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Stratford AC veterans put in top performances at Midlands Vets Track and Field League cup final

STRATFORD AC finished an incredible third out of 15 teams at the Midland Vets Track and Field League cup final at the Pingles Stadium in Nuneaton.

The men's relay team of John Boxall, Alastair Webb, Joe Lee and Dave Wilson.
The men's relay team of John Boxall, Alastair Webb, Joe Lee and Dave Wilson.

Having once again qualified for the prestigious A final, the determined Stratford squad finished ahead of the likes of Birchfield Harriers and Royal Sutton Coldfield, as well as edging out local rivals Leamington by just 9.5 points.

On top of this, the achievement of finishing third was even more remarkable due to the fact team selection was hampered because of a fixture clash with the Stratford 10k.

Stratford’s very own golden trio of Paula Williams, Elaine Ledden and Dave Wilson were responsible for all ten of their outright victories and contributed 30 per cent of the points total.

Williams’s victories were in the W35 200m hurdles (31.9s), W40 100m (13.91s), W40 long jump (4.50m), W40 high jump (1.35m) and W40 shot (10.30m).

Ledden was victorious in the W60 400m (76.70s) and W60 triple jump (7.03m).

Wilson’s trio of victories were in the M50 100m (13.31s), M50 400m (62.79s) and the M50 triple jump (9.26m).

John Boxall was another team member who had an extremely busy day.

After finishing second in the M50 200m hurdles in a time of 33.8s, Boxall also finished fourth in the M50 high jump (1.30m), sixth in the M35 shot (7.15m), eighth in the M40 javelin (21,15m) and third in the M50 discus (22.12m).

Despite a lengthy period of injury and with him still not being fully recovered, Mark Illingworth rose to the occasion, earning 22 points by competing in the M60 100m (15.94s), M60 200m (33.70s), M40 hammer (9.49m), M35 discus (18.13m) and M60 javelin (21.25m).

Relative newcomer Alastair Webb competed outside of his comfort zone in the M35 800m (2:34.5) and he also competed in the M35 200m (28.00s) and M35 long jump (4.77m) as well as running in both relays.

Stratford AC at the Midland Vets Track and Field Cup final.
Stratford AC at the Midland Vets Track and Field Cup final.

Making a welcome return to the T&F arena was Martin Foster, who came fourth in the M60 800m (2:52) and fifth in the M60 1,500m (6:00.61).

Dave Battersby has been suffering from a sore achilles for sometime and the meeting also clashed with his daughter’s birthday.

Despite this, he agreed to make the journey to Nuneaton to compete in the M40 100m (13.56s).

It seemed a long way to come for a 13-second race, so when he discovered the club didn’t have a competitor in the M40 3,000m, he volunteered, running it in a time of 11:24.04.

Peter Sugden answered the call to compete in the pole vault, but twisted his ankle in the process. He still managed a clearance of 1.80m.

Joint team manager David Jones was totally exhausted at the end of the day after competing in the M70 100m (17.32s), M70 200m (35.65s), M70 shot (5.50m), M60 long jump (2.96m) and M70 triple (6.32m).

Richard Dobedoe rose from his sick bed to fill the M50 3,000m slot (11:11.60) while Brian Gravelsons managed a throw of 5.68m in the shot put.

Joe Lee, making his T&F debut, completed his M35 1,500m in 5:11.17 and Kim Lee completed her M35 3,000m in 14:54.66.

Following a couple of hasty coaching lessons, endurance runner Susan Hunt was able to throw 8.66m in the W50 discus and 4.12m in the W50 shot put.

Hannah Osborne, Kim Lee, Emma Bexson and Elaine Ledden of the ladies relay team.
Hannah Osborne, Kim Lee, Emma Bexson and Elaine Ledden of the ladies relay team.

She also competed in the W50 800m (3:22.1) and W50 1,500m (6:40.07).

Hannah Osborne competed in the W35 400m (76.47s), followed by a third place finish in the W35 200m (34.52) and an W35 triple jump of 6.14m.

She also competed in both relays. Emma Bexson was second in the W40 800m (2:55.7) and third in the W40 1500m (5:48.64). She also ran a leg of the 4x400 relay.

Another extremely busy athlete on the day was Liz Manzella, competing in the W50 100m (19.26s), W50 200m (41.53s) and W50 high jump (1.10m).

Racewalkers Gemma Smith and Kate Sergent both finished fourth in their respective W35 and W50 races. Smith in a time of 15:13.48 and Sergent in 15:03.63, contributing an invaluable ten points to the club’s total.

If anyone epitomised the spirit in the team it was septuagenarian Cindy Brittan. Giving up her place in the Stratford Big 10k, she embarked on coaching lessons for her W70 long jump, finishing third with a jump of 1.53m.

She also finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 3.67m and finally she came fourth in the W70 100m in a time of 27.70s, contributing 16 points in all.

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