Weekend News Report - 22nd September 2019

Strong Tonbridge Performances At Road Relays

The Club’s distance runners had some strong performances once again at the first major event of the Winter season. The South of England Road Relay Championships were held at Crystal Palace for the third year in a row, consisting of eight races across the age groups.

The senior women and men finished fourth and fifth, respectively in their races, the latter being the club’s best ever performance at the championships. Phoebe Barker seems to be returning to her best form and attacked the opening leg of four, coming home in 4th in 16.00. In form Kiri Marsh took over and swept Tonbridge into the lead with a 16.12 stint to hand over to Alice Wood. Wood was chased down by some strong athletes from Reading, Aldershot and Cambridge, but kept Tonbridge in contention with a 17.47 split, to hand over in 4th.

With Nicole Taylor on the anchor leg for Tonbridge there were hopes of a medal position, but the three clubs ahead proved too strong, as Cambridge took the lead in the final one hundred metres to win from Reading and Aldershot, with Tonbridge in fourth.

The men’s team moved through as the race progressed, after Kieran Reilly (17.13) came home in 21st on the opening stage of six legs, each of 6100 metres. Alasdair Kinloch (17.16) improved ten places, whilst Ryan Driscoll (17.33) and Cameron Payas (17.46) moved up one more place between them. The ever-reliable Ben Cole ran 17.03 on the penultimate lap to move to 8th, before Ben Murphy (17.19) had an excellent run on the anchor leg to move Tonbridge to 5th. The Tonbridge B team placed 21st of the 87 teams to also secure a place at next month’s National Championships.

Tonbridge picked up two team medals in the younger age groups, both being bronze. The under 17 men’s team finished 3rd in their 4x4500 metre event through Matthew Taylor (15.33), Alex Beeston (14.51), Matthew Dubery (15.38) and Fraser Gordon (15.19).

Similarly, the under 13 girls won bronze medals over 3x3100 metres, through Gracie MacAuley (12.13), Eva Mathew (13.19) and Lily Slack (11.13).

Slack ran the fastest overall leg of the race and in the process moved Tonbridge from 15th to 3rd on that final leg.

The under 15 boys came were not far away from securing another set of bronze medals when they finished fourth in their race. Ananjan Ganguli ran 10.23 on the opening 3100 metre leg and then there was a very consistent team performance from Tom Phillips (10.43), Jamie Witz (10.39) and Ed Coutts (10.35). Josh Prendergast ran a storming 10.17 lap for the B team, helping them to 11th place from 54 teams, alongside Angus Currie (11.27), Huxley Crush (10.57) and Jamie MacDonald (11.02). Running on the same course the under 15 girls finished 22nd through Sophie Slack (11.33), Annabelle Hales (13.26) and Ella McIntyre (12.46).

O’Brien Breaks Record For Third Time

Rebekah O’Brien improved her own Tonbridge Athletic Club under 17 women’s Heptathlon record at the weekend, when finishing second in the English Schools Championship, at Exeter. O’Brien scored 4852 points to add 95 to her score set in July.

Her performances included 12.31 for 80m hurdles, 1.62m in the High Jump, 10.59m personal best Shot Putt and a 26.25 for 200 metres on day one. Then on Sunday, day two of the competition she produced a 5.20m Long Jump, a 32.23m Javelin pb and a terrific 2.17.38 for 800m in the last event.

Tonbridge teams secured a number of medals at the Kent county track relay championships, at Gillingham on Sunday, including five winning performances. The senior men won both the 4x100m and 4x200m relays in times of 44.2 and 1.31.0, respectively. George Smith, Zac Beasty, Alex Milligan and Anton Bachorski combined in the shorter distance event, whilst Jack Lennard replaced Beasty in the longer event, which bettered the club record.

The senior women won the 4x200m championship in 1.51.0, through Jess O’Hara, Nina Ridge, Sohaila Ali and Asha Root. The under 17 women’s team of Keira Rose, Emily Bowart, Eliz O’Donnell and Maya Marriner did likewise in a quicker 1.46.1, which was a new club age group record. The same squad also bettered the Tonbridge 4x300m record when winning with 2.51.1.

The under 13 boy scored a double victory in both the 4x100 metres and 4x200 metres. Zac Dixon, Alfred Metcalfe, Tom Walker and Tom Daly were the team over both distances with the winning times being 53.2 and 1.51.5. The latter was a club record, albeit a rarely run event.