Peterborough & Nene Valley’s depleted army of female warriors claim silver at Eastern Masters Finals

Throwers were jumping and sprinters were running multiple laps of the track, as Claire Smith’s middle aged female warriors picked up silver medals in the Eastern Masters Athletics Track and Field finals at Milton Keynes.

The gr-eight Peterborough & Nene Valley Eastern Masters team, Sally Pusey, Nicky Morgan, Brenda Church, Kay Gibson, Claire Smith, Andrea Jenkins, Judith Jagger, Alison Dunphy. Missing - Gemma Skells.
The gr-eight Peterborough & Nene Valley Eastern Masters team, Sally Pusey, Nicky Morgan, Brenda Church, Kay Gibson, Claire Smith, Andrea Jenkins, Judith Jagger, Alison Dunphy. Missing - Gemma Skells.

The Peterborough and Nene Valley AC ladies ended the day on cloud nine, after their team of just eight versatile athletes willingly turned their hands to any discipline to eke out as many points as possible.

Judith Jagger and Andrea Jenkins took part in six events, plus a relay leg each.

Jagger took four second places and two thirds as she scored heavily in sprints, jumps and throws.

The 61-year-old all-rounder even stepped down an age group when finishing over 50s high jump and 300 hurdles runner-up.

Jagger clocked 68.54 in the hurdles and was also second in the over 60s discus and triple jump She achieved a distance of 7.03m in the triple jump.

Andrea Jenkins’ fourth-placed finishes in the triple jump and high jump were a huge bonus to the team, as the champion thrower showed her range of talent. Jenkins won the over 35s Javelin and hammer with distances of 20.64 and 42.83m. She also finished runner-up in the discus and shot.

Sprinter and team captain Claire Smith led her middle-aged army by example as she made a clean sweep of the over 35s sprints, winning the 100m in 13.45 along with the 200 and 400m.

In addition Smith ran further than she has done for many years by jogging round to take a vital fourth place in the 3,000m.

In her first season of track and field Alison Dunphy competed in four over 50s events, winning two and placing second in the other two.

Dunphy won the 1,500m with a time of 5.41.10. She also scored maximum points in the long jump and finished runner up over 100 and 200m.

Nicky Morgan is feeling her way back into the sport after a protracted injury induced spell on the sidelines. The long distance specialist took second in the 3,000m and also finished runner up over 400m with an 80.76 clocking.

With any PANVAC team, the throwers are a vital ingredient, and Sally Pusey won the over 50s shot with a throw of 7.31m and placed second in the hammer.

Gemma Skells cleared 2.20m when winning the over 35s pole vault while Kay Gibson and Brenda Church scored vital points for the team despite falling into the category of the walking wounded.

PANVAC pushed winners Fairland Valley Spartans all the way, but the battle with hosts Marshall Milton Keynes AC for silver was only won when all eight ladies who remained at Milton Keynes ran, limped, or hobbled a leg in the final event, the sprint relay.

Alison Dunphy ran the glory leg, getting the baton across the line first as the win in the over 50s relay ensured the silver medals were Peterborough-bound.

The PANVAC men won their qualifying group in style, but work commitments and key athletes competing with injuries didn’t help the cause at MK.

Despite this the team competed well, just missing out on medals with a fourth place finish out of the eight clubs in action.

Dave Brown was his usual steady self, blasting his way to 200 and 400m wins. Brown clocked 23.94 in the 200m, and a modest by his standards 53.50 over 400m.

Brown is currently ranked second fastest over 40 in the country with a season’s best time of 51.21.

Remarkably, Kevin Bates threw a shot PB at the meeting when winning the over 60s event.

Bates’s throw of 10.55m leaves him well clear as the nation’s leading 68-year-old shot putter.

Karl Eve did a mammoth six events ranging from pole vault to the hammer. Eve peaked in the hammer where he finished second over 50 with a throw of 21.66m and in the shot where he threw 9.05m.

One man points machine Simon Achurch won the over 35 javelin with a 43.73m distance, and placed 2nd in the other three throws.

Julian Smith took on four events, with his runners up spot when clocking 12.68 in the over 50’s 200m being the highlight.

Nevertheless, the day belonged to Claire Smith’s nine-strong female army of Milton Keynes marvels.