Birchfield and Thames Valley Harriers are in confident mood ahead of meets at Barnet and Leigh

After a big win in the opening fixture, Birchfield Harriers seek to continue the defence of their BAL title but should face tougher competition from local clubs Newham and hosts Shaftesbury, who were second and fourth in Swansea, at the second match at Barnet on Sunday (June 9).

Birchfield team manager Dave Lawrence is hopeful of having a similar team to that which finished fifth in the recent European Champion Clubs Cup.

They will hope to include their A-string winners from last time, Christian Byron (800m), Kadar Omar Abdullahi (3000m), Ryan Webb (high jump), Harry Coppell (pole vault) and Craig Murch (hammer).

Thames Valley Harriers, who were also fifth at the European event last week, are confident as they begin the defence of their UK Women’s League title at Leigh on Sunday.

Team manager Manuel da Silva said: “On paper, we have one of our strongest teams, going into the first UKWAL match of the season with a mixture of those who competed in Spain and others that are relatively new to the team.

“I am confident that the team will do well but expect Birchfield Harriers and Edinburgh AC to make it another exciting season.”

Among those the London club expect to call upon to challenge for top scores will be recent Southern 400m hurdles champion Jess Tappin.

Commonwealth and European representative Amelia Strickler is expected to turn out in the shot put. Annie Tagoe and Rachel Miller should figure highly for them in the sprints. Angela Barrett and Philippa Rogan should likewise perform well for the champions in the triple jump and high jump respectively.

Teams

BAL (in opening fixture finishing order): Birch eld Harriers, Newham & Essex Beagles, Harrow AC, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Woodford Green with Essex Ladies, Cardiff AAC, Blackheath & Bromley Harriers, City of Sheffield & Dearne AC

UKWL (in order of placing in 2018): Thames Valley Harriers, Birch eld Harriers, Blackheath & Bromley, Edinburgh AC, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Trafford, Notts AC (promoted), Cardiff AC (promoted)

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