WITH several athletes put off by the lengthy journey, Team Solent hit the road to Norwich with a mainly young squad for their opening British Men's League Division 4 match.

After two successive demotions, it was vitally important for the club to stay out of the bottom three so they can think about consolidating their national league status rather than looking anxiously over their shoulders at another relegation struggle.

And, despite the absence of several key men, they managed to achieve their goal with a fighting fifth place.

Gavin Hodgson was the star of the show. The new signing from Border limbered up with victories in the B 400m flat and hurdles before running a storming first leg of the 4x400m relay to hand over in front.

British League debutant Anthony Llewelyn made his mark with victory in the A-string javelin and it was pleasing to see hurdler Andy Bargh back in action in both the 110m and 400m events.

Darren Wall flew round lane eight for a 22.5-second 200m victory, while Darryn Campbell returned to form with a 50.3 400m win.

Iain Robertson, returning to his home town, finished runner-up in the 3000m steeplechase, while two new athletes, Russell Osborn and Andy Waters, picked up precious points - Osborn in the middle-distance events and Waters in the throws.

Young Ben Richardson sliced 0.6 seconds off his personal best to post 15.5 for third in the 110m hurdles, while John Beattie ran his fastest ever 5000m (15.37.7).

And there was another pb for Malcolm Bourne, who was third in the B javelin with 40.17.

Terese Swain, Solent's joint team manager, said: "We took a minibus of younger athletes (under-20s and under-23s), who all performed exceptionally well, gaining valuable points.

"Hopefully, for our next match at Derby, we will be stronger. The missing athletes have promised they will compete."

Match result: Norwich 314, Herne Hill Harriers 306, Crawley 287, Kingston 279, Team Solent 268, Swindon 257, Derby 246, Bolton 233.

League standings: Norwich 8, Herne Hill Harriers 7, Crawley 6, Kingston 5, Team Solent 4, Swindon 3, Derby 2, Bolton 1.


100m: A 4 Darren Wall 11.2, B 7 Malcolm Bourne 11.5

200m: A 1 Darren Wall 22.5, B 4 Tom Berry 23.1

400m: A 1 Darryn Campbell 50.3, B 1 Gavin Hodgson 51.5

800m: A 6 Russell Osborn 1.59.5, B 5 Alex Wall-Clark 2.00.6

1500m: A 4 Russell Osborn 4.08.5, B 5 Alex Wall-Clark 4.15.8

5000m: A 8 John Beattie 15.37.7, B 8 Christian Folliott did not finish

110m hurdles: A 3 Ben Richardson 15.5, B 1 Andy Bargh 15.7

400m hurdles: A 4 Andy Bargh 57.1, B 1 Gavin Hodgson 58.2

3000m steeplechase: A 2 Iain Robertson 9.50.5

4x100m relay: 2 Team Solent (Ben Richardson, Bourne, Berry, Wall) 44.3

4x400m relay: 3 Team Solent (Hodgson, Bargh, Osborn, Campbell) 3.27.1

High jump: A 2 Dan Turner 2.05, B 5 Ben Davis 1.60

Long jump: A 8 Ben Richardson 5.55, B 7 Malcolm Bourne 5.44

Triple jump: A 8 Ben Davis 10.45, B 8 Tom Berry 8.92

Shot put: A 4 Andy Waters 13.18, B 4 Adam Richardson 10.86

Discus: A 4 Andy Waters 38.77, B 4 Adam Richardson 36.47

Hammer: A 8 Adam Richardson 27.73, B 6 Andy Waters 25.79

Javelin: A 1 Anthony Llewelyn 50.70, B 3 Malcolm Bourne 40.17

Team Solent's teenage contingent finished third behind Wycombe and Radley in the National Young Athletes League at Abingdon.

The boys comfortably won their section but, unfortunately, Solent were short of girls, particularly in the under-13 and under-15 age-groups.

Team Solent winners: Coral Macey (under-17 B discus, 14.32), Vicky Kimber (under-17 A shot, 7.48), Simon Price (under-13 A long jump, 4.41 and A 200m, 28.2), William Dunnett (under-15 B long jump, 4.06), Sam Oliver (under-15 B 100m, 13.0 and A shot 9.67), Paul Beattie (under-15 B 400m, 59.2), Scott Legg (under-15 A 400m, 58.7 and B shot, 9.13), Jamie Knapp (under-15 A 3000m, 10.45.5), under-15 4x400m relay (3.46.8), Keiran Lakeland (under-17 A 400m, 54.0), Lewis Townend White (under-17 B 400m, 67.5), Dhivyan Kandha (under-17 B long jump, 5.05), John Slade (under-17 A 800m, 2.08.8 and B 1500m, 4.39.4), Michael Randall (under-17 B 400m, 58.6) and B 100m, 12.1 and A long jump, 5.12), Ian Wood (under-17 A hammer, 31.88), Matthew Warwick (under-17 B hammer, 12.96), Russell North (under-17 B 800m, 2.10.7 and A 1500m, 4.38.9), Gareth Price (under-17 A 400m hurdles, 60.7).

Match:Wycombe Phoenix 348, Radley 288, Team Solent 252, Thames Valley Harriers 234.