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Southern Vets League (West Division)

  • Tilsley Park Abingdon OX14 1PU (map)


Reading AC’s veteran athletes contested their final 2018 league match at Abingdon last week, on a very warm evening. The ladies fielded an almost full team, all securing top-3 individual placing in their events and, with five new Club records set, they finished the match in 2nd place just 4 points behind match winners Abingdon AC. The men’s team had a few gaps this time, but there were still some excellent individual performances and the team finished 6th in the match.

Competitors in the 200m, 800m and 2K walk had to battle against a strong headwind on the far bend and home straight. Despite this, Karen Burles broke the Club’s W40 record clocking 28.2s as she scored a clear win in the W35 A-race. Not to be outdone, the former W40 record holder, Wendy Lewis, broke the record in her new age category as she won the W50 race (32.0s). Lee Fellowes secured a good 2nd place in the W35 B-race (31.4s). Stella Bacon established two new W70 Club records in discus (12.68m) and shot (5.38m). Her younger team-mates also did well in the throws as Julie Wilson took a win in the W50 discus (29.07m) and 2nd place in the shot (9.51m), while Sarah Ball was 3rd in both W35 events (19.40m and 6.95m). The team’s newest member (Debbie Forrest) impressed in the 5K, which was her first ever track race. She was the 2nd finisher in the W50 category and set a new W50 Club record (21:56.5). In the same race, W35 runners Sue Francis and Belinda Tull finished 3rd A and B respectively with times of 20:51.9 and 22:48.1.

In the 800m Caroline Stevens was 3rd in a close W50 race (3:14.5), and Sue Francis was 3rd in the W35 A-race (2:39.😎, while Ladies Captain Lucy Daniells went one better as she finished 2nd in the W35 B-race, rapidly closing on the race winner with her familiar sprint finish (2:46.3). Lucy went on to finish 3rd in the triple jump (7.57m). Claire Mills ran a strong and confident non-scoring 800m race to clock 2:53.9. Julie Rayfield, recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, took on the 2K walk and was involved in a home straight battle with Newbury’s athlete. Both clocked the same time (15:05.7), but the judges awarded the Newbury lady 2nd place, and Julie 3rd. The ladies finished the evening on a high with a brilliant race in the relay, which was run over the unconventional 4x200m distance. Lee, Claire, Lucy and Karen all ran hard and had great baton changes, and they were rewarded with victory.

The men’s side pulled well together to fill as many events as they could. In the 200m, Men’s Captain Justin Plank was 4th in a fast M35 A-race (27.2s) while Michael Dzandu, carrying an injury, was 5th in the B-race (34.8s). Hari Sewell was 3rd M50 (27.4s) and Ron Davies (M70) clocked 32.7s in the non-scoring race. Michael also took 2nd in the M35 pole vault (2.40m) and 3rd in the javelin (33.10m), while Justin was 2nd in the M35 triple jump (10.29m). Kevin Cranmer was 2nd in the M35 discus (27.18m) and Jan Drzewiecki 3rd in the M60 event (33.73m). Non-scorer Ron Davies threw 21.17m. Ray Stevens took 4th place in the 2K walk and was very close to his own M70 Club record as he clocked 13:42.4. Just 20 minutes later, Ray was on the track again, this time running the M60 800m, where he finished 6th (3:46.9). Gerry O’Driscoll was 7th in a fast M50 race (2:56.0). Duncan Prior made a great Veterans’ League debut as he finished 4th in the M50 3K (11:27.7). With some of the regular men’s relay runners injured or unavailable for this match, Gerry O’Driscoll and Ron Davies joined Justin Plank and Hari Sewell in the 4x200m relay. All ran really well, and Hari almost caught the White Horse Harriers and Abingdon AC teams as he brought the team home in 5th place (1:58.😎.

The final league standings saw Reading’s ladies finish 3rd and the men 5th in this division of the league. Radley AC won the ladies’ competition and Oxford City AC won the men’s competition.

Report: Sue Francis (Reading AC Veterans’ Team Manager)
Photos: Gerry O’Driscoll and Malcolm Francis

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Earlier Event: 1 July
YDL (UAG) - Round 3