On a cold and breezy Saturday morning, 19 male and 12 female athletes and a full contingent of officials descended on Rotherham for the first league match of the season. On our return to division two we fielded the largest Bingley track and field team in recent memory. This is reflective of the effort put in by the team managers and coaches at the club to have so many athletes ready to compete. There were some old faces returning to competition and plenty of new competitors making their debut in the senior team. Despite the large numbers turning out, we were met by larger teams, from clubs from larger towns and cities, and ultimately were beaten into 5th place. The team we did beat also got promoted so we certainly have not regressed as a team, merely stepped up a level in terms of the standard of the other clubs in this division. Chloe Burbidge, Olivia Belcher, Olivia Francis, Stephanie Robson, Matt Merrick, Archie Scott, Sam Berry, John Parkin, Paul Lennon, were all competing in the team for the first time, and Danny Crosby returned to the team after a number of years away from competitive athletics.
Our team was as always an interesting mix of youth and experience, we had first year under 17s (15 year olds) competing alongside v50 masters athletes, and quality was not in short supply, with our male club record holders in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m and 1500m all competing. Athletes returned from university just to compete, and others in the middle of revision brought their books and studied during the day. Some of those with jobs booked leave to attend and those with families brought them along to watch, and whilst competing other team members looked after their children. In short, commitment is high for the track and field team and reasons for not competing can be overcome if you want it bad enough.
I once heard it said when judging the “health” of a national team at major championships that strong relay teams suggest strong programmes. Well, after a long day, competing hard, in testing conditions, all four relay teams took to the track for the last races of the day. The women’s 4x100m set the standard in the first race, finishing 3rd, an excellent effort by two triple jumpers, a long jumper and a multi-eventer. They could have been dubbed the Green team, as all are coached by horizontal jumps coach Martin Green! The men’s team, went step further and came second. The women’s 4x400m is arguably our hardest relay team to fill, and the fact that not all clubs manage to field a team, is testament to that. With no out and out sprinters in the team our middle and long distance athletes did us proud and got the baton round in fifth place.
In the final race of the day we had two “rookies” in the men’s 4x400m team. Sam Berry ran the first leg on his debut in the team; training had been going well and despite never having run a competitive race over 400m he did exceptionally well, putting us in a good position handing over to Aidan Leach. Being a “short sprinter” (100 /200m specialist) is no excuse for not running the 4×4 relay and Aidan pushed hard down the back straight gaining places as he went. Fresh from his first outing in the senior team and first ever 800m (2 minutes 11), Archie Scott took on the baton for leg three, inspired from who knows where Archie passed the baton to Oliver Robinson in second place for a last lap tear up with the Kingston upon Hull athlete. Their man had clearly run this leg before. He went wide on the opening bend in an attempt to make Oliver run further, but experience was not lacking for Oliver who has also done this before. He held second all the way down the back straight, and entering the final 200m was in the ideal position. Having beaten their man in the 400m hurdles in the first race of the day, confidence was high as Oliver rounded the bend, everyone finds a little bit more in the relays. When it was time to strike for home coming into the last 100m the Hull man played his final hand, again pushing Oliver wide in an effort to make him go the long way round.
The key to sporting success is often being decisive, but being decisive just before your opposition is almost guaranteed to work. Oliver drifted out into lane 4 and went for the line. The Bingley support in the last 50m went wild and his 50 second run for the last lap proved too much for Hull, the winning margin being just over a second. Job done. The team and their support set off home in high spirits despite our overall position being 5th. Sunday June 4th in Hull is the next league match. Get in touch with team managers if you want to be involved. The results are attached so you can see what it takes to get in the team, train hard, test yourself and join in the fun………