Havering seniors on high in National Athletics League opener

Havering's under-20 women's relay squad face the camera

Havering's under-20 women's relay squad face the camera - Credit: Paula Ramsden

Havering's senior athletes enjoyed a good victory at Chelmsford as the new National Athletics League got underway 12 months later than planned on Sunday.

The club hosted the fixture, which replaces the former men's British Athletics League and UK Women's League, and fielded teams that blended youth with experience.

Seasoned campaigners Rob Warner and Jason Lendon notched up full points in the steeplechase, and veteran thrower Graham Holder took full points in the hammer.

And there were victories for the under-20s as Peter Brinton-Quinn and Bradley James won both javelin strings, Toby Bishop won the B high jump after making his senior 400m hurdles debut, and Reece Harriott impressed with 800m victory, as under-20 Luke Chester was second in the B string.

For the seniors Richard Akinyebo set career marks in winning the B 200m and placing second in the 100m, while Ayo Akingbehin (100m) and Michael Shonibare (200m) were runners-up in their races, as was Karl Tucker in the sprint hurdles.

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Ben Davis blasted to 1500m victory, with John Whitehead second in the B, and Shandell Taylor won both the  high jump and long jump as Mark Bishop dusted down his kit to score in discus, shot and long jump.

Taylor, Akingbehin, Akeem Akintokun and Akinyebo dominated the sprint relay for victory, as did Matthew Agnimel, Akintokun, Shonibare and Harriott in winning the 4x400m.

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Over half the women’s team were under-20s, as nine teenagers, most making their senior club debut at this level, joined more experienced colleagues.

Under-20 throwers Alice Brown (discus) and Adelaide Thatcher-Gray (javelin) were comfortable winners with fellow under-20s Jade Kavanagh (400m) and Anne-Prisca Djondo (B shot) runners-up.

Higher Competition Athlete Katy Sealy had a busy afternoon as the Belize heptathlete won the high jump and B javelin and added points in the hurdles, shot and long jump.

GB international Lauren Deadman marked her return from maternity leave with victory in the 300m and second in the 1500m, as Ginte Bailey (1500m) and Robyn Matson (3000m) tasted B string success.

Also back from a maternity break, Flic Clarke easily won the 400m hurdles and was second in the sprint hurdles, as club President Claire Brennan set a new club W40 best in winning the B 400m hurdles, while adding second in pole vault.

Ellie Watson won the B high jump to add to her long and triple jump placings, as under-20 Rebecca O’Rourke’s 800m PB earned her B string second, as did Nina Brennan’s B string discus effort.

The squad finished the day in style as the 4x400m quartet of Sydney Foley, Nina Brennan, Flic Clarke and Jade Kavanagh led from start to finish for victory.

Round two is at Kingston on July 3, when the club will hope to match their first round success.

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