ADAM Jones admits that having new Southampton teammate JJ Crookes for company brought the competitive instinct out of him at the Hampshire Track & Field Championships.
Talented all-rounder Crookes, a recent arrival from Basingstoke, edged out Jones for under-17 men’s gold at the Hampshire Multi-Events Championships earlier this month.
But Wildern schoolboy Jones gained a measure of revenge at the Mountbatten Centre over the weekend, pushing his friend and rival into second place as he pulled off a golden high and long jump double.
Having both cleared 1.85 in the high jump, Crookes failed three times at 1.90 while Jones soared over at his second attempt.
Jones – junior boys’ gold medallist at last year’s English Schools’ Championships – then had three goes at equalling his 1.95 personal best and very nearly succeeded at the third and final attempt, only to clip the bar with his heel.
“I jumped 1.93 indoors at Lee Valley earlier this year and then did 1.95 in the first outdoor competition of the season, the Southampton Open,” Jones explained. “That was the best chance I’ve had of clearing two metres because I was jumping really well that day and I think the 1.95 jump I did would have cleared it.
“My third jump today was the same. I was miles up, but I just caught it with my foot as I went over.”
West End-based Jones, still 15 and almost six-feet tall, credited Crookes with inspiring his county long jump success.
He won with a leap of 6.55 – but only after his teammate had set alarm bells ringing with a 6.27 effort.
“Having JJ for competition helped me,” he admitted. “I’d been going really badly and we both had jumps of 6.11 until JJ came up with a 6.27.
“Suddenly I got competitive and jumped a personal best 6.55.”
Jones also showed a useful turn of pace, finishing third behind Southampton clubmate Oliver Bromby in the 100m, posting 11.47, but he is unsure whether his future lies in multi-eventing.
“I’m not really conditioned enough,” he said. “I didn’t put that much training in over the winter because of other things I had to do.
“Also, my build goes against me. I’m really lanky, whereas most multi-eventers are muscular powerhouses.
“When I was younger Owen Lawrence (third for Southampton in Sunday’s high jump, 1.80) used to beat me at everything but then I grew and grew and started winning.
“But Owen’s growing too now and, at the last Southampton Open we ran together, we were completely in sync over the hurdles, which was fantastic.” Southampton’s Katya Oldfield, another 2013 English Schools’ gold medallist, kept up the good work with a 1.65 winning clearance in the under-17 women’s high jump.
More from the Hampshire Track & Field Championships and results in today's Daily Echo