STRATFORD Athletic Club fielded their strongest team of the Midland League campaign so far and were rewarded with their first win and, more importantly, the chance to win promotion in the fourth and final meeting at Tipton on August 7.
Round three took place at Dudley and Stratford’s fine effort in the Black Country means they are now level with Leicester in second place, with the top two to be promoted.
The Stratford squad was bolstered by debuts in the team at opposite ends of the age groups as under 17 Ollie Cresswell ran well in the 100m as well as excelling in his speciality high jump event.
Other newcomers from the under 17s were Taz Chape (1st in the B javelin) and Edie Hutchinson (4th in the 1,500m).
Meanwhile, David Jones was seventh in the 800m and just missed the club’s age group record for 65-plus.
Dan Boyd made his first appearance of the season and had a typically busy day as he came second in the long jump and fourth in the 200m in a personal best.
Following an injury to another athlete, Dan was a last-minute runner in the 100m and was elated to achieve a big personal best of 11.1.
Fergus Allison was another athlete to show a massive improvement as he led the men’s 1,500m field for most of the race and, while he was just pipped by top Tipton runner Tom Holden, he was delighted to improve his best by seven seconds to 4.12.9.
Imogen Green, a new signing this season, is showing her class and has made an enormous contribution to the team’s success.
She started by winning the long jump (5.32m) and came a close second in the javelin (31.29m) before she moved on to the sprint hurdles where she was just shaded out of first place (16.0).
Finally, Imogen won the B high jump (1.60m) – a strong event for Stratford – as Issy Cain won the A competition (1.63m).
It was also a successful day for Paula Williams who won the B sprint hurdle race, came second in the triple jump and won the shot put in a new club record.
At the end of the day the Stratford team clinched the match win by winning both women’s relays in two thrilling races which emphasised the teamwork and team spirit which had been on display all day.
Match scores: 1 Stratford, 370 points; 2 Tipton Harriers, 360; 3 Leicester Coritanian, 351.5; 4 Dudley & Stourbridge H, 286; 5 Daventry, 264.5; 6 Sutton-in-Ashfield, 221; 7 Banbury, 177.
Overall team scores after three matches: 1 Tipton Harriers, 20; 2 Stratford, 16; 3 Leicester Coritanian, 16; 4 Dudley & Stourbridge H, 11; 5 Daventry, 9; 6 Sutton-in-Ashfield, 8; 7 Banbury, 5.