Thurrock's senior athletes fought hard in their Southern Athletics League round 3 match.

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First published in Sport

ATHLETICS: Thurrock's senior athletes fought hard in their Southern Athletics League round 3 match. It was held at the spectacular Allianz Stadium, Hendon and after 5 hours of competition the team took a comfortable 2nd place behind the hosts Barnet with Shaftesbury Harriers but in front of the Vale of Aylesbury and West Norfolk.

Athlete of the match' has to be Natalie Le Beau who ran a superb personal best in the 200m with a time of 26.17 to finish 2nd. In addition she won the high jump, 1.60m, and the long jump, 5.44m, and finished 2nd in the 100m.

The girl throwers took maximum points in their 4 events. Sue Lawrence won all of them which included a very good 35.10 hammer throw. She was backed by Madeline Cannell and Jill Boosey who between them won all the B events. Beth James competed in 3 events, her best effort came in the triple jump with 9m89.

The men, as usual, depended on the herculean efforts of their core team.

Michael Shortall was in cracking form winning both hurdles in excellent times, winning the B 400m and taking three 2nd places in the jumps and 100m. Yet again he was top points scorer with 28.

Likewise Dan George scored surprise wins in the javelin and shot but was beaten into 2nd place in the high jump and long jump, the events he normally wins.

He also took 2nd place in the discus. His total points score for the afternoon for this talented and experienced athlete was 23.

A contender for 'man of the match' on the men's side was Ben Gibbs who ran an excellent 11.07 in the 100m to take 2nd place. In the 200m he was also 2nd in a good time of 22.8. In what is very much one of his 'reserve' events he won the hammer throw and also won the B shot put and was 3rd in the triple jump. His points total was 21.

Mark Jenkins, now a V50 veteran and with a history of 35 years competing in the leagues, won the B pole vault and B hammer and was 2nd in the B event of the discus. He even earned 4 points filling in in the 1500m. These 4 athletes contributed 65% of the club total.

There were a host of great performances in other events. Apart from winning the B high jump and 110 hurdles Aiden Simpson contributed a superb relay leg. It was great to see Damon Nugent competing in the pole vault where his 2.8m was good enough to win. Luke Strudwicke won the 400m hurdles B string and ran a good 800m with a time of 2m20.

Nigel Instance continued his promising javelin career with a throw of 28.04m which won the B string event. He also gained valuable points in the B 800m. Jack Farmer was 2nd in the B 200m with a good time of 23.81 and was 3rd in the 400m with a time of 54.86. He also contributed a really fine relay leg in the 4 x 100.

It was frustrating for the team management to watch these committed team performances at the end of the day nullified by the fact that the endurance events were poorly supported. If the management can address this problem the team would certainly challenge for promotion out of this division.

This weekend the endurance runners take on the Horndon 10k. Hopefully strong mens and womens teams will be in action.

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