Northern League Division 1, York
Sun 8 July 2018

Preston Harriers’ senior team find themselves in a similar position to last season, fighting to stay in the top division, after their latest match at York. Harriers finished 5th of 6 teams in the match and now are in 5th position in the league with a final match at UCLAN Sports Arena to come next month. The bottom 2 teams in the league have a chance of keeping their status by finishing in the top 2 in a promotion match in Doncaster in late August. Harriers did that last year to preserve their top-flight status. Harriers’ plight was due to a lack of available athletes. When athletes were available as in the first match at Wigan, Harriers finished second. Team spirit prevailed with athletes covering many events that were not their first or second choice to score points for the team. Harriers (327.5pts) were only 6.5 points behind 4th placed Wigan (334pts) and 17.5 points behind 3rd placed West Cheshire (355pts).

Eighteen-year-old Byron Sowerby had a brilliant day setting a massive new lifetime best of 10.22.7 in winning the 3000 metres steeplechase, a 51.8secs improvement, with his closest rival nearly 30 seconds behind. He ran the 1500 metres and then for the first time competitively cleared 1.40 metres in the high jump. Mother Caroline (ladies’ team manager) and daughter Sophie Warden again led by example. Sophie competed in 5 individual events winning the 400m hurdles (70.1 seconds) and finishing 2nd in the long jump (5.26m), 3rd in the 200m (26.9sec) and 400m (62.2 sec), then 5th in the shot (7.61m). Caroline, who will compete in the World Masters Championships later this year, was 2nd in the long jump (4.58), 3rd in the 100 metres hurdles (19.6sec), and 5th in the hammer (14.15metres). Emily Wiggins set new personal bests of 18.2secs and 7.05.9 to finish 2nd and 4th respectively in the 100m hurdles and the 1500m. Hollie Suffolk equalled her personal best in both the 100m (13.3sec) and 200m (27.4sec). 400 metre specialist Sharon Wilkinson gave up her place in the 400m to run the 1500m and 3000m.

Alex Marsden had a sprints double winning the ‘A’ races at 100m (11.2 sec) and 200m (22.7 sec). English schools qualifier Josh Leatherd ran 22.3secs in the ‘B’ 200m race. Josh Ingham set a new lifetime best of 11.3 in the 100m ‘B’ race, then followed that by running 51.1secs in 400m, and finally he threw the hammer and compete in the long jump. Stalwart Steve Hallas had a busy afternoon running the 800m, 1500m and the 3000m. Harriers’ leading senior thrower Tom Crowe equalled his lifetime best discus throw of 34.29m and followed that by recording 29.36m and 10.92m in the hammer and shot. Pole vaulter Tom Booth, ranked 19th in Britain, has returned to compete after a year away from the sport and cleared 4.60 metres to win the event. A lifetime best of 12.91metres, an improvement of 69cm, in the triple jump by Ethan Tibbs moved him up to 24th ranked under 17 in the country. He also jumped 6.18m and 1.75m in the long jump and high jump respectively.

Harriers need to finish 4 places higher than Wigan in the last match at Preston to secure their First Division Status or be in the top 2 in the promotion match.