As something of a music fan (an understatement), I’m writing this on the 50th anniversary of the announcement that The Beatles ( juniors – ask your parents or maybe your grandparents) had broken up, so I make no apologies for the occasional Bealtes references.
Apart from heralding the return of Jack Sumners from the USA, this week’s newsletter is predominantly a dip into the club’s archives.
I have now taken delivery of The Paul Hawkins Archives, covering the years from 1989 to 2009, so that should keep me busy for the next few weeks.
Many thanks to both Pauls, Bearman and Hawkins, for providing me with quite a bit of material.
I hope you will find it enjoyable to read through. I had to smile at the thought of Andrew Pozzi winning a gold medal in the standing triple jump. It was interesting to see our junior XC team were in 14th position in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League in 2007. This year they finished in 2nd place, just prevented from winning the title in the last race of the last fixture.
Some things stay the same – In 2007 our juniors won the Warwickshire Sportshall League.
I note with interest that in 1989 the senior ladies paid a lower level of subscription than their male counterparts. It was also interesting to see that there were 4 leagues in the Grand Prix competition, with promotion and relegation.
I’ve taking the liberty of showing some members of the junior endurance group as they’ve grown from 8,9,10 year olds into young adults. I’m not sure how many of them will thank me for it though.
Despite the current crisis, there’s still lots of club activity going on. Many of the Senior members are currently competing in the first ever Virtual Shakespeare Race and there’s talk of a virtual team competition for some of our junior T&F members and a possible Virtual Strava ” Tour de Stratford ” added to which are Rob Minton’s weekly Zoom sessions.
Just imagine how fit we are all going to be when this is all over.
Please send me any articles or photos of your athletic career that I can share with other club members
Please do take care and try to stay fit and healthy
100 Club Winners
Dear all, hope this fine weather is finding everyone well and helping ease the strange times we are all experiencing.
Our 100 club still continues and the draw was made on line by 3 of our coaches. April’s winner’s are
Don’t forget you can join the 100 club at any time just email on email@example.com for more details. All of the proceeds minus the winnings are used to support the club.
Please stay safe and look after each other.
From The Archives.
Some of the Stratford athletes in the successful Warwickshire team
Back row L to R Chloe Adams, Isobel Burn, Sarah Woollacott, Matthew French, Andrew Pozzi, Sam Mason-BrownFront row Katie Taylor, Eleanor Johnston, Georgie Evans, Matthew Toms, George Gravesstock, Oliver Snow, Henry Warrender
Below : Charlie Burn
With thanks to Paul Bearman.
The indoor track and field season has now finished but there have been some outstanding performances for some of the junior athletes at Stratford AC
Birmingham Games Athletes at the Birmingham Games, held at the National Indoor Arena, were using the new track for that was laid for the European Championships, and several juniors took advantage to compete on it for the first time.
Charlie Burn literally sprinted to the top of the U17 UK “Power of 10” 400m rankings with an outstanding run, and demolished his previous personal best in the process. He powered into the lead after the first 200m, and just kept accelerating all the way to the finish of his heat to record 50:47 seconds. The previous day he warmed up for the 400m by running in the 200m, and finished with an indoor PB of 23:39 seconds.
Bryn Stretton had a very good weekend in winning the U15 boys’ 400m in a time of 62:53 seconds, and then finished 2nd in the long jump with a best round of 4:75m, and then ran 26:91 seconds in finishing 5th in his 200m heat.
With limited technical training behind them the horizontal jumpers performed well, with Andrew Pozzi competing for the first time as an U17 in the triple jump and finishing with a very respectable 12:48m. Amanda Evans performed consistently in the U17 long jump, finishing with an improvement on her indoor PB to 4:72m, while Georgie Evans and Katie Taylor both competed in the U15 long jump and finished with personal bests of 4:42m and 3:73m respectively.
Andrew Pozzi also competed in the 60m hurdles and despite a difficult start recovered to finish strongly, while Seb Croft had his first outing of the year in the U17 high jump and finished with 1:70m to kick start his season.
Long jumper Ryan James had a rare outing in the 60m, and after winning his 2 heats in very quick times he came up against Olympian Christian Malcolm in the final. Even though Ryan again improved his time, to 7:03 seconds, he finished in the deserved bronze medal position.
Midland Indoor Championships
The previous weekend saw the first part of the Midland Indoor Championships, which was held for the first time at the indoor facility at the Regional Athletic Centre at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. Andrew Pozzi won bronze in the U17 long jump with 5:88m, Bryn Stretton won silver in the U15 boys’ long jump with 4:79m and Amanda Evans leapt 4:67m in the U17 Women’s Long Jump, for an indoor personal best. Georgie Evans just missed out on the bronze medal in the girls’ U15 high jump on count back, but still produced a PB of 1:40m. Andrew then competed in the 60m hurdles and despite running a PB of 8:97 seconds he just finished outside the medals in a very close race, whilst his sister Rebecca finished 4th in her heat in a PB of 9:30 seconds.
Midland Counties Indoor Track & Field Championships
Five junior athletes from Stratford AC hit the medal trail at the Midland Counties Indoor Track & Field Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
Andrew Pozzi jumped extremely well and consistently in the U17 triple jump, and just held off his other challengers to win gold with a distance of 12:59m. He was then followed onto the rostrum by his two training partners; Amanda Evans, who won silver in jumping 10:28m in the U17 ladies triple jump, and Chris Bartlett, who also got silver in the U20 men’s triple jump with a leap of 13:65m. Both were in their first triple jump competitions of the year.
Charlie Burn has hit some brilliant early season form, and in the space of a week has knocked a full second off his 400m personal best. He easily qualified for the final from his U17 men’s heat, and then he went on to control a superb tactical race before just running out of steam in a blanket finish to end in bronze medal position, but recording a time of 50:11 seconds. Bryn Stretton completed the medal haul in winning bronze in the U15 boys’ 400m with a new personal best time of 59:52 seconds, and he also finished 4th in his 200m heat in a new PB of 26:54 seconds.
England Athletics U20, U17 and U15 Indoor Championships
Following on from their success the previous week in the Midland Counties Indoor Track & Field Championships, Chris Bartlett, Charlie Burn, Amanda Evans and Andrew Pozzi from Stratford AC juniors returned to the National Indoor Arena for the England Athletics U20, U17 and U15 Indoor Championships, and they were joined by sprinter Stefan Ellis. This is classed as an ‘open event’, and is effectively the UK championships including the top young talent from the home countries as well as entries from around the world, but to compete the athletes have to meet tough qualifying standards.
First up to compete was Andrew Pozzi in the U17’s 60m hurdles, and he posted a personal best in qualifying from his heat, and then lowered it again to 8:60 seconds in his semi-final, but just failed to qualify for the final. He aggravated a back injury in the process and unfortunately had to pull out of the long jump after only one jump.
Stefan Ellis had his normal excellent bullet start in the U20 men’s 60m, but the strength of the older competitors showed as he slipped to 6th in a close finish in his heat. Stefan still recorded a very respectable 7:60 seconds, which was a season’s best.
Chris Bartlett is in his first year as an U20 and came up against some top class older competitors in the triple jump. After the previous weekend’s competition he made some adjustments to his run up in training and this paid dividends by enabling him to use his speed, which in turn helped his rhythm. Chris produced a very good series of jumps to reach the final, and a season’s best of 13:79m enabled him to finish 7th.
Amanda Evans also reached the final of the U17 ladies’ triple jump, and she produced a fine series of consistent jumps culminating in producing a seasons best of 10:48m to also finish 7th.
Finally along came Charlie Burn to produce the finest run of his life. On the Saturday he ran a superbly controlled race in his heat of the U17 400m to ease into the semi-finals and, despite a couple of near heart stopping moments when he nearly fell on the tight bends of the NIA, he then qualified to take his place in Sunday’s final. The race is over two laps of the 200m track, and starting in lane 6 he had to run blind with everyone behind him. Charlie powered off after a good start and at the break in the home straight on the first lap, where all the competitors move across in the inside lane, he held his third place position. Coming into the back straight he attacked the two athletes in front of him, and although Ross McDonald (Royal Sutton Cold field AC) led to the finish, where he posted the 4th fastest time ever by an U17 in the UK, a determined Burn made his bid for the silver medal. He crossed the line level with Harry Doran (Liverpool), and although they were both given times of 49:71 seconds the judges obviously thought that Doran’s vest thickness edged it, which left Charlie with a fantastic bronze medal and another big PB.
A delighted Paul Bearman, who coaches all five of the athletes at Stratford said afterwards: “To be good enough to qualify for the championships is a feat in its own right, but to compete as well they all did, and for Charlie to win a medal was just great. They all finished the indoor season on a high, but now it’s back to the grind of training ready for the outdoor season!”
UK Sportshall Regional Final
Sixteen Stratford U13 and U15 youngsters represented Warwickshire in the Norwich Union UK sportshall Regional Final held in Worcester, against teams from Birmingham, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire & Worcestershire.
There were some superb individual performances, not least Andrew Pozzi who finished an agonising 2 points away from being crowned best U15 all rounder. Despite this he won gold in the standing triple jump, silver in the shot and was a tenth of a second outside of the medals in the 2-lap race. Other U15 medalists were Matthew French, who won gold in the speed bounce (10th overall) and Sam Mason-Brown who won silver in the 2-lap race (11th overall).
Sarah Woollacott was also just outside the medals in the U15 girls’ all round competition, but only by a single point after winning gold in the speed bounce and silver in the 4-lap race. Emma Laws ran well in the 4 x 2-lap teams’ 2nd place.
Anna O’Leary won gold and Katie Taylor the bronze in the U13 girls’ speed bounce, and Georgie Evans won silver in the high jump with 1:35m. Anna, Katie and Georgie were joined by Isobel Burn to win gold in the obstacle relay, and Eleanor Johnston and Chloe Adams were a single place away from medals in their events.
Matthew Toms was the only medal winner, silver in the speed bounce, in the U13 boys’ team, but along with George Gravestock, Henry Warrender, Oliver Snow and Jack Allison they collectively performed very well to give Birmingham a run for their money.
Team manager Sandie Evans said “All of the Stratford athletes made a significant contribution to Warwickshire’s success, both boys and girls, and all the team responded to the challenge and raised their performances on the day”.
…and the Sportshall success story goes on with Stratford making a clean sweep in all the age groups to win the Warwickshire Sportshall League title for the 4th year in a row….. more about that in the next Newsletter.
Congratulations to the team and their team managers
Cross Country is at last taking more of a prominent part of the winter season thanks to Paul Hawkins and Karen Taylor’s determination to ensure we get teams into the various leagues and competitions. The reward for that determination has been a continual upward path of progress for the teams and some really good individual performances.
West Midlands Young Athletes CC League
Moving outside onto the rain and mud of cross-country, the fourth meeting of the West Midlands Young Athletes CC League saw the squad retain their excellent 14th place overall. The course at Weddington (Nuneaton) was very boggy but the club’s young runners showed a lot of determination, and with one match to go both Rugby & Northampton and Solihull & Small Heath are eminently catchable ahead of them.
The U11 girls are back up to a medal position, and only 18 points on the season behind Tamworth for second place, after excelling in a large field of 95. Clemmie Holden had a fine run in 8th, as did Molly White in 13th, while Chloe Connor (31st), Ellen Scholes (42nd), Trisha Cooper (58th) and Hannah Taylor (65th) all provided invaluable back-up. The U13 girls’ squad were missing runners through illness and other athletic commitments, but those present performed admirably with Sara Copham gaining her first top ten finish (9th) and Katie Taylor gaining a season’s best 45th. The U15 girls’ race saw Emma Copham have another really strong run, improving by one place on last time to finish in 16th place out of the 74-strong field.
In the U11 boys’ Edward Caswell returned to near his best in 29th after a uninspired run last time, and with a little more concentration could move up even further, although he does still have another year left in this age group. Ciaran King (35th), Thomas Chapman (47th) and Patrick Eaves (61st) all did themselves justice and finished strongly, so even without a full team they remain in 9th place. It would be interesting to see what they could achieve with another one or two colleagues in attendance. The same could also be said for the U13 boys who lie in 11th position, but are in close touch with the two or three teams above them. They were led home by Jack Alison (15th), who continues to improve along with his growing confidence, while Michael Suren (61st) was seemingly having a really strong run but then went over on his ankle. This was terribly bad luck at a time when he was going so well, but he bravely limped round the last lap just to get points for the team. Fraser Weetman (65th) and Chris Bowyer (66th) both had steady runs, with Chris managing to get a season’s best position. In the U15 boys Sam Taylor had another consistent run to finish 48th, and go alongside his previous placings of 50th, 48th and 47th this season.
The U17 boys’ team were also short, this time through both injuries and call-ups for county teams. Stratford are probably the only team which loses runners to the South-West Schools events, so on the same day as the WMYACCL fixture the club had Jonty Wilson running for Gloucestershire Schools at Cardiff in the combined Cross Challenge and South-West Schools. Jonty picked a great moment to produce what was probably his best run of the season, coming in 54th, and he can be tremendously encouraged by how close he was to some of the top runners ahead. Possibly even surpassing this though was Jack McMullen’s performance in the U15’s, who came in 31st after a very strong even-paced run.
So, after the penultimate WMYACCL match Stratford AC’s points total is 11,682, which compares to 7,349 (15th place) in 2005-06; 5,990 (16th) in 2004-05; 6,719 (18th) in 2003-04 and 3,412 (18th) in 2002-03. All of these are the final scores at the end of the season, and 2003-04 had more fixtures than the current format, so the final league match in March (at Wolverhampton) is one that everyone is looking forward to.
The following week the younger members of the Stratford AC squad continued to dominate the local schools races at Croft School. In the Year 5 girls’ race Chloe Connor was 1st, with Rachel Chandler 3rd, and in the Year 5 boys’ event Edward Caswell won. Guesting in this race was Ben Taylor, a year 3, who beat many of the older runners to come across the line in 37th. In the Year 6 girls’ Clemmie Holden was 1st, Laura Burlton 2nd, Trisha Cooper 4th and Hannah Taylor 6th.
Following the County Schools Championships, Stratford AC has it’s best ever representation in the Warwickshire County Schools team for the National Championships in March up at Leeds. Hard earned congratulations should go to Emma Copham (2nd in the county championships), Sara Copham (2nd), Becky Young (5th) and Jason Harman (5th). This means that combined with the Gloucestershire runners the club will have 6 representatives present, doubling their previous best.
Pozzi – the TV Star
Andrew Pozzi Was invited to represent athletics at the official launch of the UK School Games, which will be held in Coventry in August along with Rowena Cole of Coventry Godiva.
Andrew did a great job and was very at ease in front of the TV cameras and the radio microphone and has numerous pictures taken with Marlon Devonish. The TV interview was broadcast on the BBC Midland News bulletin at 10.45pm and on radio stations across the West Midlands
It looked like Andrew was polishing his act ready for London 2012?
Jack Sumners – Flying high and long in the US of A
Jumping Jack excels in the US.
Report – Paul Bearman.
Jack Sumners left for the University Of Iowa in the summer of 2019 just after the indoor season finished. With him raring to get into the outdoor season Coronavirus hit and as with the rest of the world everything changed. So much so he has cut short his sojourn in the US to come home early before things get any worse and travel is curtailed more than it is already.
Jack said “it’s getting crazy and everything is beginning to shut down with some places in lockdown. The airports are empty and there’s very little meat or toilet paper still!”. “It’s a sad and worrying time for everyone and I hope all is well soon. I am coming home on the 7th April so hopefully things will get back up and running so we can get back to work as soon as possible”.
Unfortunately with Athletics closed down until at least 1st May Jack’s training, like every other athlete is going to be severely restricted but that’s something we’re going to try and work around.
Jack has moved up to the senior height hurdles and took to it relatively easily and he also maintained his Long Jumping as a second string event.
He trained in the state of the art indoor stadium at the University which is just as well it was indoors as the temperature went as low as -20.
He started his competitive season in December with an indoor best of 7.19m in the Long Jump and in his first hurdle race he ran 8.14 secs.
After a couple more events with steady progress he jumped a mammoth 7.46m to set a new PB and club record.
The season finished in March and Jack can look back as a very good part of the University Of Iowa Track & Field Team that won the Conference overall team championships.
Welcome home Jack
With the Paul Hawkins Archive to keep me busy over the next few weeks, I have initially selected the Club Directory from 1989 to start the ball rolling.
It makes for interesting reading. Some things change, some stay the same !
Ladies paying less than the men ? Hmmm.
I like the idea of this
Yesterday, to run was such an easy game to play.
Big oak trees from little acorns grow.
In the 8 years I have been involved with the junior endurance group, I have been privileged to see groups of shy, quiet and timid youngsters – okay they haven’t all been shy, quiet and timid – develop into wonderful young adults. I can honestly say that the ones who are still involved have all, without exception, turned into polite, committed, hard working and honest young men and ladies. Mind you, after featuring the photos below, I’m not sure how many of them will be talking to me when we next meet.
Imy Sheppard, Edie Hutchinson and Jess Sheppard.
Fergus Allison and Oscar Barbour
Will and Tom Crowfoot
Adam Taylor. I’m pretty sure Mike Sheppard was just about to lap Adam and Sean …….
Charlotte and Harry Gravelsons
Butter wouldn’t melt !
Daisy looks like she’s the only one who was trying when they were racing !
Above and below – what was I saying about shy, quiet and timid ??
Matthew Vickers and Louis Kendrick
Georgie Campbell and Ellen Taylor
Last week’s newsletter included an item on a photograph of Lesley Kirk and Yvonne Gajny appearing in the Focus Magazine in 2004. Well here it is, courtesy of Lesley – and I thought it was only blokes that hoarded stuff. Apparently Lesley and Yvonne, along with Lisa Payne were awarded the shield for finishing 2nd ladies team in the 2003 Stratford Half. Lesley thinks it maybe the only time she’s competed in it. 13.1 miles being far too short a race for her I guess. I don’t know Lisa but obviously neither Lesley or Yvonne have changed one bit.
Dave Wilson, T&F sprinter par excellent. Who’d have thought he’d end up being a top ranking 200m runner ? He has bulked up a bit since though. Below is the inside of Dave’s club membership card from 1985 showing he’d paid his subs.
The inside of Dave’s membership card, showing that he had paid his membership fee.
I was going to suggest a caption competition for this but in the interest of good taste and the fact that we do have a junior audience, I decide against it.