Mansfield Harriers produce a fighting display to boost National League chances

MANSFIELD Harriers senior men produced a fighting performance in the third fixture of the British Athletic League to give themselves a great chance of retaining their National League status for next season.

Some strong individual performances, along with much greater strength in depth, took Harriers to a second place finish on the day, just 10 points behind Southampton AC - the overall league leaders.

Danny Barkes had an excellent day, starting with a second place finish in the A string 800m before later in the day recording a new PB over 400 of 50.20 to win the B string. Chris Brown backed up Barkes in the 800m, running a good tactical race to win the B string.

Ricky Soos, competing for Harriers for the first time in two seasons after injury, ran a comfortably controlled race to win the A string 1500m in 3.59.38 with James Mee showing his ever improving return to fitness by taking second place in the B event.

Just 40 minutes later Mee finished second in the A string 3000m, a race in which Stuart King also had a strong run to win the B string.

Returning to Mansfield colours for the first time since his return from studying in America, Stephen Lisgo put in a dominant performance in the 3000m steeplechase, winning by a margin of 42 seconds with Danny Heathcote finishing third in the B String.

Not to be outdone by the middle distance athletes the sprinters also put in some strong performances with Sam Cordin winning the A string 200m in a time of 21.71 having earlier produced his first ever sub 11 second clocking over 100m where he finished fourth in a time of 10.96, setting a new club record in the process.

Neal Baines ran well to finish third in the B string 100m in a time of 11.24.

The other track winner of the day was Stef Wilcockson, winning the B string 400m Hurdles in a time of 56.92, before later going on to compete in the 110m Hurdles.

Jonathan Newell showed courage in the 110m Hurdles, returning from injury sustained in the first fixture when he badly injured his ankle having hit a hurdle, to clear all 10 3’6’’ barriers.

In the field Jake Brittain made his club debut in style taking victory in the A string Pole Vault with a clearance of 4m and useful points were also scored by Matthew Woolley, Paul Gair, Haden Brittain and Greg Millar in the throws events.

Harriers now travel to Derby for the fourth and final fixture of the season on Saturday hoping that this strong performance can be repeated.

The club weren’t quite so fortunate the following day in the Midland League where relegation to Division Three was confirmed.

Despite the team disappointment there were new PBs for Tom O’Mara (9:37.9 in the 3000m), Chris Ashmore (1.55m in the High Jump) and Charlotte Gair (9.49m in the Shot).

Gair also took victory in the Discus with Harriers only other win coming from Becky Smith in the Pole Vault.

Rachel Gair finished off her season with a new PB at the McCain UK Challenge Final in Birmingham, producing a new best throw of 62.66m. This keeps Gair at number seven in the UK Women’s Hammer rankings.

Andy Norton continued the PB theme, but on the road this time where he produced a new best of 73:30 to take fifth place at the Newark Half Marathon.

Steve Taylor ran a season’s best of 83:54 to finish in 39th spot with Dave and Sue Ward making up the Mansfield contingent running 99:04 and 2:03.42 respectively.

James Mee ran to victory in the final race of the Notts AAA Road Race League at Teversal Grange, taking top spot with a time of 30:58.

Stuart King also showed increasing signs of his return to race fitness with an excellent fifth place finish, recording a time of 31:55.

Ninety seconds behind King Chris Brown and Tom O’Mara battled it out, both finishing in 33:26. It was O’Mara being given the edge for eleventh spot.