Hastings AC triumphs in league opener

Hastings Athletic Club in celebratory mood after winning its first Southern Athletics League Division Three South East fixture of the season. Picture courtesy Terry Skelton
Hastings Athletic Club in celebratory mood after winning its first Southern Athletics League Division Three South East fixture of the season. Picture courtesy Terry Skelton
  • Hastings AC wins opening match of Southern Athletics League season
  • Club hoping to gain promotion from Division Three South East in 2016
  • Women’s team manager Lovell wins six of seven events
  • Youngsters Crombie and Aslett also star for women’s team
  • Goldstone is man of the match for men’s squad

Hastings Athletic Club has made the perfect start to the Southern Athletics League season.

The local club, which narrowly missed out on promotion from Division Three South East last year, recorded a convincing victory in his opening match of 2016 on Saturday.

Hastings AC made the most of home advantage to get the better of Hercules Wimbledon AC, Medway & Maidstone AC, Herne Hill Harriers and Paddock Wood AC.

The men’s squad had 24 top three performances across the day. Team managers Jason Jeffery and Michael West selected Alec Goldstone as their man of the match having helped the 4x400m relay team to second place straight after coming fourth in the 1,500m in 4:38.

Josh Williams celebrated his debut competition by winning the triple jump with a leap of 12.27m, while Daniel Russell produced a fast finish to narrowly win the 2,000m steeplechase in 6:37.30, as well as winning the 400m hurdles in 56:80.

Second place finishes were achieved by West (200m), Jeffery (400m A string), Steve Baldock (400m B string, 110m hurdles B string), Ryan Morrissy (800m), Dan Hassall (110m hurdles A string), Glen Cooper (400m hurdles), Daniel Spice (discus) and Tommy Bennett (hammer).

Jeffery said: “There was a brilliant team atmosphere; everyone joined in together and made things work. I had a couple of people drop out through injury and other events at the last minute, but everyone chipped in and made sure the events were covered.”

As for the women, team manager Elise Lovell led from the front by winning six of her seven events on a cold afternoon when the athletes even had hail to contend with.

Ellen Crombie, who has just moved up to senior level, performed superbly, winning the 3,000m by quite a big margin and later coming second in the 1,500m.

Keira Aslett, also a first year senior, won a tight 800m and triumphed in the far less familiar 400m. The Gransden sisters also performed strongly, A’ine winning the triple jump and Molly winning the 2,000m steeplechase.

Lovell said: “As a team we were brilliant. People were filling in in events they had never done before and the atmosphere was really lovely. A massive thank you to the people who came down and helped.”

Hastings AC will contest five matches across the season, three of them at home. The next fixture is also at William Parker on Sunday May 22.

Three Hastings AC ladies, meanwhile, completed the Brighton Marathon on Sunday. Rachael Grass clocked 3:57.13 to crack the four-hour barrier, while Jules Lovell and Rosie McSweeney crossed the line together in 4:56.49.

St Leonards-based athlete Ross Skelton, who runs for Brighton Phoenix, came fifth out of around 1,500 in the Brighton 10K event which preceded the marathon in a PB of 30:55.

Hastings AC duo Frances Burnham and John Gatley defied hot conditions and a hilly course to complete the Boston Marathon yesterday (Monday).

Quite a number of Hastings AC members are in the field for the London Marathon this coming Sunday and the club also has a Youth Development League match in Maidstone on Saturday.

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