NAL Match Sportcity. 4th June 2022.

Match report


Last year was a dress rehearsal of Athletics emerging from the restrictions and fears of the 2020 outbreak. I wasn't sure how far we had come from those days but Saturday confirmed that the NAL league was a good idea and Sale were emerging from a difficult few years having lost some veteran leaders within the club. There is nothing as good as a track and field meet with most of the places filled and the result in doubt right until the end but you're in with a chance. There really is something for everyone in this sport, whatever your natural body type but after that, good preparation and special human qualities are needed. We can't all become champions but we can benefit immensely from the journey required to perform in these events.

 Things were looking promising from early events on the track where a double victory in the 400m Hurdles banked some points. It is especially pleasing to see athletes who not long ago were in the YDL Lower coming through to impress at Senior level. Looking across towards the Pole vault the B vaulter was a vet 55 who has passed on his genes and advice to a young vaulter with great promise who would appear in the Women’s Pole vault later. Next on the track was a young man with unbridled enthusiasm who will fill vacant spots when asked because he has that selfless character and team spirit to do so. He took on the High Jump too.

I sat near the water jump for the Men’s Steeplechase where last year our A runner took a ducking, brushed himself down and carried on. Unsurprisingly here he is again giving his best. These qualities go beyond Athletics and serve us well in life. The Women’s Shot was taking place just near that bend. The tall powerful figure warming up I knew well. In 2009 she lined up in the City Games following Bolt to race against Christina Orughu and Debbie Ferguson to sprint impressively. After those giddy heights things didn’t go well but like the 'chaser she dusted herself down and came back. Now she is a Shot Putter. She won the event.

The events were briefly punctuated by a Special Award ceremony for a Special Sale athlete who is now busy with James Bailey and Dave Marsh in managing the team. Club Secretary Frank Cordingley presented her with a richly deserved lifetime membership award. Lucy Evans has been a faithful athlete to the club. A Welsh International Sprinter who proudly wore her Sale vest when competing in America when she was at University there. Her Sale vest was recognised by an official there who asked 'Is that a famous Sale Harriers Manchester England vest?' Lucy raced in many places but revealed that a p.b. was set once at an event at Leigh so don't think events outside major championships are not important.

The meeting continued with a blistering performance from a young woman who has just finished at University and now lives in the South West. She has concentrated on her main sport- Modern Pentathlon. Keep an eye out for her at movie premieres too.

We have an U20 sprinter who is inside the world junior standard time whilst currently heading the rankings for 200m.She ran the 100 in just outside her P.B. You would not realise as she is not at all arrogant, which is a quality that will serve her well.

Sale Javelin throwers were one and two in the competition. This event doesn't always get the limelight that track events get. Can you imagine how difficult it was for throwers to train for their event during the lockdown? No chance of popping out to the nearest field for a bit of practice when you are capable of almost 60m.

Our top male sprinters received the accolade of being named amongst the best performances of the meeting; both going below 11 secs. Congratulations

At the time of writing the eventual result had not been published or confirmed but it was very very close between Sale and Liverpool. I have taken the approach of illustrating the variety of athletes that it takes to compete well as a team and deliberately not named people because everyone counts in attempting to win the event. You can look up performances later.

The future looks promising for this team under the relatively new leadership of Lucy Evans, James Bailey and Dave Marsh. They should be commended for their energy and commitment in the time consuming task of trying to fill every event with athletes as many factors compete for athletes’ time.

All the results can be found here (we came 2nd after Liverpool).

photos such as the ones shown will be in the next Harrier magazine or if you can’t wait that long look here


D.E.Greenwood   Ernie