Sun 19 May 2019, Preston
Sunday 19th May was the first match of the 2019 season for the Northern Senior League teams.  The teams we were against were an unknown to Harriers as we were in a lower division than previous years, but we didn’t let this deter from fielding a strong team. Team managers Sarah Suffolk and David Rigby worked hard leading up to match day to ensure the teams were as strong as possible.  The ladies team was so full, the only event they didn’t fill was one pole vault place. The men had a few more gaps – 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles and steeplechase. These gaps didn’t stop every athlete giving their all.

It was nice to see some new faces in the teams. Andy Grundy took advantage of some of our sprinters being away at university and stepped up to run the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay, setting a personal best time in both individual sprints, along with Matthew Povey who joined Andy in the 100m & 4x100m relay. Scarlett Allison (U17) agreed to fill the second space for the women’s 3000m and like Andy gained a personal best. Abigail Earnshaw, another U17 athlete, helped out in the 800m ‘B’ race which she duly won along with Libby Huxley who was second in her 1500m. Carol Holt took part in the 100m & 200m in her first season of athletics and was delighted with two personal bests.  U17 Luke Suffolk stepped in to compete in the men’s pole vault, 400m and the 4x400m relay.

Sharon Wilkinson was delighted to run her fastest time for the 400m since 2017, what a great start to the season. Caroline Warden not only competed in her favoured event of the long jump but after only two weeks training, she took part in the women’s pole vault and gained maximum points as she took the win. Sophie Warden and Hollie Suffolk were very happy to run seasons’ bests in the 400m hurdles and 200m respectively. Amy Lupton put the power from her Crossfit training to use in the triple jump and all the throws except hammer and was more than pleased with the results.  Both women’s relay teams ran storming races, with Hollie, Sophie and Katie running both relays, the 4x100m team winning and the 4x400m coming in a strong 2nd.

European Heart Transplant Shot Champion Gary Still had an outstanding day winning both the shot and discus ‘B’ competition with 9.81m and 31.26m respectively. Fellow thrower Tom Crowe won the ‘A’ shot and discus and then won the ‘B’ hammer with 10.86m, 34.62m and 29.36m respectively. Further wins in the men field events were recorded by Ethan Tibbs in the ‘A’ long jump (6.11m), Will Whiteside ‘B’ high jump (1.60m) and Ethan Hallas ‘B’ triple jump (11.31m). Daniel Neal was Harriers’ only male track winner recording 4.09.5 for the ‘B’ 1500 metres.

With eight events to be added to the final scores we were 3 points ahead of Bolton.  It was going to be a tight finish, but once all the results were inputted into the system it was a win for Preston Harriers, with a total of 416 points to Bolton in 2nd place on 394 points.