Celebrations over first Southern League title

Nene Valley Harriers
Nene Valley Harriers
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Nene Valley Harriers are celebrating their first Southern Athletics League championship.

They went into Saturday’s final SAL fixture at Stevenage in second place just 15 match points behind the league leaders Crawley, who were competing at Blackheath and Bromley.

Nene Valley won their match with 224½ points – 45½ ahead of second-placed Milton Keynes – thanks to a very impressive display of teamwork and support as much as individual performance.

Hearing later that Crawley had been pipped into second place in their match led to celebrations with their first title.

Nene Valley have won every match this season except for the first fixture in which they came second by a single point.

Although this does not make up for the disappointment of relegation from Division Two in the British Athletics League for the men, having achieved third place in this league previously and the belief that they could do better, this was a magnificent achievement.

Over the season, Harriers had several under-17 athletes experience the league for the first time.

Many of these athletes have become key members of the team and developed their own careers.

As well as team success on the day, two club records were achieved.

Ellie Mae Stokes has been breaking the under-20 and senior javelin record on a regular basis this season and achieved this once more with her 36.33 throw.

Rosie Fresen knocked over 50 seconds off the under-17 club record in the 2,000m steeplechase in 9:03.96.

Meanwhile, a trio of Harriers’ young Lincolnshire-based stars enjoyed a hugely successful weekend in the North of England Athletics Championship, returning with four gold medals and a silver.

Hannah Molyneaux collected two of the golds, winning both the shot putt and discus in her under-15 category.

The talented thrower, coached by Geoff Capes, is ranked number one in the country for both disciplines.

The Hughes twins, William and Charles, were also in action in the under-15 competition.

William won the sprint double, taking first place in both the 100m and 200m with times of 11.54 and 22.73.

Charles took the silver medal in the shot putt and just missed out on a medal in the javelin when finishing fourth.