THE FINAL round of the Midland Veterans League brought another strong performance from the whole of the Stratford Athletic Club team.
In the club’s most successful season to date, they again finished the season in second place behind the all-conquering Worcester team but they reduced the total points deficit from 169 last year to 101.5.
The women reduced the deficit from 83.5 to 59.5 and the men from 85.5 to just 42.
On the night, the women’s team finished joint first with Worcester, both teams finishing on 141 points. The men finished second on the night, with Stratford finished second overall.
The Stratford women completely dominated the field events, only dropping four points out of a possible 64. Paula Williams set a league record of 36.16m in the W40 javelin and also had convincing victories in the W35 long jump (4.36m), W40 triple jump (9.61m) and W40 200m (29.5).
Christine Coote was third in the W60 shot put with a club record 6.80m and was victorious in the W60 triple jump with 6.05m. She was also third in the W60 200m (36.1).
Jan Turner finished second in the long jump with a W70 club record of 2.22m and earned valuable points in the 200m (46.0).
Debutant Liz Crabtree won the W50 discus with 21.08m while Sarah Bland was second in the W35 pole vault with 1.50m.
Hannah Osborne showed her usual versatility on the track by competing in the W35 200m (36.5), 800m (3:02.9) and 3000m (13:56.8).
Elaine Ledden set a W50 200m club record of 32.5, while Emma Bexson placed third in the W40 800m (2:59.8) and fourth in the W40 3000m (12:33.0).
Maggie McLeod enjoyed a great night by taking second place in the W50 3000m in a club record 14:39.8.
In the 2,000m race walk there were good team performances from Kate Sergent (W50 4:01.2) and Gemma Smith (W35 16:26.3) and Sergent also set a W60 club record in the 800m (4:01.2).
It was a busy but successful night for Rob Minton and Peter Coote. Minton showed his range of ability by winning the M40 200m in 26.4 and the M40 800m in 2:19.4 and he also finished fifth in the 3,000m in 10:41.0.
Coote was second in both the M60 hammer (21.05m) and long jump (2.70m). These, along with third-placed finishes in the pole vault (1.50m) and 200m (33.9), capped another hectic night.
Rich Shephard, competing in his first track event for 25 years, equalled the M35 club record when finishing third in the M35 3,000m in 9:42.2.
Paul Hawkins won the M50 2,000m race walk in 12:09.4, while Malcolm Bowyer was second in the M40 race in 13:20.9. Bowyer later finished fourth in the M50 3,000m in 12:13.6.
Roger Milbourn was second in the M40 shot (8.93m), while Andrew Reeves finished third in the M35 triple jump (9.67m) and 200m (28.8). There were also third-placed finishes over 200m for David Wilson in the M50 race (27.7) and Phil Brennan in the M70 race (38.3).
Drew Sambridge, who ran 27.3 in a non-scoring 200m race, clocked 2:26.2 in the M35 800m, while David Jones ran 2:55.6 to finish fourth in the M60 800m.
The 4x100m relays rounded off a successful night. The men’s team of Minton, Wilson, Sambridge and Reeves took victory in a club record of 51.1. Not to be outdone, the women’s team of Ledden, Osborne, Williams and Bexson also set a club record of 62.1.
Attentions now turn to the end-of-season cup final which takes place in Nottingham on Saturday, August 31.
Report compiled by Andy Reeves.