BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants Athletic Club are celebrating after their men’s team secured promotion to National Division One of the British Athletics League.
The team claimed a narrow victory at the final meeting of the season, held in Bath, performing brilliantly in the last six events of the day to beat second-placed Harrow by a single point.
Basingstoke were in a strong position going into the match and their second victory of the season ensured that they finished second in the National Division Two table, earning them promotion to the second tier of British athletics.
Team manager Ian Byett said: “Obviously, we are delighted with the result after what was a tense day of athletics, but it was a good all-round performance from the team, with the athletes showing a lot of grit and determination.”
The Down Grange club went into the final match of the season knowing that they would win promotion back to the second tier of British athletics if they could finish ahead of Kingston and Poly and no lower than fifth overall.
Byett was confident ahead of the match, but his belief must have been shaken with two-thirds of the events completed.
At that stage Basingstoke were languishing in sixth and in danger of missing out on a place in the top two.
However, as the weather deteriorated, Basingstoke came into their own, taking 120 points from a possible 144 on offer to come from behind and claim an unlikely match victory.
Victory was decided by the relays, with the 4x100m team of Owen Richardson, Dean Showler-Davis, Myles Richardson and Kieran Showler-Davis claiming an excellent win. The 4x400m team of Jon Elderfield, Hayden Carter (pictured left), Matthew Lavoipierre and Dean Showler-Davis then finished second in their race to secure top spot overall.
It was extremely tight at the top though, with Basingstoke’s total of 316.3points just one more than second-placed Harrow, with league champions Southampton 0.3points further behind.
The top-two finish Basingstoke craved to earn an instant return to National Division One was secured with ease in the end, the Down Grange club winding up six points clear of third-placed Harrow and just three behind Southampton.
In addition to the sprint relay team, Basingstoke’s other main event winner was Hayden Carter, who finished quickly to win the 800m. Sam Sleap won the B 110m hurdles, while Ben Hazell won the B javelin.
However, it was Basingstoke’s consistency across the events that won them the match, with athletes securing second-place finishes in eight events and five third-place finishes.
Matthew Lavoipierre (400m hurdles), Alex Teuten (3,000m steeplechase), Hazell (discus), Adam Akehurst (javelin) and the 4x400m team got Basingstoke’s A string second places, while Owen Richardson (200m), Tom Bowerman (3,000m steeplechase) and Sleap (shot) were the B string runners up.
Dean Showler-Davis claimed a brace of third place finishes, in the 100m and 200m, while Lavoipierre was third in the 400m. B string third places went to Tom Sycklemore (800m) and Daniel Spencer (discus).