Nene Valley Harriers almost pulled off a shock win in their British League Division Three match at Chelmsford on Saturday.
In the first round in Cornwall last month, the city club finished a lowly seventh out of the eight teams, failing to record a single A string win.
But in round two it was a totally different story. They were able to field a much stronger line-up and after a string of excellent performances they closed the day in second position - just 32 points adrift of Havering.
“It was a far better day all round. It just shows what 10 additional athletes and 600 less miles to travel will produce,” said Nene Valley team manager Tim Needham.
“The weather conditions were also better than of late and that made for a very good quality and competitive match.
“And to finish second was a great result seeing as it was in reality a home match for the three Essex clubs - Chelmsford, Havering and Southend.”
Nene Valley have now moved up to fourth in the league standings at the halfway stage and Needham added: “There’s now all to play for in the final fixtures in Bournemouth (July 7) and Yeovil (August 6).
Match result: Havering 341pts; Nene Valley 309pts; Southend 302pts; Bournemouth 283pts; Newquay 276pts; Chelmsford 268pts; Yeovil 224pts; Trafford 180pts.
Division Three (after 2 matches)
Lge Pts Match Pts
Havering 13.0 616.5
Newquay 12.0 633
Chelmsford 10.0 571
Nene Valley 10.0 568.5
Bournemouth 9.0 551
Southend 8.0 555
Yeovil 8.0 521
Trafford 2.0 363
Martin Tinkler, who missed the first match in Cornwall, returned to spearhead a healthy points haul from the throwing events.
The Geoff Capes-trained athlete won the A string shot with a personal best (PB) 14.87m and finished second in the A string discus with 42.48m, which was just a couple of centimetres off his best.
Simon Achurch, the team’s senior citizen, added valuable support with two B string seconds.
In the javelin Tomas Saunorious was back in action after an 18-month injury lay-off and did well to claim second place in the A string.
Young Alex Ingram threw a season’s best 53.35m to take the B string honours while there was also a B string win for long jumper Matthew Hudson.
On the track the Harriers’ highlights were provided by James McCrae and Max Everest.
McCrae clocked a PB of 1.53.95 for his fourth place in the 800m A race and backed that up with a tactical victory in the 1500m B race.
Loughborough University student Max Everest made an impressive return to action by winning the 110m hurdles in a new PB and club record 14.72 seconds.
Nene Valley Harriers results:
Track - 100m: A 7 Darrellon Holding 10.90 (PB), B 8 Callum Crosby 11.81; 200m - A 5 Darrellon Holding 22.01, B 6 Callum Crosby 23.04; 400m A - 3 Ashley Sandall 49.5, B 3 David Brown 50.82; 800m - A 4 James McCrae 1.53.95 (PB), B 7 Oliver Bowling 1.59.80 (PB); 1500m - A 3 Alex Hampson 4.03.78, B 1 James McCrae 4.07.19; 5000m - A 8 Michael Channing 17.17.37, B 7 John Nash 18.15.78; 110m hurdles - A 1 Max Everest 14.72 (PB), B 2 Sean Reidy 16.40; 400m hurdles - A 3 Sean Reidy 56.75, B 2 David Bush 57.82; 3000m steeplechase - A 6 Jevan Robertson 10.54.38 (PB), B 5 Rio Chilvers 12.36.85; 4x100m - 7th 44.62; 4x400m - 4th 3.22.52.
Field - High Jump - A 4 Ashley Barker 1.85, B 2 Laurie Pirie 1.85; Pole Vault - A 4 Carl Titman 3.80, B 4 Peter Lewis 3.20; Long Jump - A 3 Sam Richards 6.73, B 1 Matthew Hudson 6.57; Triple Jump - A 8 Alex Ingham 12.31, B 5 Laurie Pirie 11.77; Shot - A 1 Martin Tinkler 14.87, B 2 Simon Achurch 12.48; Discus - A 2 Martin Tinkler 42.48, B 5 Simon Achurch 29.25; Hammer - A 4 Isaac Huskisson 45.72, B 2 Simon Achurch 39.43; Javelin - A 2 Tomas Saunorious 56.49, B 1 Alex Ingham 53.35.