Monday 20th August, 2018
The Swansea University Athletics Track played host to the Welsh Athletics Junior League Cup & Plate Finals over the weekend, which saw 16 teams and around 600 competitors from across West and East Wales descend on one venue over two days. Under 11, Under 13 and Under 15 club athletes and the next generation looked to finish their track and field seasons on a high as the junior campaign concluded with the annual end-of-seasondouble-header.
With the same events and age groups to the Welsh Junior League, the only difference this time round was that clubs were restricted to just two athletes per event, rather than four that has been permitted at league fixtures over the course of the summer at Carmarthen, Hereford, Neath, Cardiff, Brecon, Newport and Swansea.
On a drizzly and cold Saturday, the Plate final was contested between Hereford & County AC, Blaenau Gwent AC, Cwmbran Harriers, Brecon AC, Neath Harriers, Llanelli AC, Pontyclun AC, Barry & Vale Harriers and Rhondda AC.
Sunday's Cup Final was contested between Cardiff Archers, Cardiff AAC, Swansea Harriers, Newport Harriers, Carmarthen Harriers, Rhymney Valley AC, Pembrokeshire Harriers and Bridgend AC, with big fields in the majority of the events making it an exciting battle. After a grey start to the day, even the sun made an appearance during the afternoon and conditions improved for running, throwing and jumping new lifetime bests.
After taking control just after the half way mark, Neath Harriers never looked back and held on to win the Plate final with a total of 739 points. They were followed by teams from Brecon AC (685pts) and Hereford & County AC (628pts) to complete the top three.
It was UK Youth Development U13/15 National Lower Age Group Finalists, Cardiff Archers who were defending the Cup from 2017 but they came up against strong opposition from home team Swansea Harriers who were looking to take full advantage of competing on their own track. After being close from start to finish, the two-way battle continued right through to the end of the progamme as winners were decided in the very last javelin field event result. Changing hands on regular intervals towards the latter part of the day, Swansea Harriers with 1080 points were announced as the 2018 champions, victorious by only four points ahead of the Archers’ 1076 points.
Cardiff AAC and Newport Harriers enjoyed their own little battle for the third places spot, with the Welsh capital club coming through to secure third with 937pts.
The final team standings were as follows:
Plate Final: 1 Neath Harriers (739pts); 2 Brecon AC (685pts); 3 Hereford & County AC (628pts); 4 Blaenau Gwent AC (601pts); 5 Cwmbran Harriers (567pts); 6 Llanelli AC (549); 7 Pontyclun AC & Barry & Vale (514pts); 8 Rhondda AC (199pts)
Cup Final: 1 Swansea Harriers (1,070pts); 2 Cardiff Archers (1,066pts); 3 Cardiff AAC (937pts); 4 Newport Harriers (884pts); 5 Carmarthen Harriers (826pts); 6 Pembrokeshire Harriers (618pts); 7 Bridgend AC (442pts); 8 Rhymney Valley AC (441pts)
Welsh Athletics and the League Organisers would like to thank all the officials, volunteers, track staff and team managers for their assistance and especially to the Welsh Athletics officials who worked on both days to ensure that the competition ran to time and provided a great competition for the athletes.
For the East Wales club junior athletes, the final fixture will see eight teams contest the S.E.W.L Les Davies Club Challenge Match as it returns to Hereford Leisure Centre on Saturday 1st September. Rhymney Valley AC are the reigning champions taking victory in 2017.
Plate Results: http://results.welshathletics.org/2018_OD_WJL_PLATE_FINAL/18082018/
Cup Results: http://results.welshathletics.org/2018_OD_WJL_CUP%20FINAL/19082018/
Thanks to Nathan Jones of Carmarthen Harriers for the report.