how it should be for youngsters, trying everything for the fun of it.
Tehilla Wanjohi took over a second off her debut 200m mark set a few weeks earlier at Blackburn. Laura Purdy ran two personal best times in the senior 100m & 200m when not busy occupying the timekeepers stand.
On the throwing front U15 Mar-Bel Casey had two wins and a second, the pick of them being her 39.01m hammer win. That’s her fourth competition this year over 39m; but still not quite the 40m she craves. It’s just a matter of time. You’d be forgiven for thinking she was the athlete of the day but that goes to our Manx Minx Megan Lockwood who won all three of her throws: shot, discus and hammer; the last being the pick of the bunch with 36.40m. We wish her well as she goes off to the Island Games later in the season at Guernsey.
Finally, but definitely not least, our F41 Amy Thompson was throwing at Stoke Mandeville over the weekend and came away with two personal bests in the discus 24.00m and shot 7.94m. The season is looking very exciting for the International World Para-athlete. She has topped the UK rankings for her category every year since 2018 and continues to do so.
I would ask all those of you reading this, who aren’t currently active on the track & field side, to consider getting involved. We desperately need someone to help with the horizontal jumps; busy as he is I’m sure Dave Mc will help to get started and all fees/costs associated with becoming qualifying will be covered by the club.
If you currently do park runs and/or road races have you tried track racing ? It is different, but the Olympics it is not ! If you’re interested have a chat with Mark or Paul about it.
Phew ! That was a long draft. If you managed to read it all through you’re now officially an endurance athlete.
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