UK Womens League
Report by: Martin Cunnane
Wakefield Harriers' senior women's squad pulled off one of the shocks of the season at Coventry in their penultimate UK Women's League second division clash.
Despite being without first team choice Emily Freeman, Emma Phillips, Elaine Sutcliffe and Fiona Westwood, the rest of the team fought magnificently to overcome league leaders Glasgow and post a glorious victory which leaves them poised to claim promotion to Division 1 of the UK Women's League.
Wakefield's challenge was spearheaded by international heptathlete Kerry Jury who opened her account by taking maximum points from the A long jump with a fine leap of 5.86m, beating Coventry's J White by just six centimetres.
Jury followed up by proving too strong for City of Glasgow's Gillian Rostek in the 200m where her sheer power over the last 25m saw her home by a two tenths margin in 24.6 secs - a good time considering the wind speed against of -4.3.
Jury also finished second in the B high jump before ending a productive day with runs in both the 4x 100m and 4x400m relays.
Wakefield's other international on duty, Shirley Griffiths, moved up from her favoured 1500m to the 3000m because of a troublesome shin problem but her class shone through as she galloped to victory the A race with the utmost of ease. After tracking City of Glasgow's Ann McPhail for most of the race, she broke clear starting the final lap and had an eight-second buffer at the line, winning in 9 mins 55.9 secs.
Alice Butler clocked a season's best 2 mins 11.8 secs in the A 800m, finishing fastest of all to beat everyone except Coventry's M Baker with the line just coming in time to save the local runner with Butler having to settle for second place a tenth of a second away from victory.
Butler also weighed in with sixth place in the A 400m as well as running a leg of the 4x400m relay.
Yorkshire heptathlon champ' Becky Foster also played her part, finishing second in both the B 100m hurdles and B javelin competitions before ending her individual contribution with a valuable victory in the B long jump earned with her best on-the-day leap of 5.27m. Foster also ran a leg of the sprint relay.
Ruth Dales faced Atlanta Olympic hurdles heroine Angie Thorpe representing Wigan AC in the A 100m hurdles.
Thorpe, the UK record holder, duly obliged in a speedy 13.8 secs with junior Dales picking up fourthplace points in 15.9 secs. Dales also finished seventh in the A 100m as well as running a leg of the sprint relay.
Penny Thackray provided her first league points for the club, stepping down to the 800m and 1500m distances. She finished fourth in the A 1500m, recording 4 mins 43 secs behind Glasgow's Vicky Bothams who won in 4 mins 33.8 secs, before going on to fill the same position in the B 800m, clocking 2 mins 16.9 secs behind Glasgow's J McDewitt, who won in 2 mins 16 secs flat.
Shelley Tomlins kept on bravely in the B 3000m and was rewarded with fourthplace points.
Julia Sykes provided points from seventh place in the B 400m, eighth in the 200m and she also ran a leg of the 4x400m relay, helping Wakefield to a creditable third place behind Peterborough in a combined 4 mins 02 secs.
Another of the winning 4x400m squad, Sarah Beevers, had earlier given Wakefield a positive start to the day's proceedings by working hard in the A 400m hurdles to claim fourth place overall in 67.3 secs before going on to deputise at late notice in the B 100m where she finished eighth.
Final track performer was junior Clare Dunstan who stepped into the unfamiliar 400m hurdles and finished a hard earned fifth in the B race as well as providing valuable points in the B triple jump where she finished a good third.
In the field events, Wakefield's squad was outstanding and provided a steady flow of match-winning points.
The plethora of creditable performances was headed by an A and B string double in the shot where Victoria Shepherd won the A competition with an 11.96m putt, and junior thrower Natalie Jackson won the B with a 10.89m effort.
Jenny Cunnane provided her usual clutch of points, starting with second place in the A pole vault with a 3.10m clearance behind Ashfield's Maria Newton who won with 3.30m.
Cunnane went on to finish third in the A hammer with 42.40m behind Liverpool's Vikki Scott, who won with 48.09m. The Wakefield veteran ended her day with third place in the B discus competition.
Junior thrower Helen Taylor carried on her run of good performances by taking maximum points from the B hammer competition with her best throw of 38.86m.
And another junior, Michelle Lonsdale, provided fourth-place points from the A javelin despite having to break from the competition to run the anchor leg in the sprint relay, helping Wakefield to fifth place.
Judith Payne's best clearance of 1.70m in the A high jump earned second-place points behind Glasgow's Gillian Black, who won with 1.75m. Payne also deputised in the A triple jump and claimed the point for eighth place.
Amanda Shepherd finished third in the A discus with her day's best throw of 40m flat despite still suffering from an Achilles tendon problem.
Wakefield's win moved them up to second in the second division table on 14 points, just a single point behind Glasgow.
And with the joint thirdplaced teams, Liverpool Harriers and Coventry Godiva, having amassed just nine points each only a major disaster can stop Wakefield completing their season's main objective of promotion to the UK Women's League First Division.