Griffiths: Beagles hit by late withdrawals

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 June 2015

Rowan Griffiths (left) chats to Aaron Edwards at Lee Valley (pic: Claire Jones)

Rowan Griffiths (left) chats to Aaron Edwards at Lee Valley (pic: Claire Jones)

© Claire Jones

Newham finish seventh again in BAL meeting

Newham & Esses Beagles team manager Rowan Griffiths believes last minute alterations to athlete’s plans hit the team hard in the second British Athletics League match of the season.

Beagles came seventh at Lee Valley, having finished in the same position in the opening fixture at Sheffield last month.

The team had been hoping to have Rabah Yousif, James Ellington and Alex Al Ameen competing, but the international athletes were offered invitations to race elsewhere, which Griffiths thinks affected Newham’s final placing.

“We lost three top guys to other competitions. Rabah was offered the chance to run in France, James took part in the Diamond League in Birmingham and Alex went to Greece,” said Griffiths.

“All three of them would have been guaranteed A string winners, which would have been another 48 points for us.

“That would have pushed up us to around third or fourth on the day. It hit us hard and we tried to make up points elsewhere. The boys who were there did great.”

Beagles had only three A string winners on the day, with Dale Clutterbuck triumphing in the 800m, Chris Clarke victorious in the 200m and Rory Chesser successful in the 5,000m.

And Griffiths was quick to pay tribute to the athletes who secured vital maximum points for Newham on what was effectively home turf.

He added: “Those boys have been absolutely brilliant over the years and from a spectator’s point of view they have been real joys to watch.

“Chris was a little upset with his time, but given the weather wasn’t too favourable it was a great display. Dale runs so many ways, he seems to have a tactic to cover everything. He’s going about it quietly, but I think he’s a real one to watch. Roy was great too.”

But it was the team’s youngest member, Michael Oku-Ampofo, who impressed Griffiths the most at Lee Valley.

“Michael was my performance of the day. He’s only 16, but he came into the men’s 400m race and was not overawed at all.

“He set a new personal best of 49.29 and he’s absolutely delighted with the time. He’s third fastest in the UK for his age. That’s what being a Beagle is all about. Seeing his pleasure was my highlight of the meet.”

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