City of Portsmouth ladies produced a season’s best performance to secure second place in their final UK Women’s League match in Scotland.
With promotion to division one a slim possibility going into the match at Grangemouth, Falkirk, Dave Churcher’s charges put up a real fight in the wet and windy conditions.
This resulted in the team – competing at National League level for only their second season – sealing their highest points tally of the summer with an impressive score of 209.
That was 22 points behind match winners and host club City of Glasgow, who booked promotion to division one with another consistent display.
But in a major confidence booster going into their remaining Southern Women’s League fixtures of the season, City – who were looking for a second successive promotion – totally outclassed league champions Wigan & District (174) who finished the day in third spot.
A third-place finish overall was, therefore, Portsmouth’s reward for a tough season that saw them having to travel to both Wigan and Scotland.
No team had to travel further than the south-coast team during the campaign.
And it’s doubtful whether any other side in the division had their preparations disrupted as much for a crucial promotion decider as City – whose athletes were denied crucial rest the night before following wedding celebrations at the team hotel.
A lack of sleep ensured the women were not exactly in peak condition, but that wasn’t too evident as they battled bravely to ensure another excellent display on the track and field.
Leading the way was Karrie Blake, who ensured she remains unbeaten this season with a double victory in the 800m and 1500m.
A time of 2min 07.59sec in tough conditions secured the win in the 800m, while the 35-year-old proved untouchable in the 1500m with another classy performance in a time of 4:29:05.
In each event, Blake was well supported by team-mates in the B races, with Emma Gilmore, fresh from her appearance at the UK Championships and World Trials, securing second place in the 800m (2:15:33) and Jess Chen taking top spot in the 1500m (4:57:18).
Chen followed up her victory with second place in the 3000m A string (10:17:39) – a position repeated by Gilmore in the 400m B string (59.20) – but there were maximum points secured in the B race when Emma Montiel continued her impressive debut season for the club with a winning time of 10:58:84.
Kerri-Anne Body (400m A string) and Sam Vaile (100m and 200m B) added to impressive performances on the track with second place finishes, while Louise Douglas earned top marks for her winning run in the 400m hurdles B race (65.28).
But it was in the field where City continued to press most for maximum points, with Katy Watts – runner-up in Birmingham last weekend at the UK Championships – continuing her fine form with a winning throw of 46.45m in the javelin.
She then took second place in the shot B string with a throw of 9.87 – a placing replicated by Samantha Wise (30.79) in the discus B.
A third place in the discus A by Irish Sirmons (33.82) and Sophie Millett’s second in the pole vault (2.70) ensured City still had a chance of victory going into the relays.
But with third (4x100m) and second (4x400m) secured in these exciting climaxes to an enthralling day, City had to settle for second place on the day and third overall in the league.