Prior to 22nd May we had never won a Youth Development League match nor been top of a Youth Development League table. I am delighted to say that thanks to the talent and hard work of the 25 athletes who represented us at Trafford on Sunday, we have now rectified both those omissions, having won the match by a highly impressive 177 points from previous leaders St Helens Sutton. Promotion should now hopefully be within our grasp, although we will be taking nothing for granted at this relatively early stage of proceedings.

A good insight into the quality of the team’s performance is that all 25 members achieved at least one personal best, which is extraordinary, with 33 personal bests in events previously done and 19 in new events at competitive level. 13 athletes (more than half the team!) achieved personal bests in all of their individual events, which is possibly even more extraordinary.

Under 13 boys

We had 3 out of 4 debutants and all younger year athletes. The boys did brilliantly to collect 99 points and finish a close second to St Helens Sutton in this section. Although Joshua Wilson (a tremendous 28 points on debut, winning high jump and long jump) and Oskar Richardson (27 points, winning the shot and javelin for the second match running) took the headlines, that still leaves 44 points (including relay) attributable to our other debutants, Ben Lomas and Callum O’Reilly, who can also be very proud of their first YDL appearances.

Under 13 girls

The younger girls collected 122 points to beat St Helens Sutton by 8 points in this section.

Event winners were Jade Buckley-Ratcliff (javelin & B high jump), Tessa Pearce (high jump), Matilda Kelly (shot), Nya Livingstone (B shot) and Katie Hewett (B 1200m and B 75m hurdles). Debutant Hannah Gregg and Riya Hodgson (after a very late night) also played their full part in a strong team performance.

Under 15 boys

The older boys were on great form, beating St Helens Sutton into second place by 35 points in this section.

Jack Bradburn won the 100m and the long jump, while Oliver Lau won the javelin and discus and Zak Martin the 80m hurdles and hammer. The 4*300m relay team also won, while Harry Sinclair won the B long jump and debutant Harley Geraghty won the B 800m. Dan Edmundson impressed in the high jump (2nd place) and the relay, whilst Oliver Nicholson also picked up valuable points in his 3 events and relay.

Under 15 girls

The older girls did wonderfully well to beat a very strong Colwyn Bay squad by 12 points – this was the section in which St Helens Sutton were very weak, and so where most of the impressive winning margin came from. Millie Pearce won the 1500m in a great race and also the discus, Lucy Diss won the 100m and the B javelin, Emma Simpson won the javelin, Lucy Potter won the B 75m hurdles and B discus, Courteney Disley made a strong debut by winning the B long jump and coming second in the two B sprints and Maddie Lord won the B high jump. Isobel Miller came up against the full might of the Colwyn Bay squad in her events, but performed admirably to collect 22 hard won points. She then also played a key part in the success of the 4*300m relay team in winning their event.

So the next match at Warrington on Sunday 19th June (St Helens Sutton’s home match) promises to be a classic, provided we can field a team of at least equivalent strength and St Helens can strengthen their under 15 girls’ team given home advantage. It seems likely that we are the two teams who will contest the North West 4 title this year, so this is definitely one to look forward to. If readers wish to come to cheer on the team your support would be greatly appreciated.

Finally a massive thank you to everyone who helped to organise a match which we hosted at less than 4 weeks’ notice, and particularly John Snape, who reacted with great equanimity when I told him I wanted to host this match and arranged it very efficiently. We have received very complimentary comments from the other clubs involved about the organisation of the event, which is a well-deserved tribute to John’s organisational abilities.

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