West Yorkshire Track & Field League
Report by: Martin Cunnane
A grandstand finish by Wakefield Harriers' female section at the Princess Mary Stadium, Cleckheaton, in the seventh and final West Yorkshire Track and Field League fixture secured the overall league title for a record sixth consecutive season.
Wakefield smashed their own winning points record in the process, and an improved turnout from the male athletes saw them finish second overall in the final league table to Skyrac AC, who ended Wakefield men's five-year stranglehold on their respective trophy.
The best performance on the day for Wakefield's females was provided by Naida Bromley in the U13 girls' section.
Bromley ended her league season with a sparkling track and field treble which underlined her tremendous all-round potential.
She started with a comfortable victory in the shot with a pb putt of 8.88m. She went on to complete a notable field double by claiming maximum no 2 in the discus where her winning effort of 25.02m again setting a new pb mark. Chloe Beckett supported well to claim the point for sixth place in both events with respective performances of 6.15m and 15.65m.
Bromley completed her treble in the 80m when her powerful running style proved too strong for clubmate Louise Shaw. The pair finished first and second in 11.1 and 11.3 secs respectively. Bingley's Rachel Long was third in 11.5 secs.
Bromley's final individual points total of 103 earned her the U13 girls' individual title by a massive 55 points margin over Tanya Brook of Parkside. She looks certain to develop into a class heptathlete.
In the U15 girls' competitions, Vicky Lambert gave her best performance of the year in the 200m. Running on strongly from the final bend, her long striding action carried her to an impressive two tenths of a second victory over team-mate Nicole Welsh who also put in an improved effort to take second place.
The winner and runner up clocked 27.3 and 27.5 secs respectively with Ruth Laybourne collecting third place points in 27.9 secs. Vicky Lockwood was sixth.
Carly Wright showed she is on the way to full recovery after returning from injury problems by scoring a runaway victory in the 1500m from club-mate Lucy Martin who continued her season's steady improvement by finishing a worthy runner up six seconds behind club-mate Wright who recorded 5 mins 18.4 secs.
First-year U15 Amy Fozzard ran well to finish third in 5 mins 27.6 secs, just holding off yet another Wakefield athlete, Samantha Colley, who took fourth a mere three tenths of a second adrift with Louise Hall finishing fifth to give Wakefield five out the six scoring berths in the race.
Defending U15 overall champion Ruth Laybourne collected the point for sixth place in the discus, giving her a final total of 74 points to successfully retain her title. Fozzard finished second overall with 42 points and Laura Robinson, unavailable for this match, finished third overall with the 38 points earned in the previous six league meetings.
Wakefield also supplied the overall winner and overall bronze medallist in the U17s section in Katie Richardson and Kirsty Hodson, who finished with 66 and 47 points respectively.
Hodson was another Wakefield athlete to turn out at the last fixture due to a family holiday but Richardson wrapped the winner's trophy up by collecting maximum points in the 200m after cruising to victory by a wide margin over S O'Connor of Spenborough. She won easing down in 27.6 secs.
In the 1500m, Aine Hoban kept on well but was denied by the determined running of Skyrac's Helen Grinstead who had 1.3 secs on the Wakefield girl at the line, winning in 5 mins 11.6 secs.
Junior athlete Fiona Westwood kept up Wakefield's momentum by winning the senior women's long jump competition by a wide margin, beating Bingley's Nicole Crosby by over 70cm with her winning leap of 5.65m.
Westwood was on the mark again in the 100m where she finished second in 12.8 secs to Crosby who turned the tables with a 12.3 secs victory with another of Wakefield's talent crop of juniors, specialist sprint hurdler Ruth Dales right behind in third just a tenth of a second down.
Dales also supplied the points from third in the 200m earned with a 27.5 secs run and sixth place in the discus behind Wakefield super vet' Jenny Cunnane, who took the honours by a clear margin over ex-Wakefield athlete Fiona Barr, who now represents Parkside.
Finally in the women's section, Jaydene Wright ran cleverly in the 600m, tracking Keighley's Rachel McCartney until the last bend when she accelerated to open up a winning five metre margin which she held comfortably to the line to beat Skyrac's Kate Newman, who finished strongly to take second place by two seconds in 2 mins 05.6 secs.
Wright's winning points gave her third place in the overall individual tables on 32 behind Alice Simpson of Bradford Airedale, who won with 58, and Skyrac's Newman, who finished second with 40.
Wakefield's women beat their own league points record by almost 80, having amassed 844 with Skyrac second on 296 and Bingley third with 182.
Wakefield's total domination was such that they scored 40 points more than the combined total of the points gained by the next five clubs, Skyrac, Bingley, Leeds City, Parkside and Halifax.
Highlight of the men's action was a duel between Wakefield pair Paul Sampson, Wasps and England RU star, and prolific West Yorkshire League sprint title winner Chris Bedford in the 100m.
Sampson, left the blocks at the gun and quickly opened up a two metre lead on Bedford, who has suffered all season with serious knee problems.
Bedford tried hard to get on terms but was never going to pull back the former English Schools U20 100m champ' who kept his form well to hold a two tenths of a second gap at the line, winning in a highly creditable 10.9 secs with Steve Thorpe also getting into the points taking fifth in 12.1 secs.
Bedford went on to score a bloodless victory in the 200m, winning by a wide margin easing up in 22.8 secs with club-mate Thorpe third in 24.5 secs. And he will be hard to oppose in the W Y League Championships which will be held at Cleckheaton on 5th September.
In the 1500m, won by Mark Warmby of Longwood in 4 mins 11.0 secs, Wakefield's Craig Heppenstall kept on well to finish fourth in 4 mins 16.6 secs.
In the U17 men's competitions, Yorkshire 200m champ' Jonathan Shearn took his first step on the come-back trail after a troublesome hip injury, staying on for third place in the 200m to finish fourth tenths of a second behind Parkside's Matt Clay, who won in 23.9 secs.
In the U15 boys' section, John Fletcher was another of Wakefield's athletes absent through holidays but the 51 points earned in the previous six meetings proved good enough to earn him second place individually overall behind runaway age-group winner Tom Jennings of Holmfirth who ended with 93.
On the day, Martyn Bernard won the high jump with a good 1.70m clearance, five centimetres clear of champion elect Jennings, and then went on to finish third in the shot with another reasonably good effort of 9.97m.
In the U13 boys competitions, James Fox sprinted superbly to notch a narrow victory over Halifax's Mark McGuire, winning on the dip with both athletes being allotted identical times of 11.2 secs.
Fox went on to add the points from fifth place in the long jump finishing 41cm behind Skyrac's Andrew Staniland who won with a best leap of 4.47m.
In the U11 boys' section, Scott Howe gave a good account of himself, continuing his steady improvement with a fine second place in the 75m just two tenths of a second behind Parkside's David Hartley, who won in 11.4 secs.
Hartley went on to complete the double, winning the 600m in 1 min 57 secs flat with Howe again scoring, finishing fifth in 2 mins 03.5 secs. Howe scored his third lot of points by finishing a good second in the shot competition after putting 5.58m, just 2cm behind the winner, David Shepherd of Skipton, with another Wakefield youngster James Richardson picking up the point for sixth spot.
The 12 points gained on the day by Howe helped him to move into second place in the final individual points table for the age group with 34, six points more than Shepherd of Skipton but well behind runaway age group winner Hartley of Skipton who collected a massive seasonal total of 81 points.