BASINGSTOKE and Mid Hants athletes are celebrating after claiming the club's second-highest British Athletics League finish.

The Down Grange club came fifth at the final match of the season in Liverpool, a result that saw them end the season fourth in National One, the second tier of competition in Britain.

It's an excellent achievement for a team who were expected to struggle near the foot of the table, having been promoted from National Two at the end of last season.

Team managed Ian Byett said: "I am delighted with the way the season has gone as a whole. We battled hard all of the way through.

"I certainly did not expect us to finish so high up the table. To be ranked 12th in Britain, with all of the teams in front of us, and some of those behind us, from big cities, is very good. I am very proud of what we have achieved.

"There have been some great individual performances during the season, with new athletes blooded. Things look good for the future with some bright young athletes at the club and we will be looking to build on this result next season."

A strong team travelled to Liverpool for the fourth and final match of the season, picking up two event victories.

Ryan Bonifas cleared 2.05m to win the high jump, while the 4x100m team of Myles Richardson, Owen Richardson, Andy Blow and Dean Showler-Davis raced to victory in 49.92sec.

Blow also finished second in the 110m hurdles, a result matched by Ryan Burling in the 3,000m steeplechase. Showler-Davis finished third in both the 100m and 200m.

In the B string events, Owen Richardson finished second in the 200m, while Jonty Davison picked up an excellent second place in the 400m hurdles and Ben Hazell was runner-up in the long jump. Bonifas was third in the javelin, a result equalled by Sam Sleap in the high jump.

Basingstoke amassed 265 points on the day to finish fifth, ensuring that they held on to fourth place in the final standings.

Byett added: "It was good to finish fifth at the final match and everyone in the team contributed to the result as there were few winners, but lots of good placings."