ATHLETICS - Gold for Byng as Stratford athletes clinch cross country league title - The Stratford Observer

ATHLETICS - Gold for Byng as Stratford athletes clinch cross country league title

Stratford Editorial 16th Feb, 2023   0

LEWIS Byng won shot put gold for England at the Reykjavik International Games in Iceland whilst Stratford-upon-Avon Athletic Club’s cross country team secured promotion as league champions.

Byng, a member of Stratford, continued his impressive start to the year with a gold medal winning performance in Reykjavik as he threw 18.09 metres to top the podium in a star-studded field.

The Games form part of the World Athletics Indoor Tour and is one of Iceland’s largest sporting events with Byng the only athlete to throw further than 18 metres.

Byng said: “It was good to put the England vest on again and I really enjoyed the competition and now I’m looking forward to the UK championships next month.

“Iceland was very, very cold but a good experience.”

And the Games are attended by close to 2,000 competitors from more than 40 countries across 15 events.

Closer to home, Stratford’s cross country team clinched the Birmingham and District Invitation Cross Country League Division Three title to secure promotion to Division Two.

Stratford won the league in style, having dominated throughout the season, as their senior A team, B team and masters team all claimed victory in the final fixture at Coombe Abbey.

The A team scored 49 points, with the team with the lowest points total taking the race win, whilst the B team won with 250 points and the masters triumphed with just 19 points.

And that meant the A team finished well clear of Nuneaton Harriers in the overall standings to top the league on 273 points across four meetings with the latter in second on 397 points.

The B team also bettered Nuneaton to win their league on 1039 points compared to the latter’s 1413 whilst the masters were pipped to top spot by the Harriers who finished on 127 compared to Stratford’s 155.

There was also individual success for Stratford as five of the club’s runners placed in the top-eight out of a total of 403 athletes.

Rich Shephard placed third (14 points), Alex Pester fourth (16 points), Ned Campbell sixth (19 points), Matt Burdus-Cook seventh (21 points) and Taylor Stubbins eighth (25 points).

And the club were even more dominant in the junior rankings as Pester, Campbell and Stubbins secured a Stratford one-two-three at the top of the standings.

In the masters rankings, six of the club’s runners placed in the top-20 with Shephard first overall (five points), Burdus-Cook third (nine points), Richard Liggatt seventh (22 points), Adam Linforth 14th (42 points), Tim Hutchinson 19th (59 points) and Dave Teasdale 20th (59 points).

Some 266 runners competed in the final race of the season with 23 Stratford athletes in action as Burdus-Cook led the team home in fifth place in a time of 30 minutes 39 seconds.

He was followed by Shephard in sixth (30 mins 50 secs), Campbell in seventh (30 mins 53 secs), Stubbins in ninth (31 mins 16 secs), Jamie Hall in 10th (31 mins 21 secs) and Liggatt in 12th (31 mins 41 secs).

Next to finish were Linforth (33rd in 33 mins 19 secs), Phil Reading (40th in 33 mins 29 secs), Drew Sambridge (42nd in 33 mins 41 secs), Teasdale (43rd in 33 mins 42 secs), Hutchinson (44th in 33 mins 43 secs) and Sam Wilks (48th in 34 mins 0 secs).

The rest of the Stratford team were made up of Richard Dobedoe (68th, 35.06) Max Ross (77th, 35.39), Rob Gisbourne (80th, 35.44), Wayne Vickers (83rd, 35.51), Koda Spriggs (84th, 35.22.), Joe Lee (88th, 35.58), Nick Campbell (116th, 37.21), Nick Cooper (122nd, 37.37), Chris Spriggs (164th, 39.50) and Mike Sheppard (208th, 42.20).

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