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Title misery for VP&TH girls

PUBLISHED: 11:42 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:35 05 October 2010

By PHIL RAVITZ A HEAVILY depleted Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets women s team were denied their first league title at Braintree on Saturday as they were narrowly beaten to the Southern League Division Two crown. Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets held top

By PHIL RAVITZ

A HEAVILY depleted Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets women's team were denied their first league title at Braintree on Saturday as they were narrowly beaten to the Southern League Division Two crown.

Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets held top spot in the table heading into the fourth league meeting of the season at Braintree following an overall victory on home ground at Mile End in July and two second positions at meetings in Cambridge and Ipswich.

But they were forced to accept a runners-up finish in the final league table after relinquishing the championship to rivals Ipswich.

The Suffolk club won the final meeting of the league series by 29 points and secured the Division Two title by a margin of just seven points - although the east London club did win promotion for their second-place finish.

They will have a chance for revenge over Ipswich next season when the two clubs will both compete in Southern League Division One, the toughest regional standard in club athletics.

It will be the first time that Victoria Park have had a women's team in Division One in their history.

Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets were without a number of key performers through injury and coach Alf Vickers admitted that the numerous absences had ultimately dashed their league title hopes.

"In the event, our weakened team covered all but two A string and three B string events," he said. "If we could have fielded entries in those and just taken moderate points, we would have won the meeting and the league."

But Vickers is confident that when the club have a full squad, they are capable of holding their own in the higher division next year.

He added: "I've looked at the times and distances posted by teams in this season's Division 1 competition and I don't think we need fear anyone next season."

Among those missing at Braintree was Amanda Ranger, the club's leading jumps performer, whose points have been vital in previous meetings. She was forced to sit out after suffering a back injury.

With leading thrower Nancia Joseph also sidelined and a number of the club's sprint stars unable to make the trip to Essex, Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets struggled to reach their usual standards.

But an impressive show of strength in the middle distance events ensured that the club pushed Ipswich all the way for the title.

The middle distance quartet of Jo Singer, Claire Sarrell, Emily Mosedale and Mel McClure all performed well, with Singer competing in three events.

She ran in the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m, taking two second places and one third position. Sarrell also picked up points for a third place in the 800m.

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