SOUTHAMPTON’S struggle to remain in the British Athletics League top flight ultimately came up short.

After one season back in the Premier Division, the club’s elite men are on their way down again after placing eighth on the day and seventh in the league overall as the season drew to a close at Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers.

Weakened in numbers, Southampton faced the near impossible task of overhauling a 4.5 match point deficit on Thames Valley Harriers and, ultimately, it was too much to ask of a young, developing team.

The day was not without its highlights for the red and white stripes, however.

Showing real class, Chris Scott winged the discus out to 55.48 metres for his first League victory of the season as he builds towards international selection.

B-stringer Patrick Swan, the backbone of the throws squad, made it a discus double with a fine personal best (pb) of 49.98.

Southampton’s depleted distance squad fought all the way to keep the team momentum going.

In the 5000m, Alex Wall-Clarke recovered from recent illness and ran strongly for a season’s best 14 mins 53.2 secs. B man Max Costley matched Alex's fifth place with a 15.52.91 pb. Costley's ever-improving younger brother Sam also achieved a pb of 9.48.08 for steeplechase sixth.

Matt Hewitt (15.43) and Sean Adams (15.69) grabbed a brace of third places in the 110m hurdles. This concluded a busy weekend for Adams who also stepped in for fourth in the A 400m hurdles (54.17) at short notice, having won the same event in the previous day's Southern League match.

Adam Jones came second in the B high jump (1.93), debutant Joel Grenfell took long jump fourth (7.02) and Toby Melville edged third in the triple jump (13.99) in his first BAL appearance of 2017.

Tom Rady was B pole vault runner-up (3.68m), fresh from setting a 3.90 pb in the Southern League.

Team boss Gary MacDonald-Gray said: “This was always going to be an immensely challenging season, being as it was our first experience of the Premiership in the modern era.

“There were ifs and buts and points where, had the odd couple of individual event results gone our way, we may have stayed up.

“Ultimately and quite honestly though, although never outclassed, we simply weren't strong enough in depth to sustain our challenge if we lost the services of a few key individuals.

“This team are the most powerful male athletics force on the south coast, have supported each other all season long and I have been very proud to manage them.

“We are already strengthening key areas to give us a real shot at winning the 2018 Division One championships.”