Athletics: Harriers show great team spirit.

Thurrock’s senior men’s team competed in the 3rd round of the Southern Mens League Division 1 on Saturday. At the last minute the match was moved from Reading to Newbury but the somewhat depleted team of 10 made
the journey and ground out a satisfactory result.

Middle distance squad made their strongest contribution for some seasons scoring 26 out of a maximum of 32 points. Alex Houghton scored a win in the steeplechase with a very good time of 10m10s although the water jump was missing because of the hosepipe ban.

He also ran a very good pb in the 5000 metres with a time of 16m21s which earned him runner up. In both
events he was partnered by Dennis Cross. Dennis was just outside his pb in the 5K but won the B string event. He also competed in the steeplechase to take 3 points as runner up in the B string.

Given the strong winds, it was amazing that 17 year old Alec Finch recorded a pb in the 800m of 2m2.1s. He needs the right race and good conditions to break the 2 minute barrier.

Nick Houghton recorded 2 valuable 2nd places in the 800 and 1500m as well as scoring in several other ‘difficult’ events like the B string pole vault and B string hammer. With such a depleted team Alec Finch was pressed into action in the triple jump for the point.

For the rest 3 youngsters excelled. Damon Nugent vaulted a pb of 3.25m to take 2nd place. However his 110 hurdles debut showed immense promise.

He just missed out on 2nd spot in the B event with a time of 22.6seconds. Jamie Kensey, 16, is another young athlete showing great promise. His long jump was top class 5.97m and he won the B high jump
with 1.65m. He also showed a good turn of speed in the 4 x 100m relay.

Jack Farmer can be pleased with his 11.6s for the 100m and 53.7 for the 400m. His relay split however looked to be his best run of the day.

The three regular mainstays of the team, Dan George, Mark Jenkins and Michael Shortall all turned in their usual selfless contributions. The ultimate team man, Michael Shortall, covered 5 events and both relays
to contribute 13 points to the total. His best event was the 58s 400m hurdles for 2nd place. Dan and Mark were hampered by injuries but helped out the team filling in in throws and jumps. Dan notched up 8
points before ‘retiring hurt’ while Mark, restricted to 3 events,brought his 30 years league experience to the team ethos.

Final team result was Newbury 124.5, Newquay 95.5, Thurrock 72.5 and South London Harriers 61.5. The result meant that Thurrock dropped 3 places to a mid table 8.

The team management are confident they can improve on this in the remaining 2 matches of the season.

This weekend is the Essex Schools Championships where the Club hope to field several winners in what is the toughest schools championship in the country.

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