Weekend News Report - 17th/18th August 2019

Tonbridge Season Culminating With More Success And A Big Event

Tonbridge Athletic Club’s Summer track and field season has developed into one of the most exciting and successful ever. In the past few weeks the men’s team gained promotion in the British League and the veteran men and women qualified for the Southern Counties final. Then last weekend, another of the club’s squads clinched promotion in dramatic style.

Prior to the final match the top four in the sixteen club Southern League Division Two East were Eastbourne (15 points), Basildon AC (13), Tonbridge (13) and Brighton (12). Events had conspired in the scheduling to finish with the final fixtures including Tonbridge being up against Eastbourne, at Woodford Green, whilst Basildon and Brighton were competing at Dartford. Incredibly Brighton won the latter match and Tonbridge emerged victorious from their fixture. So, it was Eastbourne and Tonbridge who gained promotion and will compete in the top division next season.

Tonbridge had possibly their strongest team of the entire Southern League season, with both the men and women claiming nine A-string victories, for a total of eighteen from the thirty-eight events.

Lewis Church and Una Laqeretabua captured three victories apiece and were the most prolific winners. Church won the 110 metres hurdles in 14.91 and aims to compete in this event at this coming weekend’s British Championships. He also won the 400m hurdles in 58.16 and the High Jump with 1.95m. Laqeretabua scored maximum points in the women’s Shot Putt (9.57m), Pole Vault (2.60m) and High Jump (1.48m).

Sean Molloy won the 800m convincingly in 1.55.16 and earlier in the week had won the British Milers Club Challenge race at Eltham in 1.50.52. In a tight race with Tonbridge team-mate Ben Murphy he prevailed by just a tenth of a second. Both of them will be competing in this weekend’s British Championships at Birmingham.

Also competing successfully at the weekend and at Eltham was Rebekah O’Brien., the under 17 age group, multi eventer. O’Brien lowered her 800m personal best to 2.15.96 at Eltham and then, at the weekend, competed in the South of England Championships, at Ashford. On Saturday she qualified through the heats of the 400 metres and 300 metres hurdles and then returned on Sunday for the finals. There she finished third in the former event with a personal best of 58.29 and won the hurdles final with another pb of 44.99.

This coming weekend some Tonbridge athletes will be in action at the British Championships, at Birmingham, including Lewis Church, Sean Molloy and Ben Murphy. Jack Lennard has qualified for the men’s 100m and Lucy Reid for the 5000m, whilst Tonbridge have four qualifiers who might compete in the men’s 1500 metres. These are led by James West, who has the qualifying time needed for the World Championships, but would need a to finish in the top two to guarantee a place on the GB team. He will be joined by Dom Brown, Kieran Reilly and Miles Weatherseed in the 1500m.

All of the Tonbridge athletes at the British Championships are likely to be competing again the following Friday evening, 30th August, at the first ever Tonbridge Twilight Invitational Meeting, at Tonbridge School Track, starting at 6.30pm. Entry is free to spectators. Some top quality home and international athletes will be competing.