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National Junior Mens League

Report by: Martin Cunnane

23rd May 1999 - Moorways Stadium, Derby

Wakefield Harriers' U20 men's team has been in action at the Moorways Stadium, Derby, where, despite being desperately short of athletes, the squad acquitted itself well to finish fifth from seven teams.

The final placing means the U20s stay one step ahead of the relegation zone.

Wakefield had only eight athletes on duty on the day and out of them only two were U20s. The rest were from the club's U17s section.

Best performance of the day was provided by super all-rounder Chris Hougff, who scored a notable field A-string double.

He won the A javelin by just over a metre from Hull Combined's Tim Morton with a throw of 52.59m before completing the double with a comfortable victory in the A high jump earned with his best on the day clearance of 1.85m.

Hougff was denied an A-string treble by Chesterfield's Peter Favell who beat the Wakefield youth into second place in the A triple jump, winning by just over a metre with a best jump of 13.43m.

Hougff also finished third in the A110m hurdles and ran a leg of the sprint relay to end his valuable contribution to Wakefield's final points total.

Another of Wakefield's field eventers to perform admirably was specialist hammer thrower Robert Taylor who gave the Harriers the best possible start to the day's proceedings by seeing off the opposition by a wide margin in the A hammer. He beat Rotherham's Gary Winchcombe by over 10 metres with his winning throw of 51.68m.

Taylor went on to add the points from fifth place in the A shot, fifth place in the B javelin and then took a point from the A discus competition.

He ended a sterling day's work by showing Wakefield's absent athletes the meaning of team work by hauling his not inconsiderable frame around the track to collect the points from second place in the lung bursting 2000m steeplechase, a magnificent performance that earned him the loudest applause of the day.

First-year U17 Steve Faulkner continued his return to form with another super effort in the A 800m Finding lan Whittaker of Rotherham just too strong for him over the final 100m, the Wakefield youngster had to settle for a honourable second place just over a second behind his older opponent in a speedy 2 mins 7 secs flat.

Faulkner also rallied round to score points in other events, finishing fourth in the B hammer and fourth in the B high jump before ending with a leg in the 4x400m relay.

Another first-year U17, John Uridge, justified his team place with second in the B triple jump, gained with his day's best leap of 11.74m.

But despite the under-strength team's best efforts they could manage only fifth place with 212 points behind winners Rotherham on 288 points.

Final placings: Rotherham 288, Scunthorpe and District 279, Chesterfield, 257, Grimsby 237, Wakefield 212, Hull Combined 178, Hull Springhead 120.

The Harriers must have a better turnout of athletes in the remaining three fixtures if their league position is to be improved.