West Suffolk AC clinch Southern League Division Three North title
- Credit: Archant
West Suffolk AC, in harness with Diss AC, have enjoyed a terrific season in the Southern Athletics League this season.
Against strong opposition, West Suffolk AC & Diss clinched the Southern League Division Three North title by topping the table after five meetings.
In doing so, West Suffolk have won promotion to Division Two for next season, a notable achievement.
Division Three North had a total of 17 teams, but the consistent West Suffolk/Diss squad dominated with a final points tally of 1,417.5, well clear of second-placed Barnet & District/Shaftsbury Barnet (1290.5pts). Cambridge & Coleridge were third with 1,391 points and Hillingdon fourth with 1,251.
West Suffolk had effectively wrapped up promotion at the fourth meeting last month, with a triumphant showing at St Ives, but they rubber-stamped their success with another win at the fifth and final event, held at the impressive Allianz Park track in Hendon.
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They finished with 274 points, just ahead of hosts Barnet (268) with Colchester & Tendring AC third in 193 and Loughton fourth in 127.
As it happened, West Suffolk only needed to finish second and not be beaten by more than 120 points to be divisional champions, but they did it in style on an exciting day where the lead changed hands with every announcement.
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In fact, they won all five meetings over the summer, a terrific effort for a squad which struggled last season – West Suffolk and Diss AC, competing separately, finished second last and third last in 2013!
One of the stars of the show at Hendon was Lawrence Taylor, who set a very impressive personal best of 1.95m in a very competitive high jump competition. He pipped Barnet’s highly-rated Akin Coward on countback.
Taylor also won the ‘A’ string long jump with a dominant 6.42m, where Luke Allen backed him up with a ‘B’ string win in 6.17m. Allen won the ‘B’ high jump with a clearance of 1.70m.
Cameron McKie also enjoyed a good day at Hendon, winning the ‘A’ string 400m in 52.3secs, while the ever-improving Callum Grant set yet another PB over 400m by winning the ‘B’ event in 53.0.
In the sprints, Grant was third in the ‘A’ 100m with 12.2, and also third over 200m in 25.1. McKie was third in the ‘B’ 200m (25.4) and Mark Smith third in the ‘B’ 100m (12.6).
Alex Bartlett claimed a victory in the ‘B’ 800m in 2mins 08.0secs, where Adam Crawford clocked 2:07.7 in the ‘A’ string. Crawford was also third in the ‘A’ 1,500m with 4:28.6.
Diss AC’s Gordon Coe was third over the 110m hurdles (22.0), with Craig Palmer second ‘B’ string, while Smith and Wesley Roper scored good points in the 400m hurdles.
Smith was a runner-up in the triple jump (11.41m), with Roper taking the ‘B’ event with 10.90m, while in the shot putt Jake Allen was second (11.51m) and Coe first ‘B’ string (10.47).
Other highlights for the men were a double win in the hammer for Jake Allen (40.18) and Coe (23.18). Jake Allen was also first ‘B’ string javelin (33.29m), with his brother Luke second in the ‘A’ event (39.23m).
For the women, Lauren Gibbs (12.7) and Katie Pursehouse (13.7) ensured a West Suffolk double victory over 100m. Gibbs was also second in the ‘B’ 200m with 26.9.
Peggy Mai-Norman had a busy day. She was third in the ‘B’ 200m (30.5) and also third in the ‘A’ 400m (65.4), and there was an empahtic win for Holly Davies in the 800m (2:25.5). Marie Kemp was a runner-up in the 1,500m with 6:39.1, and also third over 3,000m in 13:56.1.
There was a double win over the 100m hurdles for April Castle (19.8) and Cassie Scotting, while Emily Moyes was first in the 400m hurdles (68.3) and 1,500m steeplechase (5:17.4). April Castle also won the ‘A’ long jump (4.85) and triple jump (10.21).
Debbie Castle won the ‘A’ javelin (31.36), Katie Pursehouse was first in the ‘B’ triple jump (10.21m) and West Suffolk crowned a great day by winning the 4x100m relay in 52.8secs.