Downham Market Ryston Runners AC seal 2022 Eastern Masters Track and Field League final spot
The busiest fixture of the past week for Ryston Runners AC was the final qualifying match in the 2022 Eastern Masters Track and Field League.
Returning to the venue of the opening match of the season, both Ryston teams were somewhat depleted by holidays, work commitments, and grandparent duties, but still managed to finish second to the hosts Peterborough AC/Nene Valley Harriers and secure their places in the final, scheduled for early September in Bedford.
A welcome return to the team by Paul Oakes, M60, saw him take two wins, in discus and long jump, as well as a second place in javelin, throwing down an age group. Tony Savage and Keith Morris, both also M60, came into the men’s team to qualify them to take part in the final.
Tony ran the unfamiliar distance of 200m for second place while Keith earned his points for the team in the javelin.
Matt Hitchcock bagged himself personal bests in both these events, competing in the M35-49 category, as well as placing third in long jump.
Also competing down an age group, Ricky Huskisson took second place in the M50 200m, then moved down even further to join Matt, David Lane (M50) and Jamie Bransgrove to make up an M35 relay team. Jamie had also competed in the M35 mile and 400m hurdles races.
The club’s M50 relay team comprised Jeff Reed (M75), Paul Oakes (M65), Tony Savage (M60) and Nigel Kenny (M55), the latter having also competed in the mile and discus.
Just six women represented Ryston at the match, covering 10 events and a relay between them, drafting in team manager Helen Reed for the latter.
Pat Oakes (W75), back from injury, threw the javelin for the W60 age group. The other three members of the relay squad, Linda Marshall and Wendy Fisher, both W50, and Liz Blakie (W60) shared the other nine events among them, scoring consistent second and third places in all of them.
Nigel Kenny, having cut his track and field teeth in the EMAC League this season, made his debut in Southern Athletics League competition at Stevenage the previous weekend.
Unfortunately, squad numbers have been low all season and Nigel in fact constituted a quarter of the men’s team who struggled manfully to accumulate points against much fuller, more local teams.
Highlights of the team’s afternoon were Rob Simmonds’ double wins in shot and discus.
The other two team members, Chris Balmer and Gareth Hunt, covered a multitude of events, Chris mainly on track and Gareth in field.
The women’s team featured Marlene Simmonds (W75) and Gaye Clarke (W60), along with Penny Simmonds, whose meteoric run in the 3000m has been previously reported, Bec Tuff, covering field events, and younger member Shannon Wheatley, gaining valuable experience at this level.
Sadly, it appears likely that the lack of appetite, or time, for this sort of competition this season may mean Ryston stuggling to escape the relegation zone from Division Two East.
Younger Ryston members were in action in the final event of the 2022 QuadKids season at Lynnsport.
Ethan Ward sewed up a successful season by taking gold on the day in Under 13 boys and consolidating his position as champion overall in that section.
Laila Ringer took home bronze from the Under 11 girls’ competition.
Also competing on the day were Aidan Howard, Dione Britton, Leah Beagles, Poppy Hollingsworth, Olivia Ord, Ellie Bransgrove, Casey Ward and Jessica Lawrence.
It was a mixture of seasoned QuadKids competitors and a debut for Olivia, all of whom have enjoyed the variety of events on offer in these matches.
Sole road running action came courtesy of Amy Dewart and Louise Franklin, who took part in the Harling 10K, at East Harling between Thetford and Attleborough.
Amy placed 61st overall, placing her third in the SW category with 48:04, while Louise was 232nd 10thW40 in 71:54.