VP&TH hailed as Southern League champions

By Phil Ravitz VICTORIA Park & Tower Hamlets AC are the athletics champions of the South. Last weekend, at Ipswich, VP&TH clinched their fourth straight victory in a league match this season to pip Portsmouth AC overall to take the Southern League title.

By Phil Ravitz

VICTORIA Park & Tower Hamlets AC are the athletics champions of the South.

Last weekend, at Ipswich, VP&TH clinched their fourth straight victory in a league match this season to pip Portsmouth AC overall to take the Southern League title.

In the final reckoning, the East Londoners finished eight points ahead of their nearest rivals from Hampshire with Reading AC third on 717.


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Now VP&TH look to be heading for the national play-off meeting at Abingdon, Oxfordshire on September 19, where a place in the National League beckons for the club for the first time.

At Ipswich on Saturday, they were given a battle by Milton Keynes AC and host club Ipswich. But as the match progressed, VP&TH began to stack up the results and pull away from their opponents to win the match by a resounding 25 points from the other pair who were tied in second place.

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There were two highly notable individual performances in the VP&TH ranks, from the always consistent, multi-event star Sam Sillah, who for the first time on Saturday added the hammer to his repertoire!

His all-round ability saw him win the A string long jump, high jump and 110 metres hurdles. He was also first in the B string javelin and took third in the A string triple jump, in a phenomenol all-round effort.

Sam even tried to gain inclusion in the 4x400m relay team, but VP&TH were already well represented in the event.

The other outstanding individual showing came from Tunde Balogun, who showed great sprint versatility in winning the 100m in 10.8 - his fastest time in a Southern League meet - and filled in in the A string 400m to power home in 51.5.

Not content, Tunde was a member of both the club's 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams, who both came home first.

Good supporting displays in VP&TH vests came from Victor Ade-Davis, who won the B string 100m, while Abdul Buhari was a close second in the 200m. In the distance races, James Foley dipped under the two minute barrier to take second in the A string 400m and Dave Alcock was also a good second in the 5000 metres and third in the A 3000 steeplechase, all yielding valuable points.

There were good performances from the club pole vaulters, Jayden Ali coming second in the A string while Baddar Echakhch won the B string event with 3.60 metres.

Echakhch muilt-evented and took second in the A string javelin and also scored well in the hammer, discus and shot.

Young starlet Ashley Wilson pushed Sam Sillah all the way in a combined 110 metres hurdles - winning the B string - and matching his personal best on a great day for the club.

RESULTS (VP&TH athletes):

100m: A 1 T Balogun, 10.8, B 1 V Ade-Davis, 11.0, 200m: A 2 A Buhari, 22.3, B 1 D Robinson, 22.8, 400m: A 1 T Balogun, 51.5, B 3 A Akande, 53.0, 800m: A 2 J Foley, 1.59.2, B 4 T McDowell, 2.08.5, 1500m: A 4 M Ryall, 4.04.9, B 3 P Martelletti, 4.09.7, 5000m: A 2 D Alcock, 15.38.1, B 4 D Shortridge, 20,47.9, 110m, H: A 1 S Sillah, 15.2, B 1 A Wilson, 15.3, 400mH: A 2 D Robinson, 56.8, B 3 S Basey, 60.8, 3000m steeplechase: A 3 D Alcock, 10.24.5, B 3 G Bagnall, 10.42.9, long jump: A 1 S Sillah, 6.43m, B 4 M Malone, 5.50m, triple jump: A 3 S Sillah, 12.87, B 3 S Basey, 10.99m, pole vault: A 2 J Ali, 3.80m, B 1 B Echakhch, 3.60m, high jump: A 1 S Sillah, 1.98m, B 1 A Akande, 1.95, hammer: A 4 B Echakhch, 25.90m, B 4 S Sillah, 20.09m, javelin: A 2 B Echakhch, 52.51, B 1 S Sillah, 39.99m, shot: A 4 A Ozumah, 9.45m, B 2 B Echakhch, 9.41m, discus: A 3 A Ozumah, 32.85, B 2 B Echakhch, 28.98, 4x100m: 1 VP&TH (Paine, Balogun, Ade-Davis, Buhari), 45.0, 4x400m: 1 VP&TH (Basey, Balogun, Foley, Robinson) 3.29.1.

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