Athletics: Newham & Essex Beagles team manager Rowan Griffiths says title challenge is plausible after second place in opening match

PUBLISHED: 14:00 09 May 2017

Newham & Essex Beagles team manager Rowan Griffiths (left) (pic: Claire Jones)

Newham & Essex Beagles team manager Rowan Griffiths (left) (pic: Claire Jones)

© Claire Jones

Beagles only finished behind Birchfield Harriers in Sheffield on Saturday

Team manager Rowan Griffiths believes Newham & Essex Beagles can mount a challenge for the British League Premier Division title this term after finishing second in the opening match.

Beagles were only beaten by Birchfield Harriers in Sheffield, taking seven victories on the day.

It was a positive start to the campaign for Beagles, and Griffiths knows it means the club can aim high this season.

“It’s been a number of years since we’ve been able to talk about a serious title challenge, but the start to this year has put us in a good position,” he said.

“In previous years, we’ve had a lot of athletes away in warm weather training camps, so it’s often hard in the first match, but we’ve started well.

“We had the smallest squad of the eight on the day and were only beaten by Birchfield, who had the biggest, so it’s a great achievement.”

Two of those six wins for Beagles came in the javelin, with Harry Hughes (72.03m) claiming the ‘A’ string and Chris Hughff (62.93) the victor in the ‘B’ event.

And Griffiths was understandably delighted with the clean sweep for Beagles in the javelin events in Sheffield.

“Harry is only 19 and still a young lad, so to throw over 72 metres in windy conditions was good,” he added.

“Chris is 35, so the two boys are at either ends of their careers, but they egg each other on in training, but maybe it’s time for Harry to shine now.”

Other wins went the way of Alex Al-Ameen in the ‘A’ 110m hurdles and Hassan Abdel Gawad in the ‘A’ hammer event.

Both Nigerian Al-Ameen and Gawad of Egypt have represented their countries internationally, and Griffiths believes both will prove to be key members of the squad.

“Hassan was great on his British League debut for us and so was Alex, both are world class athletes so hopefully there is more to come from them,” he said.

There was a popular winner in the ‘B’ 3000m as Frank Baddick came home in eight minutes 31 seconds to claim victory, much to Griffiths’ delight.

“Frank has probably scored more points for us in the British League than anyone else and he always gives it a real good go,” said the Beagles team manager.

The other winners for Beagles in Sheffield were Matthew Roberts in the ‘A’ high jump, and the 4x100m relay quartet of Aidan Steers, Emmanuel Stephens, Michael Warner and Lennox Thompson.

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