Depleted Stratford AC edged out on final day

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Stratford Athletic Club’s Grace Fairweather in action during the 200m at Redditch.

STRATFORD AC’s hopes of retaining the Heart of England League championship slipped through their fingers following a nail-biting finish in the final match of the season at Redditch.

The complicated way the results are compiled ensured the Stratford team just had their noses in front of the very strong Rugby & Northampton AC team heading into the last match.

Alex Evans in action during the 80m hurdles event.
Alex Evans in action during the 80m hurdles event.

The dominant under-15 and under-17 squads continued their march towards their respective age group titles, but a weakened under-13 squad couldn’t quite amass enough points, despite a good team effort, to contribute the points needed to retain the title.

The blustery conditions played havoc all afternoon, but consistent performances throughout the age groups, picking up points and excelling on the day by producing personal bests is one of the strengths of Stratford athletes.

The under-15 middle distance runners proved the point, with Owain Jones (4.41.7), Dylan Williams (5.00.1) in the boys and Georgie Campbell (5.07.6) in the girls winning their races.

They were followed by a double win in the 800m by Adam Bayliss (2.13.6) and Rhys Mahon (2.23.3).

Another double win for the under-15s came in the long jump — Barunka Lowe (4.58) and Grace Fairweather (4.15).

Daniel Boyd has been the epitome of consistency this season and he claimed a treble win in the under-17 100m (11.6), 200m (24.00) and the B long jump (5.78).

The club is well known for its prowess in high jump with under-13s Adam Farrow (1.50 PB), Evie Lowe (1.42 PB), under-15 Rowan Love (1.54), under-17s Oliver Cresswell (1.80) and Issy Cain Daley (1.65) all bettering the windy conditions to record wins.

Elaine Ledden, joint under-13 team manager. said: “All the respective age group team managers couldn’t be happier with the effort and quality of the overall team’s performance over the season.

“But the final result showed that with late withdrawals and the unavailability of key athletes, we just couldn’t do enough to get over the final hurdle.”

Mike Sheppard, Stratford AC’s under-15 team manager, added: “The result was a fantastic effort from the whole team

“The results really reward consistent performances across every event, so it makes a huge difference to the overall outcome when our athletes are all so willing to support the team by competing in events that are not necessarily their first choice.

“Although missing retaining the title by the narrowest of margins is a bit disappointing, this in no way detracts from what has been a great campaign. And our mission for next year is clear!”