Martin Duff reports from the British Athletics League Premiership as Shaftesbury Barnet begin BAL defence and Sale Harrier Alex Smith takes victory in the hammer with 69.69m
Shaftesbury Barnet began the defence of their 2012 league title by sending out a blend of youth and experience to see off an afternoon long challenge from previous champions, Sale Harriers Manchester and Newham & Essex Beagles, on Saturday.
On a blustery afternoon they had wins from 18-year-old Michael Callegari through to 41-year-old British veterans’ record holder Tony Whiteman as they won by more than 50 points. Shaftesbury only had two “A” string victories to go with 5 “B’s” but they had a better balanced squad compared to Sale’s nine wins and Newham, whose seven “A” and two “Bs” were not backed up in depth.
Perhaps the best performances of the afternoon were from Brett Morse (in the discus) and Alex Al-Ameen (battling a -3.5m/s wind for 13.98 in the high hurdles).
From the first event to the last the meeting was eventful. The “B” string high jump saw three athletes tie for fourth place, even on count-back and, in the final race, the 4x400m, only five clubs finished as Woodford pulled up and Sheffield and Sale were disqualified.
Elsewhere, Cardiff won the opening match of Division 1 at home as Bristol won Division 3 at the same venue. Division 1 action saw Joe Thomas step up to the 1500m to score maximum points for Cardiff with 3:56.72, while Liverpool Harrier Michael Bomba threw 68.76m in the hammer.
1 Shaftesbury Barnet H 351.33
2 Sale H Manchester 300
3 Newham & Essex Beagles 296.33
4 Enfield & Haringey 291
5 Woodford Green with Essex Ladies 265
6 Birchfield 233.33
7 City of Sheffield 233
8 Herne Hill H 197
» For more in-depth BAL coverage pick up a copy of the May 16 issue of AW