Harriers Welcomes Back Home Competition

As with everything Covid, the 2021 EYAL league matches took on a new format this year; no finals were being chased and clubs were arranged into “localish” groupings. 

It was therefore wonderful to see live athletics action back in Colchester, when on Sunday 12 September, Harriers hosted the second and last of the meets – welcoming teams from Norwich, Ipswich, Team Norfolk, North Suffolk and Colchester and Tendring.

Despite athlete numbers being down on previous years, there was still plenty of stiff opposition in many events making for some exciting competition. This was also chance for some of the latest very green – green vest signees to have a go in what was a relaxed environment, and they should all be proud of their efforts given some have had very little coaching. For others it was time to say goodbye to a couple of stalwarts as they conclude their EYAL journey.

Following a successful debut season, young Lilly Addington delighted her coach Rick Thompson, with a best effort of 24.55m in the U13 girls Javelin to smash the Club Record,  topping off the celebrations with a first place finish – as well as being equal top points scorer on the day (not that the points really mattered!) with Wyatt Larkins who has now become a solid mainstay of Harriers EYAL team – two first place finishes in Hammer and Discus was then followed by a second in Shot Put. 

Notable performances came from the longer speed and middle-distance events where U17 Oliver Crisp, who clearly thrives on back-to-back competitions, saved his best for a home crowd.  In Basildon at the SAL the day before, he competed 800m (2.19.5) and 400m (55.4) however just 24 hours later he thwacked almost a whole second off his 400m time to cross in 54.5 as well as reducing his 800m by a fantastic 1.6 seconds to finish in 2.18.  After just a few outings in 2020 and mainly in Cross Country, U17 Theo Gardiner has benefitted from a more relaxed year;  competing in the 800m he took a whopping 30 secs off his time to take third place in 2.10.9 and in the 1500m he has taken he again improved his best by 17 secs to finish in 4.38.0 for a great second place.   

In the U15 girls long sprint,  Samantha Yearwood’s nerves were rattled by a shoe malfunction just prior to taking her marks, and after a wobbly start run a superb 300m – powering round the last bend to crack a new pb of 45s dead – another 1 whole second reduction.

Alice Begg should be justly proud of herself after focusing hard in training on her 800m, her efforts were rewarded with a remarkable 11 second pb in the U15 category – she also bagged a new 300m time of 50.2.

Chloe Prosser finally got to make her debut  in the PoleVault – an event she has looked forward to competing for a while:  her 1.80m clearance was good enough to win her event.  Not content she then went and added 22cm onto her 500g Javelin best with a good fourth place finish in 27.65m.

In the U15 girls 800m, Lyla Belshaw set off at pace from the gun, leading with just one other competitor for company, running relaxed throughout the first lap. During the second lap she was able to extend her lead and although not happy with her time she shaved three tenths of a second off of her Club Record and added a full score to the team tally.

Anna Price deserves special mention for stepping in at the very last minute to not only debut for the green vests but also, due to restrictions on the number of non-scorers – step up an age bracket to compete as an U17 as A string in the 100m – creating a pb of 15.6.  She also competed as a scorer in both the Long Jump and Javelin.

Olivia Simon, one of the Club’s current longest serving junior athletes bowed out of the EYAL team in front of a home crowd after delivering yet another superb first place finish in the U17 women’s Hammer.  Over the years Olivia has been one of the teams’ top points scorers and is a good example of a young athlete who tested out a variety of events before settling on her specialism.   The club wish her and Oliver Crisp, who also now moves up to U20, the very best for their next athletics adventures.

Finally, the day would not have run (at all!) as smoothly or to time without the hard work and dedication of the Club’s team of officials and parent helpers. 

A table of results will is linked here. https://www.colchesterharriers.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Harriers-Results-table.docx

Thanks to Tilly Swan for the photos.