Seniors battle to stay in Northern League division 2
Derby AC headed into their final senior league match of the season, at Rotherham, needing to finish in the top three on the day, in order not to finish in the bottom two overall and be relegated.
Team manager Richard Wilson had sent out the rallying call for seniors to pitch in and help the club, and the majority came forward, including some coaches.
The day went off to a flyer, with Orla McGinty winning the 400m hurdles, followed by Hana Klimentova (second) and Catalina Petrescu (first) in the pole vault. Orla went on to compete in shot, long jump and high jump. Then disaster struck: Catalina went over on her ankle whilst getting off the pole vault bed and could take no further action in her other event the triple jump, instead she had to be taken to A&E.
The team manager then got a call from one of the distance runners to say he could not make it, so frantic re-jigging ensued between Richard and senior sprint coach Paul Blakey. In the throwing events, the ever-reliable Kelse Hutchinson and Isaac Wood did not disappoint, both throwing three disciplines each, whilst carrying injuries. Isaac gained two PBs, in shot and discus. Sprinter Eddie Fenton helped out in the throws, doing several of the B throws, including javelin, coming second, alongside the ever-improving Sean Murray, gaining another PB.
In the woman’s javelin, coach Geraldine White made a fantastic comeback, coming second in the B and then watched her young athlete Hana, fresh from her success in the pole vault, win the A and gaining another PB.
In the triple jump, another young sprinter, Tom Silcock, helped out, coming third in a strong field of six, before going on to claim second place and a PB in the 400m B race. Matt Ward also claimed second and a PB in the A race.
There was still time for another PB and this was huge, Danny McCrea jumping 6.35 in the long jump and going even further to 6.50 to claim third in a very strong field.
Things were getting tight now between the teams and no one wanted relegation on the last day of the season. This is where calm heads and inspirational speeches need to be made and the two team captains for the day did just that, Matt Ward and Ella Blakey, both who have served the club for more than 10 years. The pair kept young and older athletes, calm, motivated and focused on getting the team over that finishing line and led by example, which they have done all season.
Jack Dakin and Luke Ward, both coming back from injury, did both the 800 and 1500, gaining valuable points, and were followed by Alice Crane and Beca Miller, both second in the 1500. In the 3000m, Bethan Hudson came second in her race and Polly Edwards came first for the B race. Team manager Richard Wilson, not to be left out, filled in the gaps in the team sheet by doing the hammer, hurdles and steeplechase.
The sprinters held their own again with Ella Blakey and Mya Wright both coming second in the two 100m races, followed by Ella winning the 200m and younger sister Lauren coming second in the B race. Molly Hudson and Florence Beedie both came second in the 400m, and Molly making her mark as so often this season with a confident 800m first place, with Evie Jones third in the B race.
Elliot Archibald and Danny McCrea both came third in the 100m with Paul Christodoulou and Elliot making up the 200m.
There were only two points in it heading into the relays, but the club was dealt a blow when as both the Derby athletes were making their way over to the men’s 5,000m, it started five minutes early, due to technical problems, so massive points were lost.
The men’s 4×100 relay team came third , needing maximum points for the woman’s relay. Mya, Florence, Lauren and Ella have never lost a relay together and they never looked in trouble with this one, winning in style. This now eased the pressure on the final two 4×400 relays, men coming second and the woman claiming first in their race.
Derby saved it on the last day of the season, coming fourth on the day, only one point behind third, but more importantly finishing fourth overall. There were huge celebrations, with Richard Wilson already planning to strengthen the team for next year.
The club is, as ever, grateful for all those who made the journey north to represent the club, and a big thank you to the coaches, officials and parents who drove them there.