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So solid crew get off to flying start

PUBLISHED: 17:14 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 12:12 11 August 2010

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THE UK Women s League team got their season off to a solid start with a battling fifth in their opening Division two fixture in hot and breezy conditions at Swansea on Sunday. Alexa Joel headed the cast with a fine 1500m victory against highly ranked Vi

THE UK Women's League team got their season off to a solid start with a battling fifth in their opening Division two fixture in hot and breezy conditions at Swansea on Sunday.

Alexa Joel headed the cast with a fine 1500m victory against highly ranked Vicky Griffiths, who recently went close to two minutes for 800m, breaking away on the last lap and ensuring victory with a fierce last 200m. She also ran away with the B 800m, taking off at the bell and winning by over five seconds.

She was partnered in both by Sara Luck who was a good second in the 800m A race to Cardiff's Vicky Barcello before running strongly to win the 1500m B. For good measure Sara added the fastest leg of the 4x400m.

More good middle distance points came from Birmingham Universities Robyn Matson, who took on the early pace in the 3000m and ran on strongly to place second. Hayley Pegg made her UKWAL debut with a PB in the B event, placing fourth.

Multi-eventer Kate Cowley won the B high jump, was second in the B javelin, and fourth in the long jump.

Mel Harrison was again in great form. She was second in the shot, fourth in the discus and fifth in the hammer with the latter close to her career best. Great Britain under-23 International Catherine Holdsworth (Colchester Harriers), competing in club colours under the League's Higher Competition Athlete rules won the B shot, added points in the 100m and anchored the sprint replay to sixth. Another HCA, Jess Tappin (Chelmsford) was third in the high jump and scored in both 200m and 100m hurdles.

Seventeen-year-old Nicola Hill was another club member competing at this national league level for the first time and did well to run a season's best for fifth in a high quality 400m Hurdles A race. She was also third in the B long jump with her single effort, and was seventh in the flat 400m, less than an hour after her 400m hurdles.

Laura Bealey improved her 400m Hurdles PB, for fourth in the B, and ran the opening leg in 400m relay.

With under 10 points covering four clubs from fourth to seventh, every point was vital. Claire Brennan tackled both sprints and the 100m hurdles and the sprint relay, Laurie Cooper returned to league action with fourth in the 400m B and ran well in the relay. Much needed points were added by Nina Brennan (discus), Hannah Gamester - competing despite injury in the hammer (PB), and Cathy Matthews triple jump.

With the track events completed, the match result rested on the late-running javelin. With Havering back in seventh a good result was essential as Emma Christmas and Kate Cowley delivered. Both were second behind Team Southampton athletes and with very little between the teams these 14 points leapfrogged HMAC to fifth, as Cardiff and Glasgow picked up only five and three points apiece.


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