The only way was Essex for Nene Valley Harriers on Sunday as they stormed to Southern League Division One success at Chelmsford.
Having been beaten into second place by just a single point in the first round of matches, the Harriers were determined to go one better this time round.
And they did so in emphatic style, winning the match with a club record 231 points and finishing 36 points ahead of their nearest rivals Chelmsford AC. A number of individual club records were also set in the process.
Nene Valley boast a highly successful youth policy which is starting to bear fruit as a steady flow of young athletes are now establishing themselves in the senior team.
Sixteen year-old Holly Brown has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the country at the pole vault since taking it up as a 13 year-old.
She showed her class on Sunday finishing second against a field of senior vaulters and setting a club record of 3.20 metres in the process.
Another exciting prospect, Rosie Fresen, won the ‘B’ string pole vault at the age of 15.The young all-rounder also contributed points in the 2000m steeplechase and high jump.
Alex Hampson is one of Nene Valley’s hottest properties and he won a tactical 1500m in a relatively slow time of 4:16.7.
The Michael Prosser-coached 17 year-old showed tactical astuteness beyond his years as he resisted the temptation to break the other athletes unti the last lap where his rapid acceleration left the rest of the field trailing in his wake.
The Nene Valley engine room was firing on all cylinders with the ever-reliable Sean Reidy, Dave Brown, David Bush,Adam Fidgett and Andrea Jenkins all making their usual telling contributions, while 41 year-old Simon Achurch had a day to remember setting new club veteran records in both the hammer and javelin.
Martin Tinkler won the shot and discus with throws of 14.38m and 39.49m and was named man-of -the-match for his shot putt win.
Lily Hughes was a close second in the ladies match award stakes after winning the 100m with a new personal best (PB) of 12.0 seconds which equalled her club record. She also won the 200m ‘A’ race.
Emily Maltby set a club record of 11.56m when winning the triple jump and also gained points in the high jump, long jump,and 100m hurdles.
The in-form Cat Foley won the 1500m in a time of 4:51.3, and the oldest member of the team, Nicky Morgan, continued to regain form following a lengthy injury lay-off earning valuable points in the 3000m and 1500m races.
The next fixture is at Brighton on June 20th.
Match result: 1 Nene Valley Harriers 231pts; 2 Chelmsford 195pts; 3 Blackheath & Bromley 158pts; 4 City of Portsmouth 136pts.