City eye British Athletics League promotion

Adam Akehurst is a key man for City

Adam Akehurst is a key man for City

Lachlan Wellington. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Opening night for the Lakeside 5k Series

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Get set for fireworks as underdogs City of Portsmouth go for promotion from the British Athletics League tomorrow.

Three teams are gunning for second place in national four, with Newquay having already secured top spot.

It will probably come down to the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays. Anything can happen in those

Paul Farres

Only the top two go up and Havering will start as favourites.

They are holding second place with 13 league points and 689 match points.

City sit third with 12 league points and 681 match points.

But they are under no pressure having already exceeded their aims in their first season back in the national league.

Fourth-placed Chelmsford are also right in the hunt to sneak the final place.

They hold the key card of home advantage for the final match and are only two league points behind Havering, with a match points total of 682.

City coach Paul Farres acknowledges that either Havering or Chelmsford are in the box seat to get the final place.

But he expects it all to come down to the relays at the end of a dramatic day.

Farres said: ‘Things couldn’t be closer. It is all to play for.

‘I think we will finish third. Chelmsford are at home and will put a big effort in.

‘Havering have got some fantastic athletes and if they all turn up they will be good.

‘We’ve got almost our best team out and the goal for us was keeping ourselves in the league, having got promotion last year. Everything else is a bonus.

‘It should be a good match – it’s going to be exciting.

‘A lot will depend on what sort of team Newquay will travel up with.

‘They have already won the league and it is a long way from Newquay to Chelmsford.

‘It will probably come down to the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays.

‘Anything can happen in those.’

The likes of Adam Akehurst, Steve Davey, Harrison Pocock and Tom Farres will be key men for City tomorrow.

They have all been performing strongly through the season.

Akehurst and Davey always deliver massive contributions across a variety of events.

Pocock has made great progress in the 400m, while Farres is City’s pole vault specialist.

Unfortunately for City, Alex Teuten is away and will miss the match. He’s usually guaranteed to pick up maximum points so that will be a big loss.

Sprinter Jamie Gabbidon has also had a bit of an injury niggle, and may not be able to do all his events.

Whatever the outcome tomorrow, it has been a hugely successful first season back in the league for City.

Paul Farres added: ‘We’ll have a bit of a celebration after.

‘We’ve had a good time and things are looking good for next season.’

Meanwhile, a number of City athletes impressed in the England Athletics Senior AAA Championships last weekend.

Teuten finished fourth in the 5,000m in a time of 14min 32.67sec, while Tom Farres secured fifth in the pole vault (4.45m).

Akehurst narrowly missed out on the javelin final as he finished fifth in his qualifying pool (57.83m).

Suzanna Wise, who trains with City but represents Bedfordshire, was eighth in her qualifying pool in the hammer (44.8m).

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