Saturday 23rd June was a historical day for England Athletics, as a selected Under 20 team travelled to compete on the beautiful island of Guernsey for the first time at a Home International match. The team originally selected from their performances at the England Age Group Championships to compete at the cancelled Welsh International in March, swapping snow for sunshine the team were spoilt with excellent conditions. They competed within the Intertrust Athletics Games against teams from Scotland and a combined Channel Islands team
First up on the track was the 100m hurdles with Anastasia Davies (Club: Blackheath & Bromley, Coach: John Blackie) and Pippa Earley (Club: Kingston & Poly, Coach: John Shepherd). Anastasia finished 2nd just missing first place, despite coming through strongly just inside the All-comers' record - a time of 13.86. Pippa finished one hundredth of a second outside her PB, in third position with the excellent time of 14.34. Commonwealth Youth Games 2017 athlete, Pippa said “It was such a memorable competition and the venue was so nice, it was great to have stayed overnight for 2 nights. The team environment was lovely and we all bonded so well”.
Moving over to the field, the men’s high jump was underway with representation from Harry Baker (Club: Horsham Blue Star, Coach: Sarah Hewitt) and Toni Ademuwagun (Club: Thames Valley Harriers, Coach: Carol Jackson). Harry finished second with a pleasing effort at 1.95m and sound attempts at 2.00m. Toni sailed a long way over 1.90m and passed 1.95m to go to 2.00m but unfortunately had to withdraw with an ankle injury, finishing in fourth position.
Back on the track for the 200m; William Hughes (Club: Nene Valley, Coach: David Clay) came in first with a time of 21.71, running strongly in the last 100m. Phoenix Lyon (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Coach: Linford Christie) came third in 22.43. The U20 women, Ella Wansell (Club: Enfield & Haringey, Coach Brian Hopkins) and Immanuela Aliu (Club: Blackheath & Bromley, Coach: John Blackie) were next up - Immanuela produced one of the day’s PBs, coming in to win with a time of 24.21, which was even more impressive as it was into a -1.5 headwind. Ella finished in second, in a time of 24.41. Following the storming performance by Immanuela which included a new All-comers' record she found herself being interviewed by ITV - Channel news. In the men’s 400mH, unfortunately Seamus Derbyshire (Club: City of Stoke, Coach: Deerk Yeomans) pulled up at the first hurdle with a hamstring problem.
In the 800m race England had representation from William Crisp (Club: Swindon Harriers, Coach: Bryan Clinton), Psalm Roberts-Nash (Club: Wolverhampton & Bilston, Coach: Claudio Albanese), Luke Duffy (Club: Mansfield Harriers & Athletics Club, Coach: Richard Massey) and Thomas Patrick (Club: Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Coach: George Harrison). After a very slow first lap William took control to run a 52s second lap, to win in 1:52.18, closely followed by Psalm, in 1:53.07. Not far behind were Thomas and Luke, fourth and fifth respectively, Luke running a PB in 1:54.09 and Thomas crossing the line in 1:54.06. Will commented, "I had a stressful journey to get out here, after my final A level exam. Thankfully the team managers were on hand to help out. As for the race I was surprised to be able to close the last lap in a high 52 seconds. I am very grateful to my coach – Bryan Clinton, who has been able to keep me in shape off one or two sessions a week during my exam period. This will surely be one of the highlights of my summer."
Back on the field, the women’s high jump featured Abby Ward (Club: Wakefield, Coach: Ian Hill) and Rebecca Hawkins (Club: Bexley / Blackheath & Bromley, Coach: John Bancroft). Off the back of a 1.84m World Juniors qualifying mark earlier in the month, Abby came to Guernsey with confidence high, and comfortably cleared 1.81m to take the win and a new All-comers' record. She was very close on her second attempt of 1.84m, and agonisingly close on her third. Rebecca Hawkins proved her superb recent consistency with a 1.78m clearance to tak third place. She was not far away from achieving a new PB, with some sound attempts at 1.81m. Rebecca noted, "It was the perfect environment for an international competition. The athletes all got on well and had a great time. The team managers and coaches were so enthusiastic and supportive. I am sure I will always remember this competition, so thank you for the opportunity and to everyone on the trip."
The Men’s long jump event contained one of the best line ups of the day in terms of depth and quality. Another third year U20 Sam Challis (Club: Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow AC, Coach: Danny Sawyers) demonstrated great experience and execution to win with 7.11m into an increasingly stiffening headwind. Sam’s margin of victory was particularly pleasing for him. Callum Orange (Club: Leeds City Athletic Club, Coach: Matt Barton) found the wind conditions a little more challenging - however, he battled back courageously to improve his run up, and finished his competition with his best jump of the day. Callum’s 6.52m positioned him in seventh in a very competitive event.
In the shot put, Hannah Molyneaux (Club: Sheffield and Dearne, Coach: Malcolm Fenton) recently selected for the European Youth’s team on Thursday, celebrated with a very consistent series of puts, winning the women's competition with 13.78m. The men; Daniel Thomas (Club: Winchester & District Athletics Club, Coach: George Ogilvie) and Leo Rowley (Club: Rotherham Harriers, Coach: Graeme Stark), again produced consistent performances, with Daniel coming out on top, with 15.92 from Leo’s 14.11m.
The final event in the field was the women’s long jump. Eleanor Broome (Club: Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club, Coach: Ian Roberts) started with a monster first attempt…. but agonisingly she was a few centimetres over the foul line. A safe second round got her a foothold in the competition, before a few more long no jumps. Eleanor proved her ability to pull out the one that counts in the final round with her sixth effort, she took the win with a finely executed 5.95m leap. Eleanor said; "I have done a few internationals over the years with England Athletics and although I didn’t perform to my best, it was one of my favourite experiences. We bonded well as a team and I am so thankful to have been a part of it."
The women’s 100m, Cassie-Ann Pemberton (Club: Birchfield Harriers, Coach: Sharon Morris) came second in a time of 11.85s, in a very tightly fought race, just a tenth outside of her PB, the competition giving her a great learning experience. Amy Hunt (Club: Charnwood A C, Coach: Joe McDonnell) finished just behind in third place with a time of 11.92s. Eden Davis (Club: Herts Phoenix / East London U / Southampton / Stevenage & North Herts, Coach: Catherine Walker) was disappointed with his time of 10.71s, despite winning a very close race. He had a poor start and ran well to win the men's race.
Alex Haydock-Wilson (Club: WSEH, Coach: Earl Herbert) and Charles Hilliard (Club: Birchfield Harriers, Coach: Sharon Morris) faced up to the Channel Islands' hero Cameron Chalmers, who they chased home. Alex finished very strongly in a time of 47.37s and Charles in 49.13s against Cameron's 46.53s. Alex -making his debut in an England vest - said “Although I came in with a target that I didn’t quite reach, my disappointment was short lived. The ethos of the team management was that of support rather than pressure which made the experience amazing. I felt blessed to be here every minute. Big thanks to the team managers and athletes who made this event so enjoyable." The women’s 400m saw Emma Alderson (Club: Liverpool Harriers & AC, Coach: Stephen Carroll) and Maisey Snaith (Club: Cambridge & Coleridge AC, Coach: Mick Graham) representing England. Emma in the outside lane ran a brilliant race, taking the race out from the start and running an excellent first 300m, brought it home in a time of 55.17s, just two hundredths outside her SB and an All-comers' record. Maisey ran 55.89s to comfortably claim second spot, running an excellent final 100m.
The penultimate event on the track was the women’s 1500m. Charlotte Crook (Club: Preston Harriers, Coach: Peter Crook) in her first International race, took the pace out really quickly on the first lap, followed by Elise Thorner (Club: Millfield School, Coach: Alan Richardson). Those positions remained the same at 800m but the field was more bunched, until a big kick by the Scottish athlete; Naomi Lang, broke the field completely. Elise and Charlotte were unable to close the gap and finished fourth (4:38.34) and fifth (4:41.25) respectively.
With the men and women’s 4x100m relays closing the event both teams had comfortable wins and both broke the All-comers' records. The men came home in 41.21s and the women 46.13s, which is the fastest time by any junior women’s relay team this year. These times were very good with limited time to practise handovers at the meeting and could be much improved, showing the strength and depth of the team. Men’s team; Eden Davis, William Hughes, Charles Hilliard and Phoenix Lyon. Women’s team; Cassie-Ann Pemberton, Ella Wansell, Immanuela Alui and Amy Hunt.
Competition and Team’s Manager, Andy Day said; "We have lots of people to thank for this trip, firstly our hosts - Guernsey Athletics, particularly Tom Druce and his organisational team for such a well-run competition. The England athletes were well supported by a very knowledgeable and approachable group of team coaches; Matt Barton (jumps), Jason Marchant (endurance), Allen Adamson (male sprints) and Graham Pilkington (female sprints). Team physios Claire Lawrence and Dan Elias, worked hard all day to provide a high level of care to all the athletes. Finally, everyone was supported by an excellent team management of Sarah Friday travelling from Manchester and overall lead Alison Potts."
Guernsey / Jersey: 64
Guernsey / Jersey: 57