ATHLETICS: IN the first match of the Southern Athletics League Thurrock Harriers’ joint senior men and women’s squads battled hard to finish second, writes David Staines.

They entered the match fearing rivals Braintree and ended up 30 points ahead of them but 69 points behind surprise package West Suffolk and Diss. One of the performances of the day must be that of Toni Noble who won the women’s 3k with an excellent time of 11m 25.3s.

With her in the race was Amy Trencher who won the B string in a time of 12m 44s. The other winner from the ladies section was returning athlete Lucy Howe who won the high jump.

For the men Michael Shortall won both hurdles races handsomely and was delighted with his PB in the B400m.

His total points contribution was 27. Another double winner was Jack Farmer who held on strongly to win the B 200m and looked at his best in the 400m which he won convincingly. Ben Gibbs was another major scorer.

He won the 100m in 11.3s and contributed 20 points in various jumps and throws the best of which was his triple jump (11.80m) for third place. Dan George amassed a valuable 13 points in the throws and high jump.

In the latter his 1.80m earned him second.

Two young newcomers excelled. Tyler Chu won the pole vault and Aiden Simpson won the B110m hurdles and took second place in the B high jump.

Mark Jenkins, now in the V50 category, made his usual impact in the throw and 400m hurdles. His total contribution was 13 points. The middle distance squad was decimated by the London Marathon.

Probably the best performance was that of Tei Llyn-Jones with an amazing 17m 26.4s run in the 5k which took second.

Jon Metcalf, Alec Finch, Don Lawless and Mohammed Allali scored well in the remainder of the events. The 12-strong women’s team covered most of their events. Beth James and Amelia Sumun performed well in the jumps. Likewise Madeleine Cannell and Sue Lawrence produced some good performances in the throws.

Lawrence’s discus of 33.44m earned her second place. An interesting debut was made by Anna Stancombe in the 400m where she was a stride behind the winner in 64.7s.

Jodi Farrell and Victoria Peacock took both runners-up spots in the 1500m.

Charlotte Edwards, another debutante, ran a useful 800m. The team management were glad to see Rebecca Connolly back in sprint action.

Final score: West Suffolk/Diss 289, Thurrock 220, Braintree 194, Woodford Green, Essex Ladies 82, Orion 29.