BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants look set to retain their place in British Athletics League National Division One after claiming a hard-earned sixth-place finish at the third meeting of the year.

The Down Grange club were very much depleted for their trip to Bromley on Saturday, taking just 18 athletes to compete in the 34-event meeting.

In total 15 athletes who had represented the club at one of the two previous meetings did not make the trip.

Sprinters Dean Showler-Davis and Kieran Showler-Davis missed out through injury, while the Richardson brothers, Myles and Owen, were just two of several of the club’s young stars otherwise engaged at the English Schools Championships.

It could have been a disastrous afternoon, but the athletes who did make the trip really stepped up to the mark.

Decathlete Ben Hazell won 44 of the team’s 215 points on his own, with his best performance a third-placed finish in the javelin. Ryan Bonifas claimed 28, finishing second in the high jump, while fellow multi-eventers Sam Sleap and John Dickinson also won valuable points for the team.

Basingstoke’s event wins came from Andy Blow, who stormed to victory in the 110m hurdles, and Jermaine Mays, who led the 1,500m from gun to tape. Ryan Burling managed third place in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Overall, Basingstoke’s total of 215 points saw them finish sixth on the day, a result that leaves them fifth in the overall standings heading into the final match at Liverpool next month.

They will be assured of avoiding relegation if they manage to finish fifth or better there, but they can probably rest easy with a five-point gap to the bottom two.

Team manager Ian Byett said: “We did well under the circumstances. It was a case of parking the bus and grinding out a respectable result, but we put in a really good team effort.

“They all put in so much effort. It was a real team effort. I was worried that it might be a bad day for us, but the guys did really well.”

Byett added: “I’m delighted with the way things have gone this season. We have held our own after being promoted and are looking forward to having a good go at Liverpool.”