City youngsters excel on senior stage

Adam Akehurst. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150721-905)
Adam Akehurst. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (150721-905)
  • City finish third overall in Southern Athletics League opener
  • Youngsters set personal bests on senior bow
  • Praise for stalwart Adam Akehurst
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City of Portsmouth’s youngsters began their season in style with a superb showing at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday.

It was the first senior appearance for some of them in the Southern Athletics League combined men’s and women’s opener.

We were only two points off second, which was amazing for us as it was always going to be one of the toughest matches of the year

Paul Farres

In what was a very tough start to division one, Portsmouth came within a whisker of finishing second overall.

The hosts finished third with 155 points, just two behind last year’s runners-up Southampton.

Newly-promoted Crawley dominated proceedings with an impressive total of 244 points.

City’s men’s manager Paul Farres was delighted with the performance of the up-and-coming athletes, some of whom also set personal bests.

He said: ‘We were only two points off second, which was amazing for us as it was always going to be one of the toughest matches of the year.

‘The youngsters were absolutely fabulous.

‘The most pleasing thing was that they all enjoyed it.

‘It certainly bodes well for the future.’

Under-20 athlete Harry Pocock won both the 200m and 400m in personal best times (21.9sec, 49.3sec).

Tom MacSwayne also triumphed in the 1500m, clocking a time of 4min 08.9sec.

Charlie Craddock added to the successes in the 100m B string in a new personal best of 11.2sec.

Under-17 runner Toby Roe set a new personal best in the B-string 1500m, where he placed third (4.17.6). .

It wasn’t just the young guns who impressed, though, as Farres heaped special praise on experienced multi-eventer Adam Akehurst.

‘A special mention has to go to Adam Akehurst,’ he said.

‘He has been at the club all his life but he broke two of his personal bests, which have stood since 2009.

‘He’s been training really hard.

‘He’s getting better and better and stronger and stronger, he’s an amazing natural athlete.’

Akehurst put in a big performance to set bests in the shot put and discus.

He won the discus with a throw of 40.93m, came second in the shot put (13.77m) before going on to win the javelin with a throw of 57.42m.

Akehurst also finished third in the 110m hurdles (16.6sec).

In the women’s section, Bobbie Davies came second in her first attempt over 400m.

Her personal best time of 59.9sec puts her in the top 10 in the south at under-20 level.

She was also second in the B-string high jump at 1.40m.

Gaia Osborne, competing in the senior shot put for the first time, finished second (10.60m) and then took the B-string honours in the javelin (36.55m).

Louise Lockyer ran her first steeplechase and came second in 8.48.9.

Emma Shaw took runners-up spot in the B-string long jump (4.60m), while former Great Britain international Katy Watts emphatically won the javelin (45.55m).

The B-string hammer was won by Rosie Castle (31.98m).

Elizabeth Hedley, Elizabeth Rose, Emma Shaw, Abi McCanna, Jess Embling, Eleanor Mills, Matt Smith, Tom Farres and Luke Younghusband all played their part in an excellent team performance.