MATT BELL lifted his 15th consecutive Senior Men’s hammer title when the Northamptonshire Track and Field Championships were held over two days at Corby’s Rockingham Triangle.
The meeting saw the 33-year-old take the title from his Corby club colleague John Hay (46.56m) with a modest, by his standards, first-round throw of 54.33m.
In his first year as a senior, Rushden’s Ben Sturgess (Milton Keynes) recorded a fine double when he took the 200m in 22.6 before returning the following day to win the 400m in 49.7 from Corby AC’s Dale Willis (50.5).
Willis also had to settle for silver in the 800m behind Rugby & Northampton AC’s Chris Lamb (1.56.7) despite recording a new best of 1.57.5.
Third in the race was Ben Sharman who went on to win the 1500m while other Birchfield Harriers to land titles were Matt Almond in the 5000m and Yannick Phippen who just edged out Corby’s Paul Webster to win the 100m.
Kettering Town Harrier Sian Edwards was responsible for one of the six championship bests when she clocked 17.27.4 in the Senior Women’s 5000m which was also a new stadium record.
In her wake, Corby’s Rebecca Hall (17.42.7) was also inside the old record of 17.46.7 which was set last year by Jo Pulsford.
In the same age group there was some excellent throwing by Corby’s Rachel Tyler with 40.55m in the discus, Birchfield’s Sam Cullinane who threw 41.91m in the javelin and Woodford Green’s Lucy Marshall whose best effort of 54.55m in the hammer came in the first round.
Themba Luhana (R&N) recorded one of the fastest times nationally this season when he set a new meeting record of 14.6 in the Under-20 Men’s 110m hurdles and also performed well in the triple jump with his best effort measured at 14.06m.
Scott Kendall (Corby) threw a creditable 46.32m in the javelin while Kettering Harrier Matt Stewart registered his second lifetime best within a week when he took the 800m in 2.00.9.
In the corresponding women’s age group, Kettering’s Niamh Bailey was unopposed when she lifted five titles outright and finished equal first with Thrapston’s Daniella Hankins (Bedford & County) in the high jump after the pair cleared 1.60m.
That effort matched Bailey’s best while her performances in the 400m (60.0) and the long jump (5.45m) were lifetime bests with the latter ranking her 15th best Under-20 in Britain this season.
In the Under-17 section, Corby’s Jack Whitworth just edged out holder Bradley Fox (Kettering Town Harriers) to land the 100m title by one-tenth of a second in a new best of 11.8 while Kettering’s Edward Cherry smashed his best when he overhauled R&N’s Tom Charteress (52.9) in the final 10 metres to win the 400m gold in 52.7.
In the field, Corby’s bottom year thrower Darren Foster adapted well to the heavier implement when he threw 47.70m to win the hammer.
On the female side, there was a close race for the 800m title which went to Kettering’s Francesca Ashworth, who just held off the fast finishing Ellie Welch (Corby) by a metre to win in 2.21.9, with another Harrier Jess Gordon taking the bronze in a new best of 2.25.1.
Welch returned the following day to record her second personal best of the meeting when she won the 1500m in 4.57.6 from Kettering’s Abigail Coleman (5.02.0).
On the field, Kettering Harrier Daisy Gilbert added just over three metres to her lifetime best when she won the hammer with 26.41m.
The one championship best that went in the Under-15 age group came from Corby’s Sophia Martin who erased Emma McFarlane’s four-year-old record of 43.7 when she raced home to take the 300m in 43.3.
Fellow Corby runner Ruby Goodall strode to a comfortable victory over 800m in a new best of 2.25.7 but failed to make it a double when, despite clocking a new best of 4.59.6, she had to settle for third behind the R&N pair of Lily Carmichael (4.57.5) and Kirsty Goddard (4.58.7) in a race which saw all the medalists break five minutes for the first time.
In the opposite boys 1500m, Josh Cara (KTH) was untroubled as he retained his title in 4.31.1 from Kyran Wilson and Jack Hope who occupied the same positions as last year.
Jay O’Leary (R&N) sliced exactly one second from his championship best when he took the Under-13 Boys 75m hurdles title in 13.3 from Tyrese Parris-Smith (14.2).
The runner-up contributed to Wellingborough & District’s best showing at the championships since the club’s formation when he won the long jump with his effort of 4.45m.
In the girls section, Kettering’s Tabatha Walford used sound tactics to secure a fine middle-distance double while also performing well for the club was Grace Linnett who lifted the 200m title before just missing out on making it a sprint double the following day.
The final two meeting records came when Ian Gidley (R&N) took out Bob Abdy’s 13-year-old mark of 1.56m when winning the Veteran high jump with 1.75m and Kettering’s Erin Healy wiped out Emma McGinty’s record of 30.9 from 1999 when she convincingly won the Under-11 200m in 30.7.