Nene Valley Harriers crowned Southern League champions

Nene Valley Harriers celebrate their Southern League title win.
Nene Valley Harriers celebrate their Southern League title win.
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A brilliant track and field season just got a whole lot better for Nene Valley Harriers.

Earlier this month they reached the end-of-season play-off final in both the East Anglian League and the Eastern Young Athletes League.

On Saturday they were crowned Southern League Division One champions after a powerful all-round display in the final match of the season at Stevenage.

They went into the finale in second place, just 15 match points behind league leaders Crawley, who were competing at Blackheath and Bromley.

Although missing a handful of regular athletes attending the North of England Championships plus a few more at the World Masters in France, Harriers were determined to put up a fight for the title.

All the gaps were filled and thanks to a very impressive display of teamwork they won their match with 224.5 points - 45.5 points ahead of second-placed Milton Keynes.

The good news then got even better as the result came through from Blackheath. Crawley had been pipped into second place and Nene Valley could start celebrating their first ever Southern League title success.

The afternoon certainly ended on a high and it also began well for Harriers as Rosie Jacobs and Devon Spencer claimed maximum points in the women’s 400m hurdles.

And after Sean Reidy and Phil Wilson followed their example in the men’s 400m hurdles, it was game on.

Harriers also reigned supreme in both the women’s 100m and 200m as Lily Hughes and Natasha Segal won both A and B races respectively.

Elsewhere on the track for the ladies, Emily Maltby and Jacobs cleaned up in the 100m hurdles, Grace Mullins and Rosie Fresen did likewise in the steeplechase, Georgie Ivens won the 400m A raceand Cat Foley the 1500m A race.

Fresen’s fine effort in the steeplechase - she won in 9:03:96 - smashed the club’s Under 17 record by a staggering 50 seconds.

There was also a new club record for Ellie Mae Stokes. She has been breaking the club’s Under 20 and senior women’s javelin record on a regular basis this season and achieved it once more with her throw of 36.33m.

Stokes and Maltby joined forces to claim maximum points in the triple jump and Becki Hall, Kelly Lawrence and Lydia Church all scored well in the ladies throws.

For the men the most profitable events on the track were the 400m and 400m hurdles.

Daz Holding and Max Butler both recorded 400m wins while Sean Reidy and Philip Wilson took the honours in the two 400m hurdles races.

Martin Tinkler, a key points scorer for the club all season, won the A string shot and discus and was runner-up in the man of the match competition. Veteran Ken Baker won the B string competitions.

Issac Huskisson and Sam Wilson dominated the men’s hammer taking maximum points.

Ladies team manager Ken Maggs said: “With so many athletes willing to volunteer their services to compete for the club, it was a dream meeting for a team manager.

“It was a great privilege for Fidge (Adam Fidgett) and myself to be team managers on the day. Everyone gave their all on a very special day.”