“Athletics can be a cruel master; masters athletics can be the most cruel” – Alan Newman, 2017.
Well it may not exactly be poetry but an apt quote to end the season in Mark Woods’ case. Our one man team, coach, motivator and tobacco enthusiast got the start of the season, if not his life, to lead the M50 100m for 50m, when an adductor muscle tear dropped him like a stone. Fortunately, medical attention was quick to appear and although he might have preferred the ministrations of a prettier nurse he was in the very capable hands of medic Gareth Williams from Medway Maritime Hospital within seconds. It is difficult to make light of such a situation but even Mark saw the funny side when a concerned athlete (not me) remarked that he finally looked a bit like Linford Christie in one respect at least, after an ice pack had been expertly inserted inside his shorts!
Mark is tungsten-tough and has been here before. He will fight back and continue the sport he loves and we all wish him a full and speedy recovery. Sadly his last race result of the season reads: M50 100m Mark Woods (M55) dnf. Unsurprisingly after such drama, the men’s team did not have the stomach for the 4x200m relay and ended the match and their Division 1 campaign in sixth place. Paddock Wood will return to the basement for next season alongside Cambridge Harriers, who were somewhat surprisingly also relegated. The rest of the opposition next year will be Bromley Veterans, Sevenoaks, Swanley and Dartford Harriers’ B team.
The individual performance of the match was Les Percival’s near miss in the M60 long jump (3.89), where another 3cms would have secured victory. Trevor Crysell received little sympathy for his impressive bruising caused by a tumble in his recently completed Lands End to John O’Groats charity cycle ride and was a late arrival due to heavy traffic. Thrown straight into the fray in the M35 long jump, he excelled to finish fourth (4.15) against younger or at least fresher opponents. Trevor Simms equalled his PB in the M35 100m (13.4) with a tired Trevor Crysell as back-up. Mark Woods had already collected points in the M50 long jump and set a new M50 club record in the discus (29.25; PB) before his dramatic exit in the 100m and Alan Newman weighed in with third in the M60 800m (2:46.0; SB).
There are four main disciplines in track and field athletics: sprints, middle-distance, jumps and throws. One of our athletes in the women’s Division 2 match competed in all four at Medway Park. In her final SCVAC match for PWAC, Sue James (W65) dropped two age categories to finish second in the W35 100m and also tackled the W60 800m, discus and long jump. Her best result was a win in the 800m and she collected 20 of the club’s 38 points. The remaining 18 points were garnered by Julie Woods (W55) from her wins in the W50 100m, long jump and discus (12.46; PB). The magnificent efforts of our ‘awesome twosome’ secured promotion to Div 1 alongside Div 2 champions Bromley Veterans, where PWAC will also meet Dartford Harriers, Tonbridge, Cambridge Harriers and Blackheath and Bromley Harriers – no pressure!
As SCVAC Team Manager for the past two seasons I would like to thank every competitor and official for their efforts throughout the matches. Those who endeavoured to attend were rewarded with fun, enjoyable competition in a supportive atmosphere. Those who stayed at home were not. Next year your Team Manager will be David Perman, who has kindly volunteered to take over the infamous Tupperwear box and the duties incumbent upon the holder. I really do hope that current, past and future PWAC members who are qualified by age (over 35) will continue/will consider supporting the SCVAC League next season.
(Humble servant to masters athletics)