Midlands Track and League Division 3 fixture.
Aldersley Stadium – Wolverhampton.
Sunday 5th June.
Report – David Jones.
The club recorded a truly remarkable victory in our latest Midlands League Track and Field fixture at Wolverhampton on Sunday.
With traditionally well over half of our team still of school age there were many absentees due to exams and half-term holidays.
Team manager Mike Sheppard did a superb job in putting a competitive team together and with 55 events being filled by just 21 team members those who were able to take part found themselves competing in events well outside of their comfort zone.
13 of the team of 21 competed in 3 or more events.
Chris Spriggs, the father of Caleb and Maisie-Joy, who were both competing, was contacted the night before the event and asked that, as he was bringing his children to the fixture, would he mind competing in 1500m and 3000m. He did so, winning valuable points for the club. Caleb was asked shortly before the race began if he could run the 400m hurdles, despite never having run it before. He did and he won comfortably!
Caleb competed in 5 events, the maximum allowed for his age, this included a simply stunning last leg of the mixed 4 x 400 relay, earning the club one of its 9 victories in what was arguably the most exciting race of the day.
Sprint specialist Imogen Sheppard competed in shot, hammer and discus and club chairman Paul Hawkins found himself throwing the shot and discus with fellow Masters athlete Brian Gravelsons competing in both hammer and discus, as well as acting as an official timekeeper for the event.
Paula Williams competed in 6 events despite her 7 gold medal haul at the previous days Midland Masters Championships.
Winners on the day were:
Caleb Spriggs – 400m hurdles – A team
George Fox-Rowe – High jump – A team
Alex Adams – High jump – B team
Acelin Smith – Shot put – A team
Maddie Linfoot – 1500m – B team
Vicky Sharpe – 100m hurdles – B team
Vicky Sharpe – Triple jump – A team
Tilly Campbell – Triple jump – B team
Maisie-Joy Spriggs ,Taylor Stubbins , Jessica Sheppard , Caleb Spriggs – Mixed 4 x 400m relay.
The trick in a T&F competition is to have competitors in as many events as possible because literally every point counts, so although in the 55 events the club recorded just 9 victories, it was our ability to fill those events, despite a shortage of team members that allowed us to win the day.
We finished 1st out of 7 clubs competing with 359 points, 35 ahead of 2nd placed Bromsgrove and Redditch and 40 ahead of 3rd placed Yate.
If there had been an award for the most vocal supporters we would have won that as well.
We are currently in 3rd place in the league, just 27 points behind 2nd placed Yate with 2 more fixtures remaining.
We were, as ever, indebted to all of our officials, Brian Gravelsons, Graham Thompson, Emma Sparrow, Sandy Green, Alison Gravelsons, Imy Sheppard and Paul Hawkins, all of who helped make the day possible. It is worth noting that by officiating they also earned valuable points for the club.
Paul Bearman commented ” A terrific team effort, all of who pulled together showing our club’s spirit.
Irrespective of the result the thing that makes my heart sing is the One Club One Voice – with all parts of the club involved.
With exams hopefully out of the way soon hopefully we can go out with a stronger team next time.”
With an age range of some 57 years between the youngest and oldest team members, it is certainly true to say that all sections of the club contributed.
Paul Hawkins added ” Absolutely remarkable result, thanks Mike. Much better than we could have expected given the number of absences! Promotion now? “
Sarah Bland said ” Massive congratulations to Mike Sheppard and all of the SAC team who went to Wolverhampton and pulled off a win! A fabulous result given that we were short of athletes. I know from experience that everyone there will have run, jumped and thrown their socks off to get as many points as possible”
Finally a justifiably proud Team Manager Mike Sheppard commented:
“This was an amazing win for Stratford. With so many regulars unavailable and cold rain sheeting down, it could have been a miserable afternoon but in the end the indomitable team spirit of our athletes and officials delivered an uplifting and memorable day. With two matches to go we have given ourselves a real opportunity of promotion.”
The next fixture is on July 17th at Yate near Bristol.
For the full results please follow the link below: