Sat 8 Sept 2018, Bedford
Lower Young Athlete Development League National Final

Northern Champions Preston Harriers joined 6 other clubs which qualified through their regional areas for the season’s climax, the National Final in Bedford. This is the eighth time that Harriers have reached this stage with their best performance being fifth last year. This season the team was the strongest it has ever been with aspirations of winning the national title for the first time in the club’s history.

From the 50 events, Harriers athletes collected 42 individual and 3 relay medals, making a total of 45 (15 gold, 9 silver and 21 bronze). Each event had an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ competition except the 6 relays where there was only one competition. Medals were given to the first three athletes in each competition.

Harriers made a promising start with James Lupton coming second with 32.61m in the ‘A’ and Theo Bishop winning gold (31.56m) in the ‘B’ under 15 boys hammer, together with wins in both ‘A’ & ‘B’ under 15 boys’ hurdles by Taylor Jacob (11.57s) and Harry Burrow (11.83s). After 7 events Harriers were leading by 7 points from Edinburgh. The early lead changed hands many times between Edinburgh, Blackheath & Bromley, Sale and Preston, with Harriers always in the top 3.

Other gold medal winners were under 15 boys Will Walmsley in the ‘B’ long jump (5.42m), Isaac Delaney ‘B’ shot (11.76m) and Harry Burrow ‘B’ javelin (35.95m). Macy Noblett struck gold in the under 15 girls ‘A’ Shot (10.61m), while Emily Rankin was the only gold medallist in the under 13 girls winning the ‘B’ long jump(4.41m). There were 5 gold medallists in the under 13 boys. They were double gold medallist James Ince in the ‘A’ 75m hurdles (12.00s) and the ‘A’ long jump (4.84m), James Clark 100m ‘A’ (12.88s), Jay Whiteside in ‘A’ high jump (1.49m) and Harrison Kiley in the ‘A’ shot (9.62m). The final 2 gold medals were won by the under 13 girls and under 13 boys 4 x 100 relay teams.

With the match closely contested throughout the day, the climax came with only the 6 relays to run. Each of the four age groups ran a 4 x 100 and the under 15 girls and boys ran a 3 x 300m, giving a maximum of 42 points which could be scored.

The match position before the relays was:
1 Reading 487pts
2 Blackheath & Bromley  483.5pts
3 Preston Harriers 480.5pts
Just 6.5 point separating the top 3 clubs.

First, the four 4 x 100m were run with Harriers winning both the under 13 boys and girls races and being placed 3rd in the under 15 girls and 5th in under 15 boys to score the team 22 points while Reading scored 20 points and Blackheath 13 pts

The Match position after the 4 x 100 but before the two 4 by 300m were
1 Reading 507pts
2 Preston Harriers 502.5pts
3 Blackheath & Bromley 496.5pts

Blackheath scored 13 points in the 4 x 300m while Harriers scored 7 points and Reading 10points. This meant that Harriers finished equal second place with Blackheath just 7.5 points behind winners Reading.

Match Result
1 Reading 517pts
2 = PRESTON HARRIERS 509.5pts
2 = Blackheath & Bromley 509.5pts
4 Sale 497.5pts
5 Edinburgh 483pts
6 Cardiff 454pts
7 Milton Keynes 412.5pts