SOUTHAMPTON AC’s veteran men's track and field team won their third successive Southern Counties Veterans League Final at Ashford, heading a close match by just three points.

Matt Coffey made his debut, finishing second in the M35 800m (2.05.47), with David Blackman taking B-string second (2.19.63) and Jon Grainger (2.20.50) winning the M50 category.

This put the red and white stripes top of the table with a four-point advantage from the start and, although it was a tight affair throughout the day with Oxford City and Tonbridge, it was a lead they never relinquished.

M35 Mark Collins (11.92) and Simon Ciaravella (12.85) took double third in the A/B 100m, Steve Beak (12.46) comfortably won the M50 race and Vic Novell (13.90) was the M60 runner-up.

In the field, M35 Andrew Sheerin and M50 Stephen Dobson scored well in the throws - Sheerin achieving hammer third (34.44), shot third (10.61m), discus fourth (26.80) and javelin fifth (28.58), while Dobson won the shot (10.78) and took hammer and discus fourth (25.27/25.90).

M60 Michael Coker (8.97) and M50 Gordon Westley (23.68m) added points in the shot and javelin respectively.

Back on the track Jon Tilt, recently crowned double World M55 Champion for 400m and 400m hurdles in Malaga, was narrowly beaten in the 400m (56.28s) by a Tonbridge athlete some 20 years his junior.

Ciaravella too B fourth (57.79), while Beak led the M50 with 58.64s.

Novell, aged 74, gave away 13 years to his M60 rivals, but he took another brilliant second (69.51) in his first outdoor 400m of the season before long jumping to third (3.71m) and valiantly throwing the javelin for the first time ever to gain a valuable point for the team.

Coffey led from gun to tape in the 1500m (4.18.94), Blackman took B-string fourth, Grainger (4.38.4) came third in the M50 race – a position matched by M60 runner Sid DeLara (5.29.8).

In the 200m, Collins (24.23) was third, B-stringer Ciaravella sixth (26.36) and Beak (25.74) held on to make it a hat-trick of M50 wins before taking triple jump fifth (9.09).

M50 Derek Warn claimed maximum pole vault points on countback with a three-metre clearance. Between vaults he took double third in the long jump (4.76) and high jump (1.30), while Coker came third in the M60 high jump (1.25).

Brian Thompson was the M35 high jump (1.65) runner-up, took fourth in the long jump (5.16 pb) and triple jump third (10.65).

John MacInnes (12.23.24) and Wayne Vincent (12.49.04) came second and fifth respectively in the 2km walk before Tilt, Beak, Ciaravella and Collins teamed up for 4x100m relay third in 49.72.

Mark Causebrook (9.37.63) and Andy Morgan-Lee (9.58.33) claimed double third in the M35 3000m and Pete Costley (10.18.22) ran well for M50 second.

Knowing the 4x400m would be enough to win the title again if they could stay close enough to or beat Oxford City, Southampton did not disappoint.

Although Ciaravella, Blackman, Coffey and Tilt were narrowly beaten into second by Tonbridge, they finished well ahead of third-placed Oxford, capping another fantastic season.

Team result: Southampton 219.5, Oxford City 216.5, Tonbridge 209.5, Hillingdon 170, Bexley 159, Epsom & Ewell 146.5, Enfield & Haringey 120

Joining the men in Southern Counties Masters Championship action at Ashford were Southampton's masters ladies' team who had won the Hampshire Veterans League for the first time.

Despite a handful of injuries, they turned out in force and put in a solid performance to finish an excellent third on the day.

Janet Dickinson banked the most points for the club with fantastic wins in the high jump, long jump, javelin and discus - plus second places in the 100m and 400m.

Ruth Elkins threw an impressive 34.65 to top the V35 hammer, with Roz Hutton runner-up in the V50 hammer (24.05).

Katy O'Dell also brought home valuable points in the javelin (2nd, 26.89m) and shot (2nd, 8.49m).

Tracey Jones made her team team debut, leaping 6.15m for fifth in the V50 triple jump and and posting a 1500m pb of 7.53.26.

Claire MacErlean ran three pbs in the V35 800m, 1500m and 3000m - the latter claiming her victory with 11.07:66. B-stringer Nicci Blandford ran the same trio of races, finishing second each time despite nursing an injury.

Tracy Bezance bounced back from injury to win the V50 100m and 200m and place second over 400m.

Joy Wright, battling an Achilles problem, took 200m third and 100m fourth, while Dani Marshall, racing for the first time in five months, topped the V35 B 200m and came second in the B 400m.

V60 Astrid Mangel placed seventh over 400m and fifth in the long jump.

Paola King clocked an 800m pb, coming seventh, and took V50 shot fifth.

Hannah Willson was fourth in the V35 2000m walk and Caroline Barnfield took third in the V50 walk. Caroline also stepped in at the last minute to do the V50 3000m, placing seventh.

Team result: Epsom & Ewell 246.5, Tonbridge 215.5, Southampton 209, Dartford 168, Radley 147, Serpentine 128, Barnet 126.