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Yorkshire County Track & Field Championships 1999

Reports by: Martin Cunnane

8th & 9th May 1999 - Princess Mary Stadium, Cleckheaton

Senior Womens Junior Womens U17/15/13 Girls Mens and Boys

Senior Womens Meeting Report

Jenny Cunnane Wakefield Harriers were in championship winning form at the Princess Mary Athletics Stadium Cleckheaton, where they scooped a record 20 county titles. They also captured 27 silver and 14 bronze medals to once again confirm Wakefield Harriers as the top club in Yorkshire. Wakefield set a second record on the day with a massive medals haul of 61.

The club's performances were all the more impressive considering they were without the services of senior stars Darren Spawforth, Steve Lowe, Matthew Gillard, Paul Sampson, Paul Sutcliffe, Julia Sykes, Alice Beecroft and Lindsay Jones, all missing through a variety of reasons.

Couple this with the unpopular cancellation of the U17 men's and junior women's hammer competitions, the senior women's pole vault and all the relay competitions by the Yorkshire men's and women's championship committee, and Wakefield were denied the chance of defending the four titles and three silver medals gained in the corresponding events last year.

Wakefield's senior women headed the medal spree, led by fifth-placed Commonwealth Games heptathlete Kerry Jury who came away from the championships with no fewer than six medals.

The haul included a good win in the long jump with a highly respectable 5.92m leap to set up a Wakefield one-two with last year's Yorkshire heptathlon champ' Becky Foster picking up the silver with her day's best effort of 5.37m.

Jury also picked up silver in the high jump behind Huddersfield based international jumper Jo Jennings of Rugby and District, whose winning mark of 1.84m set a new championship record. She added bronze behind Sale's Carol White in the javelin, where clubmate Foster took her second silver of the championships with a 41.03m effort just over two metres behind the winner.

Jury also picked up bronze in the shot behind Sale's Nicola Gautier, finishing with 11.13m, the same distance as club-mate and silver medallist Amanda Sheppard, who took the runners up spot by virtue of her next best throw. Foster finished fourth overall just 11 cm behind the medal placings.

Jury's spectacular all-round performance continued in the hurdles where she failed by a few hundredths of a second to peg back junior international Gautier in the 100m hurdles final, eventually having to settle for a well deserved silver in 14.10 secs.

Jury's final medal came in the 200m final on the Sunday when she pushed Trafford international Janine Whitlock, who had broken Dorothy Hyman's 20-year-old 100m record in Saturday's short sprint final, all the way to the tape to claim her sixth medal of the weekend.

Shirley Griffiths was beaten for speed in the 800m final, eventually finishing fourth behind Sale international Paula Fryer, but the Wakefield woman made amends in Sunday's 1500m final where she galloped clear to win by over ten seconds, successfully defending her title by clocking 4 mins 30 secs for a comfortable win over Yorkshire 10k champ' Penny Thackray of Hallamshire Harriers.

Wakefield veteran Jenny Cunnane won the hammer gold for the third time, regaining the title she last held in 1996. She won with 41.05m but was pushed hard by 17 year old junior thrower Helen Taylor who got over the disappointment of finding her U20 hammer competition cancelled by the championship committee by taking a well deserved silver in the senior competition with a pb 40.19m, just under a metre behind senior club-mate Cunnane.

Former international 400m sprinter Elaine Sutcliffe ran well in the 400m final despite having just returned from a two week break on the injury list with a hamstring pull. She chased Sale's dual gold medallist Fryer all the way to the winning line before eventually going down by just two tenths of a second in a promising 57.9 secs.

Sarah Beevers, who clocked a pb 800m time of 2 mins 14.9 secs in the previous weekend's British Universities Championships, showed the measure of her improvement over the winter by finishing third behind club-mate Sutcliffe in the 400m final to add still further to Wakefield's senior medal successes.

Amanda Sheppard gained her second medal of the weekend in the senior discus competition, finishing just over three metres behind Leeds City's junior international thrower Sue Backhouse to claim silver with her day's best throw of 37.07m. Jenny Cunnane just missed out on the bronze by less than half a metre, finishing fourth behind bronze medallist Janine Crosby of Bingley with 33.43m.

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Junior Womens Meeting Report

Victoria Shepherd won her sixth outdoor county shot title in the junior women's section of the Cleckheaton-hosted Yorkshire Championships. She took gold with her best putt of 11.43m with club-mate Becky Leach getting into the medals with a third place putt.

Eighteen year old Emily Freeman was beaten by the thickness of a vest by Trafford's Maria Bolsover in the U20 women's 100m final. Finishing like a train, the line came a stride too soon for the Wakefield sprint starlet and she had to settle for silver just two one hundredths of a second in arrears, clocking 12.22 Secs.

Club-mate Emma Philips took bronze in 12.58 secs, and another of Wakefield's super U20s squad, Fiona Westwood, filled fourth.

Freeman gained revenge in the 200m final. Running strongly, the result was never in doubt and she flashed over the line five metres clear of her Manchester-based rival in an encouraging 24.80 secs.

Judith Payne warmed up for what looks like being another highly successful high jump season by capturing yet another major title, seeing off second-placed Fiona Harrison of Barnsley AC by a wide margin. She took the honours with her best on-the-day clearance of 1.68m.

Ruth Dales finished second to Harrison in the U20 women's 100m hurdles final, beaten by a half-second in 15.37 secs.

Vicky Mills also claimed silver medal in the U20 women's pole vault final after finishing runner up to Kelly Ridgeway of Barnsley AC.

Laura Sheard won her first county track gold medal in the 1500m after staying on strongly to prevail from Leeds City's Emma McVeigh, and looks set to mature into a more than useful performer. She will be a welcome addition to the Harriers' senior middle distance squad for this year's UK Women's League Division 2 campaign.

First year junior Michelle Lonsdale kept up Wakefields gold rush throwing well despite a tricky cross wind to take the honours in the javelin with her days best effort of 42.05m, with Catherine O'Hallaran of Bingley in second place with 39.81m.

There was another brace of medals for Wakefield when Tara Wilson chased ex English Schools silver medallist Laura Siddall of Barnsley AC in the 400m hurdles final, with Amy Ridsdale collecting her second county bronze. After picking up bronze in the U17s shot last year, she finished a promising third after negotiating the sixth hurdle which had been wrongly set at the men's height in her lane.

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U17, U15, U13 Girls Meeting Report

In the U17 women's section of the Yorkshire Championships, Jenny Handley continued the Harriers medal-ball rolling with a comfortable victory in the high jump. She beat Lucy Catherwood of Skipton AC with a clearance of 1.55m, with club-mate Kimberley Tetley taking bronze.

Handley was even more impressive in the triple jump, heading a Wakefield one-two with a championship record breaking leap of 10.67m to collect gold from talented all-rounder Amy Lloyd who claimed silver with her best leap being measured at a pb 10.15m. Lloyd went on to just fail to add to her personal medals tally by finishing fourth in the 80m hurdles final less than half a second behind the winner, Stephanie Dalton of Sheffield, who triumphed in 12.83 secs.

Katie Richardson kept up the steady flow of medals, taking the U17 girls' long jump gold back to HQ after beating Sheffield's Dalton by 12cm with her best-leap of 5.09m. Clubmate Lloyd again got into the medals with Bronze.

Becky Fender was one of the unluckiest losers of the weekend when, after taking up the running at the first bend when no one else wanted to do the hard work, she led by around eight metres at the last bend only to be cut back over the final 100m by Bingley's Rebecca Smith. She lost out on gold in the last few strides to gain an honourable silver half a second down on Smith in 2 mins 24.13 secs.

Fender, who has been troubled for two years by a string of injury and illness problems, is sure to benefit greatly from the outing and seems certain to progress further.

First-year U17 Aine Hoban missed out on bronze in the 1500m when she finished a close-up fourth in a pb 5 mins 7.5 secs behind winner Emma Roper of Halifax, who clocked 5 mins 2.41 secs.

In the U15 girls competitions Emily Mason ran superbly in the 75m hurdles to set up yet another Wakefield one-two. Hurdling fluently, she cantered to victory in 12.2 secs with first-year U15 Amy Fozzard claiming silver in 12.9 secs after just getting the better of Barnsley AC's Hayley Deakin, who was relegated to third on the dip.

Mason went on to complete a notable track and field double by taking the high jump crown with her day's best clearance of 1.46m.

Ruth Laybourne led a Wakefield cleansweep of the medals in the U15s long jump, winning with her day's best leap of 4.91m. Vicki Lambert collected silver with 4.66m and Amy Fozzard picked up her second medal of the championships in third, just 6cm further back.

Victoria Lockwood also made the final jump off in the competition which, with 22 entries, proved to be the biggest of the day, making the Wakefield trio's cleansweep all-the-more impressive.

Wakefield were fivehanded in the 100m final with Katie Smith collecting a surprise but deserved silver behind Taymar Merrick of Sheffield AC with only four hundredths of a second separating the pair at the line after a ding dong battle. Merrick clocked 13.12 secs.

Victoria Lockwood filled fourth spot just another four hundredths in arrears with Laura Robinson also involved in the blanket finish in fifth, another four hundredths further back in 13.24 secs. Ruth Laybourne finished eighth in 13.52 secs.

Wakefield were also four-handed in the U15 1500m with Zoe Gowland, Carly Wright, Samantha Colley and Lucy Martin all safely negotiating the heats. Colley came out best of the Wakefield quartet putting in her best track performance for some considerable time, she ran with great determination to finish fourth in 5 mins 13.12 secs behind Sarah Holah of Pudsey and Bramley, who won in 5 mins 8.6 secs.

First-year U15s Gowland and Wright, who had both run heats and finals of the previous day's 800m event when they claimed fifth and seven place, both tired and eventually again finished fifth and seventh respectively. Martin gave her best to finish a respectable eighth.

Laybourne picked up her second medal in the age group with silver in the shot with her best putt of 8.75m behind Carrie Cutts of Barnsley, who won with 9.39m.

There was no let up for the opposition in the U13s events where the Harriers' were again to the fore.

Louise Shaw showed her precocious sprint talent by streaking away from the start in the 80m final to lead all the way and take her first Yorkshire crown in a speedy 11.03 sees.

Naida Bromley ensured yet another Wakefield one-two by collecting silver in 11.23 secs. Bromley, a highly promising all-rounder, also finished second in the 800m, coming from fifth to second place around the final bend and just failing to get on terms with the winner, Rebecca Long of Bingley who held a five-metre advantage to the line to win in 2 mins 34.91 secs.

Bromley demonstrated her athletic ability once again in the long jump final where her best leap of 4.31m earned her a third silver medal of the championships, finishing second to Natalie Brooks of Sheffield who won with her day's best effort of 4.39m.

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Mens & Boys Meeting Report

Alex Senior Yet another superb effort by Alex Senior in the U17 men's competitions at the Yorkshire Championships continued the teenager's sensational start to the season. Senior forced the pace from the outset of the U17 men's 800m final to win by a wide margin in a pb 1 min 59.2 secs, and looks certain to improve. His main objective of the season is a tilt at the English Schools 800m title in July.

James Wild shook off a hamstring pull to land the U17 men's high jump gold with a 1.80m clearance from Matthew Clay of Parkside who took silver with 1.75m.

Wakefield duo Matthew Young and Jonathan Shearn had a terrific battle in the 200m final with Young flying from the blocks and holding on well to the final few strides where Shearn's sheer power won the day as he prevailed on the dip by just nine hundredths of a second in 23.86 secs.

Young, who collected his first-ever individual medal in taking silver, looks a progressive sort and should continue to give a good account of himself throughout the season.

First-year U17 Alan Ruddock gained a surprise bronze in the 100m final, sprinting soundly to finish third in 11.92 secs behind Doncaster's Chris Dack who won in 11.56 secs.

In the junior men's section, Robert Taylor improved his pb to 54.65m to capture gold in the hammer competition. He beat runner up Sam Broadley of Bingley by a six-metre margin. Taylor also finished fourth in the shot.

Simon Bartram picked up two medals despite an almost non-existent training schedule. First he finished third in the long jump with 6.06m behind Rotherham's Nick Hamilton. He went on to claim bronze no 2 in the triple jump with a best effort of 11.40m.

Simon Fullman took a silver in the U20 men's 400m, finishing a distant runner up to Sheffield University's Mark Anderson in 68.9 secs.

Mark Ainsworth just missed out on a medal in the 400m flat final, eventually finishing fourth in 52.56 secs behind Barnsley's Sam Ellis who won in 49.61 secs.

Wakefield's only finalist in the senior men's section, sprinter Chris Bedford, ran well despite the handicap of recurring knee and back problems. He eventually finished fifth in the 200m final in 22.9 secs, behind gold medallist Craig Guite of Rotherham who clocked 22.29 secs.

In the U15 boys competitions, Martyn Bernard again demonstrated his high jumping talents by clearing 1.75m to take the title and a championship best performance, with Rotherham's Adam Booth second with 1.50m, and Wakefield's John Fletcher in the bronze medal slot with 1.45m. Bernard just failed to collect medal no 2, finishing fourth in the 400m final in 57.72 secs behind Sheffield's Daniel Armstrong who won in 55.31 secs.

Fletcher the only first-year U15 to qualify for the 100m sprint final went on to finish eighth, fifth in the 200m final, and fifth in the long jump with a leap of 4.98m. And is looking a firm favourite for a full haul at next years championships.

Mark Lindsay In the U15s javelin, Mark Lindsay underlined his potential by taking the silver medal with a pb and English Schools qualifying distance of 45.14m behind Leeds City's Andrew Robinson who won with 48.16m.

Charles Handley added to his family's successes after double gold performances by sister Jenny by taking silver in the U15s hammer. And with another year in the age group he is sure to continue to make good progress.

First-year U13 Jamie Wilson collected bronze in the shot behind Skyrac's Andrew Staniland who prevailed with a best putt of 8.18m.

Senior Womens Junior Womens U17/15/13 Girls Mens and Boys
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