A 72–strong England team took part in the inaugural U18 Youth Nations Cup in Dublin on 3 August, where overcast and humid conditions failed to dent enthusiasm and spectators were treated to a series of impressive performances from a young England team, many of whom were making their international debuts.
This year’s edition of the new competition was a head to head fixture between England and Ireland, with two England teams of equal strength taking on two sides featuring their Irish counterparts.
With the team comprising athletes born in 2002 and 2003 – therefore a mix of current U17s and U20s – the match was an opportunity for England’s best to test themselves in international competition and, in the case of sprint hurdlers and throwers, use implements and hurdle heights usually only encountered at international Youth championships.
One such athlete was Charlotte Payne (Newbury, Paul Dickenson), whose victory using the 3kg hammer with a throw of 67.99m was a UK U18 best, eclipsing Sophie Hitchon’s 67.37m set back in 2008.
Another outstanding performance was produced by the boys' 4x100m team, with a quartet comprising Joseph Harding (Basildon, Tony Jarrett), Bailey Swift (Rugby and Northampton, Kevin Smith), Henry Nwoke (Liverpool Harriers, Mike Sweeney) and Tyler Panton (Woking) clocking a very speedy 40.80, a time just 0.05 slower than the winning time and UK U18 best for that event set at the SIAB meeting last month.
Alex Cooper (Notts, Grant Barker) set a half second PB of 48.36 in winning the boys' 400m, a performance that tops the UK U17 rankings in 2019, while Max Law (Havering, Sam Harrison) added almost a metre to his previous best with the 700g javelin to win with 76.17m.
Indeed, the list of impressive England winners across the spectrum of events was almost never ending, as European U20 bronze medalist Lucy-Jane Matthews (Southampton, Andrew Fisher) and Orla Brennan (WSEH, Neil Dodson) took victories in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles respectively and Oliver Carvell (Telford, Stuart Hamilton) and Annie Testar (Stroud, Christopher Brown) both won over 800m.
In total there were 34 England wins across both teams and 19 personal bests recorded.
The match itself was won by England Red ahead of England White, with Irleland Green edging Ireland White for third.