STRATFORD-upon-Avon Athletic Club (SAC) cruelly missed out on promotion in the Midland Track and Field League at the Norman Green Athletic track in Solihull.
SAC started the day in second place in Division Three, with three teams battling it out for two promotion places and just two points separating first from third ahead of the final meeting of the season.
However, Stratford were left playing catch up for most of the day and ultimately fell 15.5 match points short as promotion rivals Yate and District AC and Cheltenham and County Harriers both finished ahead of them.
In the end, Yate finished three points clear at the top of the standings with Cheltenham and Stratford tied on 22 league points apiece.
Cheltenham secured the second and final promotion having accumulated more match points over the course of the season.
SAC team manager Mike Sheppard said: “We finished a narrow third on the day, in the end, and an even narrower third for the season, with the same overall league points as Cheltenham in second, but with a slightly fewer match points in aggregate.
“Well done and thank you to everyone who has competed and/or officiated for Stratford this season.
“There have been ups and downs as always but every match has been great fun.
“With so many outstanding contributions it seems unfair to single out individuals, but I’ll make an exception for Paula Williams, Caleb Spriggs and Emma Sparrow who have been our three ever presents across the season.”
And the club’s veterans team headed to Worcester for the final league match of their track and field season with six athletes making their debuts.
New club records were achieved by David Jones who threw 10.82m in the M70 discus, Christine Coote who ran 3 minutes 45 seconds in the W60 800m and Andy List who finished the 200m in 28.90 seconds.
Club athletes Pip Bell (W50,14:46.00 ) and Philippa Paddock (W40, 14:23.00 ) ran well on debut in the 3000m whilst Kim Lee (13:25.00) was in top form.
There was also a debut for Dan Hutchings who jumped 9.94m in the triple jump (non-scoring event) before running 30.1 secs in the 200m and 2 mins 42.7 secs in the 800m (both scoring events) to finish second in both races and earn valuable points.
One of the top races of the night was the men’s 3000m which was effectively three races in one, with M35, M40 and M50 runners competing together.
In the M35 race, debutant Richard Liggatt led from gun to tape for much of the race and looked comfortable throughout before finding an extra burst in the home straight to win in a time of 9 mins 44.5 secs.
He was supported by Matt Burdus-Cook who finished second in the M40 race in 9 mins 45.1 secs whilst Peter Sugden (11 mins 21.3 secs) was fifth in the M50 race.
In the race walking, veterans Kate Sergent and Gemma Smith competed alongside debutants John Devine and Pete Sugden.
Sergent and Smith finished confidently in 14:19.2 (second, W50) and 14:22.00 (second, W35) respectively, whilst Sugden (15:44.00, fourth, M50) and Devine (15:37.00, third, M40) did themselves and the club proud by scoring important points.
Other excellent results on the night came from the women’s 4x100m relay team of Hannah Osborne, Christine Coote, Elaine Ledden and Kim Lee, who finished second in 1 min 10.20 secs, and the men’s 4x100m quartet of Andy List, Richard Liggatt, Pete Sugden and Max Ross who were second in 56.10 secs.
And other notable results came from Alaistair Webb (first in M35 triple jump) who achieved a personal best of 9.94m to beat his 2021 distance of 9.75m after an injury plagued season.
Elsewhere, Mark Illingworth was second M60 in the hammer with 17.27m and John Devine was sixth in the M40 shot put with a throw of 6.53m.
Elaine Ledden continued her outstanding form to win the W60 200m in 31.70 secs and also brought home the 100m relay team.
She also found time to jump 6.99m in the triple jump as Elizabeth Manzella excelled in the discus, achieving a personal best of 11.69m.
It was another successful season for Stratford’s Vets team who once again finished in second place overall behind the all conquering Worcester team.
Both Stratford’s ladies and men’s teams also finished in second place, again behind Worcester.
The focus now moves to the Vets Track and Field Cup Final at The Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton on Sunday, September 4 with Stratford qualifying for the ‘A’ Final.