A small but somehow still eclectic mix of personalities made the journey to Nuneaton for the 2nd match of the division 2 BAL season on 2nd June (all the 2’s… spooky). From the strong silent types to the ‘please gonnae shut up before this migraine gets any worse’ sort; and from the young up-and-comers to the, eh… more experienced athletes who have been doing this for just a bit too long, all had a common goal: to make amends for the slow start in the last round. Alas, much like many a Scottish sports team, it was to end in glorious failure. Despite a great effort (please see the GCAC Facebook page for a slightly more gushing description and an example of the problems of late night posting), we finished 6th in the match won by our new best friends, Bournemouth A.C.
Our social media maestro and part-time philosopher (full-time legend), Connor Henderson, began the track proceedings with a positive result when finishing 2nd in a S.B. of 53.59secs over the 400m hurdles. His placing was matched in the B-string race by Martin Hayes.
Continuing the good start, Matthew Turner rolled back the years with an impressive run of 1:53.79 to secure 3rdnd place over the 800m – his quickest run of the season after a 4-year absence from GCAC. Chris Boyle likewise showed he has the talent and racing brain to compete at this level with a run of 1:57.75 in the B-string heat for another 2nd place finish.
In the 100m, Stephen Dunlop produced an outstanding performance considering he had an injury scare beforehand, flying to a 10.76secs clocking for 3rd place in the A-string heat. There was also a strong showing from the other member of ‘Team Baillie’ (for those who don’t know, he is some old coach who won a medal one time somewhere and won’t stop banging on about it :P) on duty in the 400m. This time Anthony Young was the man who pulled it out the bag, finishing 1st with a new P.B. of 47.57secs. Only a contentious disqualification for a lane infringement prevented GCAC taking full points in the 400m after Greg Louden ran a solid race to head the field in the B-string race.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for the sprinters but it was still great to see the return of David Clark to BAL competition in the 100m as well as the first outing for Blair Crawford in the 200m.
Back in the endurance events, Martin Hayes gained a little pride back after his poor 400m hurdles display with a win in the 3000m steeplechase to maintain Glasgow City’s record of success in the event. He then supported Matthew Turner to claim 1st in the B-string 1500m whilst Matthew had another exceptional race to finish 2nd in the A-string competition with a time of 3:58.08. The 2 heroes/stalwarts/total dafties (I’ll let you decide which is more appropriate) went on to drag their battered bodies around the 12.5 laps of the 5000m to gain a few more points for the cause.
Many of our field contingent were unavailable for this match but we couldn’t have asked any more of those who were able to make the trip and those track athletes who stepped up to fill spaces.
Debutant Nicky Stone made the unenviable trip from Inverness and played a significant role by competing in all of the circular throwing events to help bolster our points tally. Cian O’Donnell demonstrated similar commitment throwing the shot, discus and javelin and in doing so proved that he is just as valuable as his ‘big time’ training partner who decided to have a holiday in Tenerife 😉.
Cian teamed up with another of his training mates, the versatile man mountain that is Jax Thoirs, in both the long and triple jumps. Both men were left frustrated with their performances on the day but their leaps of 6.61m and 5.86m were enough to claim 3rd and 4th place finishes in their respective long jump pools. Scottish record holder, Jax, also took part in the B-string high jump - where he finished 4th - as well as the pole vault in a bid to claim some extra points. However, he was promoted from the B-string to the A-string pool after a freak accident during warm up left the developing talent of Reuben Nairne unable to vault. We wish Reuben a quick return to action!
The day culminated with the relays where there was further drama for the green and gold army. First up, the 4x100m boys laid down the gauntlet by pulling off a sensational run for 2nd place. The team of Stephen Dunlop, Isaiah Adekanmbi, Cian O’Donnell and Zach Bryson got the baton round in a time of 43.04secs for our best finish in a number of years over the shorter relay. Not to be outdone, one of the prettiest GCAC 4x400m teams to have been assembled since the glory days of David Martin and Sean Watson provided a scintillating if not nerve shredding finale. The fab four of Greg Louden, Connor Henderson, Stephen Perrie-Clyde and Anthony Young battled their way to the honours against strong competition in 3:17.33.
It feels like this has been said on far too many occasions now but there was a phenomenal sense of team spirit and effort which the result doesn’t quite reflect. Yet again though, our lack of depth in certain events proved to be our undoing.
There were still a number of positives to suggest we can challenge for the ‘W’ in the remaining matches such as finishing 2nd equal on the track but we NEED to take full teams to make the potential a something more.
Our thanks go to Brian Donaldson for transporting the poles down to Nuneaton and Evelyn Melvin, without whom we would never actually get to travel to these competitions.
Report thanks to team manager, Martin Hayes