Glorious sunshine greeted the 8 male (Gavin, Rob, Dave R. snr., Patrick, Crispin, Bryan, Martin and Mark L.) and 5 female (Jo, Sonia, Ireland, Courtney and Rachel) competitors who were adventurous/foolhardy enough to contest the annual Sports Day event held on the resplendent sports field courtesy of Lucton School. Both male and female contests ended in a tie after 6 gruelling events and the club members saluted a new Superman in their midst with multiple new records set.
The traditional event opener takes place at the Long Jump pit where everything was ticking over nicely until Mark, the last of the male competitors to jump, exploded off the take-off board and soared through the summer air accompanied by a ubiquitous audible gasp and impromptu applause from the spectators. We knew that Mark was establishing himself as a competitive and talented distance runner with the club but he had kept quiet about his track and field credentials as he contested his first Multi-Events tournament. he proceeded to improve Pat’s club record by 25cm. by recording a leap of 5.34 metres. Reigning champion Rob was happy to record 2nd place with Pat resigning himself to 3rd. Unfortunately, this opening event witnessed the first casualty of the day as Dave Rouse Snr., as keen as ever, overstretched his aging legs which resulted in a torn calf muscle and an early retirement from the contest. Sonia jumped to 3.22 metres to take an early lead in the female competition closely followed by Ireland with reigning champion Jo starting with a 3rd place.
The first track event on the grass circuit was the 400 metres and, again, Mark was jet-propelled from the off as he broke his second record of the day by over a second in the impressive time of 55.78. The existing record had stood since 1995 before the Mark 1 missile obliterated it. Rob and Pat again filled the minor places in 2nd and 3rd. with Pat battling hard to hold off the challenge of Gavin. Ireland took an early lead in the women’s race but was overhauled by a determined Jo on the finishing straight. Jo’s winning time was 76.00 with Ireland 2nd and Sonia 3rd. This meant that, after 2 events, these 3 leading contenders shared the lead with 8 points each.
The Shot Put was next on the agenda as a test of both strength and co-ordination. Pat was now able to show the young upstarts that he still possessed a competitive spirit and dug deep to fend off the consistent Rob, who again recorded 2nd place, with Mark, proving that he wasn’t unbeatable, finishing 3rd just ahead of Martin. Pat’s winning throw of 9.00 metres was way below his best set when he ruled the roost, but he was thankful that at least one event retained his name as record holder. Ireland proved that she has inherited some of her father’s talent and belied her slender frame by executing a prodigious throw of 6.86 metres to win convincingly with Jo just beating Sonia by the minute distance of 2 cm. to register what eventually proved to be a vital 2nd place.
Back to the track for the 100 metres sprint with Mark again shattering Nigel Mason’s record with a time of 12.37 secs. Rob continued his sequence of 2nd places, with Pat completing the top 3 again. At this stage Mark held a 2 point lead over Rob with Pat a further 2 points adrift. Regrettably, Crispin became the second injury victim of the day with another muscle tear whilst pushing too hard and was forced to exit proceedings. Ireland and Jo again disputed the sprint with the younger Pearson forging ahead in the final stages to record another victory with Sonia again 3rd. Ireland now held a 2 point lead over Jo with Sonia a further 2 points back.
The final field event of the day was the Javelin throw – an event that requires good co-ordination and a degree of sound technique. Pat, despite often aggravating his elbow due to the stresses of the throwing action, has always been able to fling the spear a long way. His winning throw of 31.87 metres was not up to his usual standard but it was just enough to beat Rob’s best effort of 30.83 with Martin registering his first top 3 placing of the day. Mark was having trouble landing the javelin correctly and finally had to settle for a safety first last attempt to record any points at all. As a result, and with just one event to go, Rob was now leading the field on 30 points with Mark and Pat tied just a single point behind on 29 points. Ireland again illustrated that she is a chip off the old block by launching the javelin 11.80 metres, with Jo second and Courtney recording her first top 3 placing of the day. Ireland had now totted up 23 points with Jo 3 points adrift.
Everything now depended on the 1500 metres with many permutations possible in both the male and female competitions. Mark knew that he needed to win the race and hope that Rob would be beaten by another runner for him to be the outright champion. He duly stormed away from the start and drove hard all the way in an attempt to break yet another record. He crossed the line in a time of 4 mins.33 secs. to equal Mick Ligema’s long-standing event record. Rob just managed to hold off a fast-finishing Gavin to register his 6th second place of the day. Jo led the women’s race from the outset chased hard by Sonia and it remained in that order with Jo eventually winning comfortably in a time of 6.15 with Sonia 2nd and Rachel 3rd. Ireland wearily forced herself around the laps to finally finish 4th and gain the 2 points that she needed to equal Jo’s total.
Mark and Rob were tied on 36 points in the men’s contest with Jo and Ireland also sharing the women’s competition on 25 points each. This was the first time in the history of the event that both titles have been shared and the battles provided excellent entertainment. Mark had the satisfaction of re-writing the record books whilst Rob was the model of consistency by placing second in every event. Multiple times champion Pat took the male veteran’s award with Sonia winning the female equivalent.
Final Positions : Men :– 1st= Mark and Rob – 36 pts., 3rd. Pat – 32 pts., 4th. Martin – 23 pts., 5th. Gavin – 21 pts., 6th. Bryan – 9 pts., 7th. Crispin – 6 pts.,
Women :- 1st= Ireland and Jo – 25 pts., 3rd. Sonia – 19 pts., 4th. Rachel – 11 pts., 5th. Courtney – 9 pts.
Photos. now in the Gallery – thanks to snapper for the day Lauren Williams.