SOUTHAMPTON AC secured safety in the top division of the Southern Athletics League with a closely-fought second place in the final match of the season.

The red and white stripes sat mid-table going into their home fixture, but were far from guaranteed survival after an exceptionally tightly contested series.

On a chilly, blustery day, Sean Adams opened proceedings with a smooth 400 metres hurdles victory in 54.3 seconds, and it was to prove a good day for the club in the speed events.

A brace of 100m second places for club captain Sean Foord in his retirement match (11.4 seconds) and masters athlete Mark Collins (12.0) was more than matched by dominant women’s wins from fast-improving junior Hannah Childs (12.7) and club stalwart Emily Fry (13.1).

The winning theme was continued in the 200m as Childs (26.1) and training partner Emma Froome (26.7) swept to victory.

James Bennett earned a last-gasp B-string win in the men's half-lap (23.6) after Southampton A sprinter, under-17 Jack Higgins, had been edged into second (23.2).

There was a welcome return to winning ways for Reiss Jarvis in the B 400m (52.4) after an injury-blighted year.

In the field, Chris Scott (53.50 metres) and Matt Callaway (39.61) dominated the discus, while pole vaulters Sam Bass-Cooper (4.50m) and Kieran Apps (4.00, pb) were a class apart.

Southampton could have registered a vault 1-2-3 as non-scorer Tom Rady destroyed his personal best by 30 centimetres, soaring over 3.90.

Back on track, Ellie Monks was a clear B 3000m winner (10.25.6), while Jen Elkins produced a fine 9.54.0 for A-string second.

The 2000m steeplechase brought double firsts for Bryher Bowness (7.58.2) and Miriam Jones-Walters (8.30.2).

Southampton’s female field eventers scored heavily.

Jordan Campbell made a welcome return to action with B high jump success (1.50m), while Victoria Mould (11.38) and Hollie Garrathy (11.08) enjoyed twin triple jump success. Mould was also the best long jumper on show with 5.27m.

Class told in the javelin with international Freya Jones winning the A-string (47.69), backed by B victor Sarah Ellis (40.49m).

It was a busy afternoon for Jones, making a welcome appearance while home from the USA. She also took runners-up spot in the shot (12.34) and discus (27.91).

Victories in both sprint relays for the men (45.5) and women (50.5) helped Southampton to within 12 points of match winners and overall champions Nene Valley Harriers.

This was Southampton’s final home match of the 2017 track and field season and they would like to thank their small band of volunteer officials, helpers, committee members and coaches for giving up their free time to help make it the most successful club south of London.

However, to enable Southampton to sustain their momentum and take them to national success, the club is in dire need of fresh volunteers who have an interest in athletics.