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SAL – Div 2 S – Tonbridge – Match 3 – 9th June - 2012


It was already very evident after the 2 earlier matches this season that the SAL has this year attracted many new clubs who are considerably bigger and stronger than ourselves. So it was no surprise really that our small squad who made it to the 3rd match of the season at Tonbridge on 9/6 struggled throughout the afternoon to move beyond last place in most events. But all our Invicta representatives competed well and enjoyed themselves, and there were some particularly impressive performances.


Foremost among these was that of Nick Farnell. In my report of the Vets match at Canterbury on 14/5, I detailed how Nick had considerably exceeded his expectations when competing in the javelin for the 1st time in over 25 years. He had won the event by 11m, throwing 39.52m. I had questioned whether he could get over 40m before his 50th birthday on 16/6? I said I would let you all know if he did. The SAL match at Tonbridge represented Nick`s final chance to try for that distance. He was certainly very motivated but understandably also a little apprehensive. Had his throw at Canterbury been a fluke? Could he reach that far again? The wind at Tonbridge was very strong and not obviously conducive to javelin throwing. So, how did he get on? Round 1-nice steady run-up and delivery-lowish-but it sailed on the wind. Distance?.....41.50+m!!! Huge relief and satisfaction. He did it. Challenge accepted and delivered!! You can relax now Nick...no pressure...target achieved. Round 2 - smooth run-up-excellent transition - higher release - surely that can`t be further?? But it sails on....to 45m!!! All the other much younger competitors are rightly impressed-and a new name, not seen in athletics results for the past 25 years, moves to 3rd place in the national mens 45-49 rankings!! Nick now progresses  to the M50 lighter (700gm) javelin. What a time to make a comeback Nick! If this is the start what can be achieved in the future?? Again, I`ll keep you all posted. Perhaps some credit for Nick`s performance should also be given to team manager John Gilbert who, prior to the javelin event, had prevailed upon Nick`s good nature and encouraged him to compete in the shot and hammer (which he had never done before - a promising 7.49m with a standing throw and 19.17m) and to assist with officiating. All part of a shrewd strategy to get Nick nicely warmed up and comfortable before his amazing efforts in the javelin!! Well....


A special mention always has to be made of Lee Rogers. At the previous match Lee had badly damaged his leg in the Steeplechase and it was doubtful whether he be would be fit for this match. But Lee is of the “iron-man” breed of athlete and was as willing as ever to do all that he could, even though he wasn`t get fully fit. So-“A” 100m - 14:96; 200m - 28:97; 110mH - 22:71; 400m - 84:01; 2kS/C - 8.21:27; HJ - 1-00: “B” 1500 – 6.06:48; 5k – 21.22:24 PLUS both relays!! You are very special Lee. Another athlete who is shaping up to be a “workhorse” is Jon Ness. In only his 2nd match in the SAL Jon contested the “A” LJ – 4.10m and the “B” 100m - 13:57m; 200m – 25.93; 400m – 57.75 and Dis – 15.36m and was set to do more events and the relays when he unfortunately picked up an injury which he reluctantly accepted had to bring his afternoon to a premature finish. But Jon will be back asap and continuing to make a big impact. Well done Jon.

Barry Hopkins and Thomas Purnell are also now established anchors of the team. Barry contested the “A” 400m – 62.82, “B” 800m – 2.30:10 and both relays. Tom ran in the “A” 800m – 2.16:11; 1500m – 4.52:69; 5k – 17.22:78, “B” 2k S/C – 8.11:82 and both relays. Thank you both for your support and contribution. Team Manager John Gilbert was occupied most of the afternoon with officiating (in the unavoidable absence of our ever reliable Gilien Davison we had no officials and so our competitors also had to officiate - not always conducive to best performances). John just had to fit some throws and jumps in as and when he could - often while he was judging the event he was competing in!! In the “A” events he managed- Shot – 7.57m; Discus – 19.92m; Hammer – 22.92m and “B” Javelin – 21.18m and LJ-2.35m. Just when John thought his busy afternoon was finished his team mates hesitantly (actually it was with much laughter and amusement) told him that, because of Jon Ness`s injury, a 4th person was required if we were to contest the relays!! So...in the spirit of camaraderie and “one for all and all for one” that characterizes the team John tried to leg-it away from the track as quickly as possible!! But, inevitably, it wasn`t quick enough and on the understanding that he could be lead runner (shortest distances and only has to hand over the baton and not receive it as well!!) John accepted the irony of the situation (as team manager he is often extolling OTHERS to make that little extra sacrifice) and at least managed eventually to get the baton safely to the next runner- 4x100m – 58.78 and 4x400m – 4.45:25.


Our womens team comprised 4 stalwart “veterans” all of whom in their looks and performances challenge the image that title often suggests. They all competed with a level of enthusiasm and purpose that any teenager would be proud of. Team Manager Sharon Hawkins was, as always, an inspiration and competed in the “A” 400m – 74.20; 800m – 2.38:35; 1500m – 5.29:14 and 3k – 10.59:86. Jackie Rendell ran in the “A” 100m – 19.80; 200m – 43.35; 400m – 1.43:39 and also did the “B” LJ – 1.98m. In the field Sue Rogers contested the “A” LJ – 2.21m; Shot – 5.49m; Discus – 13.09m and Javelin – 13.47m. Lea Burnett was equally busy in the “B” Shot – 4.57m; Discus – 11.67m; Javelin – 9.91m and the “A” Hammer – 7.52m. Well done Ladies.


The next fixture is at Kingston on sat 14th July. It would be so nice to see more Invicta athletes turn out for that. The “sign-up” sheet is in the clubhouse. Do come and join us and have a worthwhile and fun time.


Yours in Sport-


John Gilbert