City happy to steer clear of relegation fight

City sprinter Jamie Gabbidon, right, in action at the Mountbatten Centre. Picture: Mick Young
City sprinter Jamie Gabbidon, right, in action at the Mountbatten Centre. Picture: Mick Young
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A battling performance from City of Portsmouth ensured they secured a comfortable mid-table finish in Southern League division one.

Several of the home club’s top athletes missed the conclusion to the season at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday.

It meant City had to be content with third place out of four teams on the day but was good enough for eighth spot out of 16 teams in the league – keeping them clear of the scramble to avoid relegation from the top flight.

Other teams had more to fight for from the final meeting.

Southampton narrowly missed out on the league title to Brighton despite their win at the Mountbatten Centre.

While Havering took second place to give themselves hope of avoiding the drop.

City of Portsmouth coach Peter Newton was hoping the team would have finished higher than third.

But he acknowledged it was a great team effort from Havering.

Newton said: ‘I was a bit disappointed we didn’t come second but it was good enough to keep us where we should be.

‘They haven’t decided relegation yet but we are obviously in a happy position – happily free of relegation anyway.

‘At one end of the table you had Southampton desperate to try to win the league but they didn’t. Brighton won their match and pipped Southampton by a point.

‘Then, at the other end, we had Havering who had every man, woman and child out to try to escape relegation.

‘It was so congested in the middle of the table.

‘There’s only a two-point difference between us in eighth and Enfield & Haringey in 15th.

‘It was very, very tight and good for the league to have it so close.’

Some heavy rain showers didn’t help the athletes but City’s Jamie Gabbidon took second in the A-string 100m (10.9sec), while Alex Teuten won both the 1,500m (4.00.2) and the 2,000m steeplechase (6.14.8) for an impressive A-string double.

Adam Akehurst, Michael Muckelt, Steven Davey and the returning Bradlee Cook also secured good points for the hosts.

Newton added: ‘It wasn’t a day for outstanding performances.

‘The athletes measured themselves on what scalps they took and we had a few pleasing performances.

‘Jamie Gabbidon had a good 100m and in the javelin Bradlee Cook returned to competition after four years.

‘He won the B-string and Michael Muckelt won the A-string so that was a good double for us.

‘Quite a few of our athletes were very busy.

‘Adam Akehurst and Steven Davey –our multi-eventers – were very busy.

‘We didn’t have Emma Montiel and both our hurdlers – Mandy Gault and Claire Netley. Also our top thrower Ros Stansbury was away.

‘So while on paper we probably should have been second it was a good effort overall.’