DESPITE a valiant effort, Stratford Athletic Club saw their Midland Track & Field League promotion hopes thwarted in the final match of the season.
Stratford and Leicester Coritanian headed into the final fixture battling to join Tipton Harriers in winning promotion, but the young Stratford team saw their hopes ended as many of their leading athletes were absent due to holidays and several more were injured.
Despite this, the Stratford team covered all 37 events, with only the men’s pole vault proving impossible to fill.
There was the welcome return of Rob Minton to the team who covered several unfamiliar events, as did Sarah Bland including a fine third place in the pole vault.
David Smyth was a surprise success in the hammer, discus and javelin, along with the 800m.
There was an impressive win for Emily Madden Forman in the triple jump, which she followed with victory in the 100m B race and third place in the long jump.
Paula Williams was another Stratford athlete who had a busy day.
She was second in the shot put, just pipped by Eden Francis of Leicester, third in the sprint hurdles, fourth in the B long jump and second in the B triple jump.
Her highlight was a superb win in the javelin with a new personal best.
Stratford’s only other individual winner was Alice Reed in the 1,500m as she led form the start, initially with five Tipton runners just behind her.
Gradually she dropped them with her consistent pace to win by three seconds.
Ultimately Stratford’s efforts were not quite enough as Leicester’s very strong team won the match, leaving Stratford in third place.
The current mixture of youth and experience bodes well for the future of the Stratford team who should be challenging at the top of the division next season.
Report compiled by Paul Hawkins.
The final league positions were (team, points, match points):
1) Tipton Harriers, 1637.5, 26
2) Leicester Coritanian, 1531, 23
3) Stratford, 1317, 20
4) Dudley & Stourbridge H, 1193.5, 16
5) Daventry, 1125.5, 12
6) Sutton-in-Ashfield, 1063, 10
7) Banbury, 768.5, 5