Action from day one of the New Balance English Schools Championships

The New Balance English Schools Championships warmed up for a marathon Saturday on the track with a glut of finals action in the field at the Gateshead International Stadium.

Last year’s junior 800m champion Tilly Simpson starred on the track as she took her first confident steps at intermediate level in the 1500m, waltzing through to tomorrow’s final in 4:31.24 with impressive ease.

Aged just 14 last year, the Derby athlete set a championship record of 2:06.22 but opted to focus on the longer distance in Gateshead and looks in fine form to bring home a second gold.

In the field the triple jump produced some of the most entertaining action, especially in the intermediate boys’ competition where Norfolk’s Wesley Matsuka-Williams triumphed over Teepee Princewill and Emmanuel Odubanjo with a 14.46m effort – the trio finishing within five centimetres of one another.

High jumper Emma Sherwood finished just two centimetres shy of equalling the 30-year-old championship record in the junior girls’ high jump, recording a 1.75m personal best to improve on last year’s bronze medal. Emily Borthwick successfully defended her senior title with a 1.78m jump.

Molly Caudery held on to her intermediate pole vault title with a 3.70m in windy conditions, but the Cornwall vaulter fell 23 centimetres below her championship record standard from last year.

Pre-championship favourite in the junior boys’ discus Aran Thomas was beaten out of the medal places in the final two rounds with Joshua Douglas taking gold with his winning throw of 40.94m and Joe Lancaster pinching bronze with his penultimate throw behind Benjamin Copley.

The UK’s No.3 junior hammer thrower Jamie Kuehnel produced the four furthest throws of the competition, winning with a 64.40m effort in the seniors, and Daniel Cartwright exceeded 16 metres four times en route to winning the senior shot put competition

As a result of the tightly packed track schedule sprint hurdles were run concurrently with the 100m heats and semi-finals earlier in the day.

Sophie Yorke looks clear favourite to take the senior girls 100m title tomorrow after qualifying confidently in 11.81, well clear of Danielle Blake who was second to the Gloucestershire athlete in the first heat in 12.02, as does Blackheath & Bromley’s defending intermediate champion and sprint prodigy Charmont Webster-Tape – nicknamed “Mini Dina” – who won her semi-final in 11.86.

The men’s races look tougher to call with Shamar Thomas-Campbell (10.75), Eden Davis (10.80) and the championship’s junior record-holder Kesi Oludoyi (10.85) all qualifying well in the seniors. Charles Hilliard (10.79) and Daniel Afolabi (10.78) won their intermediate semi-finals.

In the 400m Hannah Williams, sixth at last year’s World Youth Championships and the younger sister of British international Jodie Williams, was in ominous form as she cruised to an easy win in 55.77 in qualifying for tomorrow’s final.

There was shock, swiftly followed by disappointment, in the intermediate boys 200m when Cameron Sprague of Avon stopped the clock at 21.52 in his heat – 0.08 off equaling the English Schools record – only to be disqualified later for a lane violation.

» Get a copy of Athletics Weekly’s July 14 issue for a full report and photos from the New Balance English Schools Championships