April is supposed to be spring time but it was a bitterly cold day in Birmingham for the first YDL match of the season. Alexander Stadium is an impressive venue for a junior athletics match but the covered stands meant that the crowd were shivering in their seats.
That didn’t affect the atmosphere for the team though. On our return to the Premier divisions we fielded a strong team combining the experience of our long-standing athletes with the enthusiasm of our new recruits. For many athletes this was not only their first competition of the season but the first proper league match of their lives.
Our final finishing position, fifth out of six was a reflection of standard of opposition we encountered – definitely a step up from last year. However we were not not-classed and our U15 Boys team was the top performing team in their category. The final difference between Notts AC and the Birchfield who came 4th was just 40 points – a margin which we can make up across the season.
The team result is one thing – but for the individuals the most important thing is their own performance and it is safe to say that we had an extraordinary number of personal bests (over 45!) spread across the team. Individual highlights included Ollie Lloyd and Alex Cooper with a double win in the 300m, Poppy Malik dominating the U13G sprint events, Jacob Clark for the second week on the bounce exceeding the English Schools standard and Amelia Briggs-Goode producing PBs in both the hurdles and the 800m The U13B effort was spearheaded by Casper Gordon-Brown and Freddie Cooper both in their first YDL and their efforts combined with the two Alfies in the U15B showed that the future of sprinting at Notts AC remains very bright. Lily May Lawrence also had a great day with a PB in the hurdles and a PB in the shot.
Just as important to the team effort is the less-eye catching performances from those who are less experienced or are doing events that are not their speciality. Teddy Palfreyman came 4th in the A-race of the U13 hurdles when he had never hurdled before; Jamal Richardson filling in on the U15B hurdles took a nasty fall on the first hurdle but still completed the race (later it turned out he had fractured his elbow); William Haw producing PBs in both his events; the U13G and U13B relays teams, with little or no preparation, producing performances from nowhere.
As usual space runs out before I can mention everyone but I’m sure that by the end of the season the whole team will produce performances like these.
Looking forward to the next match there are several areas we need to strengthen – in particular we missed several events because we had no competitors – U15G Discus, U15G Hammer and U15G Pole Vault. We need volunteers for these events – coaching is available – and even the shortest throw earns the team points!
The next match is on the 21st May at Harvey Haddon – let’s welcome the other teams to our home track and have another great day!