A small ragtag band of brave young men set off on an epic quests traversing mountains and rivers, through valleys and glens, negogiating many other obstacles along the way on the road to...Swansea. Ok it wasn't exactly as dramatic as Tolkien's tales of middle earth (though I'm sure I saw a few Ork-like creatures at breakfast in Birmingham) and the closest we got to bloodshed may have been when I was wielding the hammer but the journey was truly Mordor - sorry, that was a terrible pun but I couldn't resist. Nevertheless, the 14-man team put in an exceptional effort to cover all but 2 of the event slots and finish 6th at Match 2 of this year's Division I BAL Match. This result lifts Glasgow City off the bottom of the league table and back into a competitive position.
Our jumpers deserve considerable credit for the way they conducted themselves after the team coach arrived late to the venue. Rather than complain (at least not to my face), they got on with the job in hand and David Martin could in fact have won the Long Jump competition if not for a dubious officiating call on the board, despite only warming up half-way through the event! David ultimately finished in 3rd place with a SB of 7.14m and was backed up by Cian 'who needs Andy Murphy when you have me' O'Donnell who finished 5th in the B-string contest. The High Jump saw 2 GCAC debutants also give a good account of themselves: the handsome duo of Marcus Morton and Amit Kumar securing 5th and 2nd placings in their respective pools of the competition. Our best result of the day though came courtesy of Jax Thoirs winning the A-string Pole Vault as he soared to a clearance of 4.83m. Cian claimed even more valuable points with 3rd place and a PB in the B-string pool.
Disappointingly, we had no event-specific athletes in the circular throws for the 2nd match in a row but the team spirit was encapsulated by the squad voluntarily filling-in these events in the scrap for precious points. On a brighter note, another shiny new face to the Glasgow City brotherhood, Patrick Dunne, delivered a SB throw of 51.79m for 5th place in the A-string javelin competition.
On the track, heart (and mouth) of the team, Connor Henderson, kicked things off with a 53.46 run over the 400m Hurdles for 3rd place in the A-string race. This result was matched by Anthony Young in the flat edition of the quarter-mile sprint: strong, classy and stylish, Anthony's hair was on-point as he tore round the oval in 48.71secs. Testing weather conditions along with the team's travel arrangements were clearly not conducive to fast performances for sprinters but Steven Beattie, David Martin, and Alec and Kade Thomas competed fiercely as ever to deliver more crucial points.
It was also a testing day for the endurance section with 2 athletes (plus me) contesting 6 of the 8 multi-lap events. The closest thing we have to a hobbit, Lachlan Oates (it's ok, he doesn't read these blogs ;) ) produced our best track performance of the day with a PB in the 5000m. Lachlan demonstrated astute tactical awareness and strong running to finish in 2nd place with 14:25.36 behind GB representative Dewi Griffiths of the host club. Max Ralston made his own contribution when doubling up in the 800m and 1500m, which was an admirable feat considering the doctor had worked 4 consecutive 12 hours shifts in the week leading up to the match. A poor man's Forrest Gump, I was even able to pitch in with a run of 9:35.88 for 2nd place in the A-string 3000m steeplechase.
Highlight of the day undoubtedly came by way of the 4x400m relay and a shock 2nd place finish for the boys in green and gold. The team of Anthony, Alec, Kade and Cian combined exceptionally well after a busy day, in what was an exciting conclusion to the day's proceedings. The 4x100m team of Kade, Alec, Steven and David were equally as impressive to place 4th and, in the process, secured their best finish for a number of matches.
'Heroes', 'Warriors', 'Legends' are all words that have been used to describe the team performance (mostly by the modest squad on the bus journey home) but in all seriousness, there were a lot of positives to take away from the weekend. From athletes pitching in to fill unfamiliar events such as Amit in the High Hurdles, to the effort demonstrated by Alec as he was massacred by the lactic sniper in the home straight of the 400m, there was a great deal of pride in the Glasgow vest on display with the guys all fighting for one another. It may have been disappointing to have had such a select few athletes available but, by the same note, it demonstrates the potential we have if we can take full teams to matches.
We wish to extend a massive thank you to the GAA and Evelyn Melvin without whom we would have struggled to make it to the match.
Finally, for anyone playing along in the last blog, there were 32 films contained within the rabble. Congratulations if you were sad enough to get them all :)