City enjoy silver raid in Watford

Mandy Gault continues to progress in the 400m hurdles
Mandy Gault continues to progress in the 400m hurdles
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City of Portsmouth boosted their stock of silver at the weekend after some top-class performances at the South of England Championships.

Thrower Michael Muckelt got the ball rolling on Saturday with a second-placed finish in the under-20 men’s javelin competition – following in the footsteps of training partner and former club-mate Katy Watts, who won silver in the women’s event.

And Mandy Gault continued her impressive season in the 400m hurdles with a runner-up position on Sunday.

Muckelt (50m 80cm) and Watts (48.56) made it a double reason to celebrate for popular City coach Bronwin Carter, who was on hand to see her charges pick up impressive placings at Watford’s Woodside Stadium.

However, Muckelt will be slightly aggrieved to have missed out on outright victory – falling just eight centimetres short of winner Alex Ingham’s effort of 50.86 and well below his personal best of 52.52.

Meanwhile, Watts, who has thrown consistently this term following her switch to Trafford AC at the end of last season, is still striving to break the 50m mark and will be determined to put that right with the combined World Championship Trials and UK Championships just around the corner.

Watts, from Emsworth, will be joined in Birmingham by Gault, who added yet another medal to her trophy cabinet with a time of 59.77 on Sunday.

Following success at both the Hampshire and Northern Ireland championships this term, the 29-year-old was looking for a hat-trick of wins.

On this occasion, however, she had to settle for second, with Southampton’s Emily Bonnett (59.55) claiming the honours after a tumultuous battle to the finish line.

Gault, nevertheless, was pleased with the outcome.

‘To pick up another medal in an event I’m still learning has to be a positive,’ she said.

‘And to run another sub-60 run – my third in four races – in such difficult conditions has to be pleasing, too.

‘The conditions were tough, both in the final and in my semi-final.

‘I won my heat in 61.46 but wasn’t happy.

‘I knew I could run a lot faster and was quietly pleased to redeem myself somewhat in the final.

‘Emily is such a good hurdler and to run her close was yet another positive I can take out of the weekend.

‘I still want to break 59 seconds and get close to the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games qualification time of 57.9.

‘I’d like to think I will come close – if not this season, then definitely next year.’