GLOUCESTER AC’s senior track and field team produced their best performance of the season to place third in the final Midland League Division Two match of the season at Cheltenham.
This meant they escaped the threat of relegation, which had been a real prospect going into the fixture.
Team manager Steve Millward had been rallying around his athletes in the days leading up to the match and welcomed back several leading athletes who had been unavailable in the previous matches due to injury and clashes.
And it was those athletes who effectively sealed the team’s survival in this competitive league.
In his last race for the team before he heads off to university in America, Alex George led the 1500m from the front with brother Thomas as the two crossed the line together comfortably ahead of the field.
The twins then joined forces with training partners Andrew and Richard de Camps to win the final track event of the day, the men’s 4 x 400m relay.
Justin Sysum and Jacob Lange returned to add much-needed strength to the throwing events with support from Tim Williams, who won the men’s hammer, and Millward in the javelin.
The ladies team has been the surprise package of the season, eclipsing their male counterparts in many events, and despite some last-minute drop-outs they were on top form again.
Kelly Constable made a welcome return to form following a series of injury setbacks, taking excellent wins in the 200m and 400m.
And a little piece of history was created when Helen Pritchard won the pole vault – the first time a city athlete has ever triumphed in this event in any competition.
Anna Robertson and Kate Davies both had another full afternoon as they made a significant contribution to the points tally, with solid support from their team-mates in all of the events.
Millward said: “This performance was a huge improvement on the previous match in terms of quality and commitment and we thoroughly deserve to stay up.
“Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be sitting down with all of the coaches and looking to plug the gaps over the winter.”
This Saturday Gloucester AC hosts the Cranham Beast, with races for juniors (Under-11 and Under-15) and seniors. The racing starts at 3pm and entries can be taken on the day at Cranham Cricket Club.
Gloucester AC also hosts the Avon League fixture at their Blackbridge track this Sunday.
In terms of numbers competing this will be the biggest match to be staged at the track, with athletes of all ages coming from clubs such as Forest of Dean, Bath, Bristol, North Somerset and Stroud. The first event is at noon.
MIDLAND LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, CHELTENHAM: Cheltenham & County Harriers 414 points, Bristol & West 345, Gloucester AC 343, Newport AC 302, Coventry Godiva 253, Charnwood 236.
OVERALL LEAGUE STANDINGS: Cheltenham & County Harriers 19.5 point, Newport 17 (1,368 match points), Bristol & West 17 (1,286 points), Gloucester 13, Charnwood 10, Coventry Godiva 7.5.