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Northern Mens League

Report by: Martin Cunnane

31st July 1999 - Leverhulme Park, Bolton

Wakefield Harriers' severely depleted senior men's squad battled hard to stave off relegation but found it a bridge too far despite the heroic efforts of the small band of athletes available for duty.

The team finished an honourable sixth on the day at the ultra important North of England Men's League division one fixture staged at Bolton's Leverhulme Park Stadium and their total of 310 points was just 17 short of third place and safety.

The match scores on the day saw Cleveland run out winners with 345 points. Next were Rotherham (329), Leeds City (326), Bolton (320) and Mandale (312). Then came Wakefield (310), Hull (302) and Gateshead (255) and the points from the fixture saw Cleethorpes crowned as champions from Leeds City, with the Harriers and Gateshead condemned to division two.

Senior sprinter Chris Bedford turned out despite suffering from a severe knee problems and showed his undoubted ability by powering to victory in the A 200m just getting up on the line to pip Rotherham's Mike Bradley on the dip to win in 22.3 secs.

Bedford just failed to make it an A string double when the tables were turned in the A 100m, being beaten by the thickness of a vest by Rotherham's Chris Hamilton, both athletes being awarded 11.0 secs.

Even Matt Gillard's heroics in competing in six individual events and both relays were not enough to save the Harriers from the drop.

Decathlete Gillard, just returning from action after a spell on the easy list through injury, scored with second place in the A shot; third in the B 200m; seventh in the B 100m; fifth in the A pole vault; fifth in the A 400m hurdles and third in the B discus, before ending his shattering schedule with runs in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Chris Carlton also made his presence felt in only his second outing of the season, scoring valuable points from a win in the B shot, fifth in the B javelin and seventh in the B triple jump and he will be sure to benefit from a proper training schedule this winter.

Junior thrower Robert Taylor finished second in the hammer with 46.17m behind top UK junior Ross Thompson of Gateshead who won with a mighty 56.83m effort.

James Lloyd recorded a personal best 4 mins 09.6 secs for fifth place in the A 1500m behind Matthew Raw, who won in 4 mins 01.2 secs.

Lloyd, a comparative novice has progressed nicely in his last few outings this season and could progress to be a more than useful performer.

Other Wakefield squad members on duty were: Craig Heppenstall, Mark Ainsworth, Alex Senior, Andy Johnson, Dave Needham, Gary Slade, lan Howey, Chris Plater, Mike Skells, Pat McTigue and James Wild.