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Basingstoke and Mid Hants suffer relegation
A FRUSTRATING season came to an infuriating end for Basingstoke and Mid Hants’ men’s team as they were officially relegated from National Division One of the British Athletics League.
The team travelled to Liverpool for their fourth and final match of the season, knowing that even victory might not be enough to spare them the drop.
The day got off to a bad start as sprinter Marvin Gayle was unable to make the trip – and it soon got worse. Decathlete Ben Hazell failed to record a height in the pole vault, while talented sprinter Kieran Showler-Davis aggravated his hamstring warming up and had to pull out of both the 100m and 200m.
These incidents cost Basingstoke numerous points and they were forced to settle for seventh place on the day, a result that sees them finish the season seventh in the table with seven points, eight behind the sixth-placed team.
Team manager Ian Byett said: “It was a frustrating day because so much went wrong. We should have got another 40 points and finished fifth but we just had so many problems.
“All in all, the problems put a bit of a dampener on the whole day. It kind of summed up the season, which has been a very frustrating one from my point of view.”
Once again, Andy Blow was the team’s only A string winner, claiming victory in the 110m hurdles, while multi-eventer Sam Sleap made it a double for the club in that event by winning the B race.
Sleap also claimed third place in the pole vault and second place in the B javelin, while Hazell got over his pole vault disappointment by finishing third in both the discus and javelin.
Alex Teuten recorded a personal best time of 9min 29.31sec on his way to third place in the 3,000m steeplechase, while Rob Kite was second in the B discus and there were further third-place finishes for Blow (B 100m) and Isaac Cox (B long jump).
The result means that Basingstoke and Mid Hants will spend next season in National Division Two, having spent just one season in the second tier.
Reflecting on a disappointing season, Byett said: “I think the step up was bigger than we expected, and with the various injuries, we just didn’t have the depth to compete.
“I am sure we will be in the mix to win promotion again next season. It doesn’t look like we’ll have as much travelling to do and hopefully we might even have a home fixture.”
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