Manchester Day 1 Report
On Day 1 of the Northern Senior and U20 championships at a rather dull and windy Sport City Manchester the Leeds City senior men showed that whatever their U17 men could do they could as well.
There was a 1-2-3 for Leeds City in the U17 men’s 1500m at Gateshead. The senior men replicated this achievement in the 5000m. Their trio of Alan Buckley, Adam Grice and Dave Webb were never out of the leading group and frequently exchanged the lead. At one point they were content to follow Sunderland’s Mark Hood, but over the closing stages a further injection of pace from Dave Webb split up the leading group of six. The only two who could go with him were Grice and Buckley. Webb won in a time of 14.29.14, with Grice second and Buckley third.
Other notable performances on the track came from Gary Bristow in the 1500m. The Trafford athlete was the defending champion, but going into the final 400m he looked to have too much to do to catch the long time leader Richard Weir (Derby AC). But a very quick final 400m saw him overtake Weir with 30 metres to go to claim the title in 3.52.69. John Kelley (City of Sheffield) enjoyed a good indoor season taking both the BUCS and Northern 400m titles. At Sport City he added to these titles Northern outdoor gold in 48.25. Lauren Proctor (Wakefield & D H) is in great form and has already bettered the World Youth 1500m qualifying standard. She took this race by the scruff of the neck from the moment the gun went and only Vale Royals’ Rebecca Craigie tried to stay with her. Proctor won the race in 4.24.60 – again bettering the World Youth qualifying standard of 4.25.00. Shaunna Thompson (Sale H), who for the last two years has dominated the U17 100m and 200m looked again to be in imperious form. The result of the U20W 100m was never in doubt as she eased home in 11.92. Will she also take the 200m title on Day 2?
In the field events several athletes set new CBP marks in taking the gold medal. Andrew Sutcliffe (Sale H) cleared 5.05m in the U20M pole vault – not only a new CBP but PB and successful defence of his title as well. He then raised the bar to the European U20 qualifying height of 5.10m at which he made three good attempts. The senior men’s hammer final saw Mike Floyd (Sale H) take his sixth successive Northern title and his 10th in 11 years. The women’s equivalent was won by Sophie Hitchon (Blackburn H), the defending champion The UK U20 record holder threw 61.56m – a mark which bettered the Northern U20 CBP performance, but which protocol demands she will have to throw on Day 2 to better her own record despite this commentator’s best efforts to give her the record! Becky White (Sale H) marked her return to competition in fine style by twice bettering the old CPB mark in the women’s triple jump. Her best effort of 12.47m came in the sixth and final round. Kay Humberstone (Trafford AC) won the women’s high jump with a new PB of 1.80m. Mathew Hunt (Kingston upon Hull) was again in excellent form in the U20M javelin. He claimed gold with another throw of over 71.00m, once again bettering the European U20 qualifying standard of 69.00m and smashing the previous CBP of 64.68m set in 1995.
Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield) continued her impressive build-up to this summer’s World Championships with victory in the 100m in 11.68 and second place in the shot with a new PB of 13.72m. It was her training partner Amy Hill who, as in 2008, took gold in the shot with 14.53m.
Adrian Chrismas for Northern Athletics