West Yorkshire Track & Field League
Report by: Martin Cunnane
Wakefield Harriers athletes from all age groups were in first-class medal-winning action in the recent fourth from seven West Yorkshire Track and Field League meetings.
The female section of the club took full advantage of the home draw at Wakefield's Thornes Park Stadium to all but wrap up the women's overall league title for a record sixth successive year.
In the U13s girls section the multi-talented Naida Bromley scored two maximums, strengthening her position at the top of the individual league points table. First she led home clubmate Ruth Jones in the 70m hurdles, winning in 12.3 secs, with Jones completing the one-two in 12.8 secs. She went on to score a comfortable win in the shot competition, completing a notable track and field double with her evening's best putt of 7.47m.
In the 800m, won by Becky Townsend in 2 mins 31.8 secs, Wakefield's Jan Faulkner earned her highest-ever league finish. She ran on well to secure fifth place in 2 mins 46.5 secs.
The Harriers' successes continued apace in the U15 girls competitions where Emily Mason headed a Wakefield cleansweep of the major placings in the 75m hurdles.
Clearing the obstacles in good style, she held off team-mate Amy Fozzard 12.6 to 12.8 secs with overall individual league leader for the age group Ruth Laybourne collecting third place points in 13 secs flat.
Wakefield were even more dominating in the 100m where Katie Smith kept up her run of impressive performances with a narrow victory over teammate Laura Robinson, winning by a tenth of a second in a highly creditable 13.1 secs.
Victoria Lockwood secured third place points, recording 13.3 secs and Ruth Laybourne got into the points again in fourth, clocking 13.4 secs.
Spenborough's Rachel Gobbi spoiled an unprecedented first six home by taking fifth place in front of Harriers duo Olivia Smith and Nicola Welsh who finished joint fifth on 13.7 sees.
In the 800m, won by Pudsey and Bramley's Sarah Holah in a speedy 2 mins 19 secs flat, first-year U15 Zoe Gowland finished fifth overall in 2 mins 28 secs.
In the U17 women's section, Katie Richardson kept the ball rolling for Wakefield, opening her account for the evening by taking maximum points from the long jump, earned with her best leap of 5.05m. Kirsty Hodson and Jenny Handley ensured yet another Harriers cleansweep of the major placings by finishing second and third with respective jumps of 4.74m and 4.68m.
Richardson was denied a track and field double by Halifax's Katie Metcalfe who won the 100m in 12.7 secs, relegating the Wakefield girl to the runners-up spot with Handley collecting fourth and Hodson again getting into the points in fifth position.
In the senior women's section, Elaine Sutcliffe finished third in the competitive 100m in 12.7 secs, beaten by Bingley's Nicole Crosby, who won in 12.4 secs, and Trafford's Sue Briggs in 12.5 secs.
Junior hurdler Ruth Dales finished fourth in 13.2 secs with Janet Robinson continuing on the comeback trail after ten years out of the sport in fifth place in 13.3 secs.
Robinson also ran in the 400m, putting up a tremendous performance to vie for the lead until the last 50 metres when lack of race fitness told and she faded back to a honourable third clocking 64.1 secs - less than two seconds behind race winner Rebecca Lindsey of Leeds City who won in 62.5 secs.
Robinson looks certain to continue on the upgrade and could still regain the form that saw her set the 12-year-old West Yorkshire League 400m record in 1987.
Also in the age category, Jenny Cunnane scored a comfortable victory in the discus, winning with her evening's best effort of 32.44m with juniors Becky Leach fifth and Vikki Mills sixth overall.
At the other end of the age scale, G Avery made her league debut for Wakefield in the U11s girls' 75m and came away with a highly respectable fourth place in a speedy 11.8 secs behind race winner and overall age group points total leader Alice Simpson of Bradford Airedale who won in 11.4 secs.
In the men's section, Wakefield were again desperately short of performers though they did come up with a hat-trick of winners headed by quality U17 middle distance runner Alex Senior who sidestepped the 1500m for a bit of sprint training in the U17 men's 400m. And he surprised everybody by seeing off the long sprinters to grab maximum points after an exciting extended battle with Halifax's Rob McKenzie. The Wakefield youth proved too strong in the final 20m and won by three tenths of a second in a personal best 53.1 secs.
Carrying on in the U17s, James Wild secured win no 2 in the high jump, claiming victory with his best clearance of 1.91m and setting a new league record.
Michael Walker finished sixth in the 1500m, clocking a pb 4 mins 20.6 secs behind Robert Spencer of Skyrac who won in 4 mins 14.9 secs.
In the U 15s boys' events, talented all-rounder Martyn Bernard cleared 1.66m to win the high jump by a wide margin and with a best height this season of 1.79m looks set to go on to big things in the discipline.
First-year U15 John Fletcher found Holmfirth's Tom Jennings just too strong for him in the 100m, but beat the rest of the field comfortably to finish half a second runner-up in 13 secs flat.
At U13 boys' level, Wakefield's solitary scorer was James Fox whose 6.80m putt proved good enough for second place overall behind event winner Andrew Staniland of Skyrac who collected maximum points with his best putt of 8.62m.
Also in the senior men's section, Mark Ainsworth ran solidly to finish third in the 400m in 52.8 secs behind Pudsey and Bramley's Danny Hermann who won in 50.7 secs.
In the 800m, won by Skyrac's Jonathan Keith in 2 mins 02.5 secs, J Lloyd made a promising debut in club colours, running on in workmanlike fashion to finish a respectable second in 2 mins 05.4 secs.