BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants AC were narrowly denied a second British Athletics League victory of the season.

The Down Grange club and hosts Southampton were level on points at the top of the standings going into the final event of the afternoon, the 4x400m relay.

Basingstoke won the relay at the first match of the season but were not quite as strong on Saturday and could only finish third, with Southampton crossing the line first to win the match by just four points.

Ian Byett, Basingstoke’s team manager, said: “It was another good result and in the end we were disappointed not to win because it was so close.

“It could have gone either way. One or two results going differently and we could have had another win.

“We were pretty solid across the board. You are always going to have one or two weak events, but we were pretty pleased with the way it went.”

Despite finishing second, Basingstoke remain top of the National Division Two table. Both they and Southampton have amassed 15 points but the Down Grange club have collected nine more points over the course of the opening two fixtures.

“All in all, it is a very good result,” Byett added. “It keeps us top of the division and we are well clear of third.

“We have had a good start to the season and we will do our best to keep it going. We have a great chance of being promoted, we just have keep maintaining the level of performance we have shown in the first two meetings.”

There was nothing to choose between Basingstoke and Southampton over the course of the afternoon, with the lead changing hands on several occasions.

Basingstoke were very consistent, getting athletes into the top three in most events and winning four A string and three B string events.

Dean Showler-Davis repeated the success he enjoyed in the sprints at Basingstoke, winning both the 100m and 200m, while Samuel Adams was victorious in the long jump and Ben Hazell won the discus.

The B string winners were Sam Sleap (110m hurdles), Dave Ragan (1,500m) and David Fry (3,000m steeplechase).

Young sprinter Owen Richardson made his BAL debut, replacing the injured Kieran Showler-Davis in the B 200m and 4x100m. The 15-year-old was unlucky not to win the 200m, finishing second despite being given the same time as the winner.