YOUTH and experience combined to guide Stratford Athletic Club to a convincing victory in the second event of the four-round Midland Track and Field League at Burton on Saturday.
After decisively winning the first match in Stourport last month, the pressure was on Stratford to maintain their lead in Division Four and, thanks in no small part to another strong turnout from all areas of the club, the team once again thrived and won the match by almost 100 points.
The versatile and dependable Paula Williams banked valuable points for Stratford in six individual events as she won the shot put with a club record of 10.61m and picked up another victory in the javelin (34.56m). She also finished second in the triple jump (9.91m), fourth in the long jump, fifth in the discus and sixth in the hammer.
Lewis Byng, one of the youngest members of the team, also excelled. He finished second in the javelin with a club record of 53.12m.
As well as a fourth-placed finish in the discus, the 16-year-old competed as a guest in the shot in an attempt to attain the 18.30m qualifying standard for the European Youth Championships. He ultimately fell just short of his goal but was rewarded with a personal best of 18.19m, putting him 14th on the British all-time U17 rankings for the 5kg shot put.
Several other Stratford athletes won their events or competed in multiple disciplines to help boost the club’s overall score.
Emily Madden Forman won the 100m hurdles (15.8) and high jump (1.60m) and Ollie Cresswell dominated the 400m hurdles in 57.1 and finished second in the B-string 100m.
Sixteen-year-old Imogen Sheppard clocked an English Schools qualifying mark of 25.9 to win the 200m. She showed her versatility by also winning the 1,500m in 5:17.6 and then teamed up with Georgie Campbell, Georgia Clarke and Jess Sheppard to win the 4x400m in a club record 4:13.5.
Other victories in A-string events came from Daisy Musk in the 800m (2:27.6), Anna Gionis in the 400m hurdles (71.2), Martyn Helliker in the 3,000m steeplechase (11:45.1) and the women’s 4x100m team (51.4).
Many other Stratford athletes made their Midland League debut, including Andrew Reeves, Charlotte Gravelsons, Harry Allwood, Jasmine Williams, Mathew Millward-Brookes and super-veteran Phil Brennan.
Another strong performance at the next match, in Newport on July 7, would put Stratford in a great position heading into the final fixture of the season.