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Promotion setback for Basingstoke and Mid Hants
INJURY-HIT Basingstoke and Mid Hants were only able to finish fourth at their third British Athletics League match of the season.
However, their hopes of promotion from National Two remain very much alive.
A total of seven athletes were forced to miss the match in Derby due to various ailments and Basingstoke were unable to repeat the level of performance that saw them finish inside the top two at the first two meetings.
Team manager Ian Byett said: “Expectations have gone up now so we were a little bit disappointed. We were hoping for first, second or third but considering the problems we had, it was a decent showing.”
Byett may have been slightly disappointed by the overall result, but there were plenty of fine individual displays to cheer at Derby.
Most impressive was the 4x100m team of Myles Richardson, Dean Showler-Davis, Kieran Showler-Davis and Andy Blow, who set a new club record of 41.29sec to retain their unbeaten record in BAL competition this season.
Blow also won the 110m hurdles and B string 200m, while Dean Showler-Davis was victorious in the long jump and B 110m hurdles. Kieran Showler-Davis clocked 21.40sec for the 200m to claim a comfortable win and also finished second in the 100m.
Elsewhere, Tom Syckelmore clocked a personal best time of 1min 53.39sec to finish second in the 800m, a feat matched by youngster Richardson in the B 100m. Sam Sleap finished third in the pole vault, high jump and B javelin, while there were also third-place finishes for Matthew Lavoipierre in the 400m hurdles, David Ragan in the 3000m steeplechase and Ben Jones in the hammer.
The patched-up team amassed a total of 280.5pts, well behind winners Southend, who are now just one point behind second-placed Basingstoke in the league standings going into the final match at Bromley on August 18.
The equation that day is simple. Promotion will be assured if Basingstoke finish no lower than sixth and ahead of Southend, while they need to win the match to have any chance of overhauling Glasgow to claim the title.
Byett added: “Southend put in a performance that we did not think they were capable of but we are still in the top two and it’s all to play for with one match to go.
“We know we can do it and if I had been offered this position at the start of the season I would have taken it. We should have Ben Hazell and at least some of the injured guys back for the next meeting so hopefully we can do it.”