Classy City excel as action comes and thick and fast in Crawley

102366-08_athletics'Womens National League Athletics, Mounbatten Centre.'Katy Watts (Portsmouth) competes in the discus.'Pic Mick Young
102366-08_athletics'Womens National League Athletics, Mounbatten Centre.'Katy Watts (Portsmouth) competes in the discus.'Pic Mick Young
The start of the Gosport Half Marathon race as James Baker, wearing 85, hits the front early on. Picture: Neil Marshall

Baker’s perfect timing with Gosport triumph

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City of Portsmouth ladies continued their fine season with a superb showing in the BAL Super8 Cup at the weekend.

Dave Churcher’s chargers took time out of their busy UK National League schedule to secure second place in their semi-final at the K2 Arena in Crawley.

The competition, which sees 13 events crammed into just two-and-a-half hours, makes for compulsive viewing, with the action coming thick and fast.

And City, who are now waiting to find out if they have done enough to book their place in the final, contributed to an exciting day of action with some fine performances from their array of top talent.

Karrie Blake ensured she remains unbeaten this season after an 800m she dominated from start to finish.

Blake, on her way back to top form after injury problems earlier in the summer, secured a unique treble at the recent British Masters in Birmingham, winning the 400m, 800m and 1,500m titles.

But with only two laps of the track to contend with on this occasion, the 35-year-old – who secured victory in the Portsmouth Race for Life 5k just 24 hours later – was in no mood to rest on her laurels, sealing victory by nearly four seconds from nearest rival Jenny Beckingham in a time of 2mins 08.79sec.

Equally impressive was the winning margin secured by Olympic hope Katy Watts in the javelin.

The British No7 remains a strong possibility for the GB team at London 2012.

And although her throw of 48.71m was down on her PB and seasonal best, it was still seven metres clear of runner-up Sarah Ellis from Southampton.

Irish Sirmons’ (35.73) second-place finish in the discus and Clare Netley’s third in the 100m hurdles (17.70) – along with a distance of 8.75m on her triple jump debut – ensured the points continued to stack up for the City.

Yet special praise must be handed to City new-girl Emma Montiel, who marked her first-ever senior club appearance with a third-place finish in the 3,000m.

More used to road running, the 35-year-old was previously an unattached runner whose performance in the recent D-Day 10k attracted the attention of Portsmouth coach Gerry North.

And he was quick to invite the middle-distance runner into the City family, with his decision justified by her time of 11.14.54 over 3k.

That was then followed by a fifth-place finish in the 1,500m with a time of 5.34.56 – not a bad day’s work for someone who hasn’t even got a pair of track spikes.

Mandy Gault, skipper Sam Vaile, Emma Gilmore and Sophie Millett each performed admirably in the 200m, 100m, 400m, pole vault and high jump respectively, ensuring that there was still much to play for in the final event of the day – the medley relay.

Yet the team of Vaile, Gault, Gilmore and Blake were just pipped on the finishing line by winners Southampton, who included Portsmouth girl Emily Jenkinson, giving third-placed Crawley overall victory by 18 points.