2010 Bay Sheffield winner Jordan Caldow demoralised the field over 200m at the Flinders Athletic Club’s annual SA Athletic League carnival on Sunday suggesting that a second Bay Sheffield title later this year, is not beyond him. Coming off the back mark of 6m, the national beach sprint champion, ran a scintillating 20.53 seconds to win the 200m Bill Ross Memorial off the tightest handicap in the event’s 11 year history. The teenage sprinter, trained by Peter Burdett at the Grange Surf Club conceded up to 19m to the front markers but like the world’s best racehorse, Black Caviar, he appeared to have much up his sleeve as he made light of the task at hand as he left his rivals in his wake. Fastest heat winner, Luke Buchanan (23m) from the Coastal squad coached by Luke Hildyard, was 2nd while 2010 Flinders 200m winner, Wallace Long-Scafidi finished strongly in 3rd place.
The feature distance event, the David Abbott Memorial 3200m, was won by Team Tempo’s Andy Axford (120m) from the fast finishing Flinders’ local Riley Cocks (60m) and McKinnon Parade’s Dillon Tee (290m) in a time of 9mins 15.64secs. The eight laps was an intriguing contest with 19 year old Axford working hard to reign in Tee and young Lachlan Scott (230m) before working his way through the field to peel off the gap to gallant young front marker Tasmin McMahon (490m). Axford was still conceding 10m to McMahon with a lap to go, but quickly reeled her in as he upped the tempo at the urging of his coach Adam Didyk to put the race beyond the reach of the backmarkers including the dual reigning champion, Jacob Cocks. It was the much improved Axford’s first sash with the SA Athletic League and the ease of the win suggests there will be a few more as the season unwinds.
Camden athlete Megan Letton (24m) caused the boil over of the day in the women’s 200m beating the hot favourite Lauren Buchanan (25m) who had recorded the fastest heat time of 23.19secs. Letton won in a time of 23.63secs by 1m from Buchanan with the state’s fastest woman, Leanne Hodge (4m) storming home for 3rd.
The Open 70m saw a Young Guns Track Squad quinella with 17 year old Brett Richards (5.00m) recording 7.86secs to beat his new stable mate Tom Sclanders (5.25m) by 1m with the Tim Johnson trained Paul Taylor (8.25m) 0.50m further back in 3rd place.
In the closest finish of the day, Hectorville veteran Lesley Tompson (10.25m) held on in a four way photo to narrowly win the Women’s 70m from McKinnon’s Ali Trewartha (8.25m) 2nd, Western District’s Leanne Hodge (1.50m) 3rd and Amy Mittiga (5.00m) just missing a place on the dais. Tompson’s winning time of 9.01secs was only five hundredths of a second ahead of 4th placed Mittiga who ran 9.06secs. It was Tompson’s second SAAL win after a 10 year absence from the sport and a triumph for her coach, 1987 Bay Sheffield winner, John Turner.
The Michael Buckler trained Stephen Jelfs won the 800m Open in 1min 51.29secs narrowly from the fast finishing Camden athlete, Ashley Brown (68m) with Brad Jones (110m) just holding on for 3rd.
Flinders athlete Melissa Lloyd (54m) won her second consecutive sash when she took out the women’s 800m from Courtney Ryder (150m) and Demi Axford (70) in a time of 2mins 09.04secs.
The under age races saw wins to Jessica Oates (12.0m) in the Under 14’s 70m, Corey Watkins (30m) in the Under 17’s 200m and Port Adelaide’s Kane Russell in the Under 20’s 800m. While both the junior sprints were relatively easy wins, Russell scored after an epic battle with Scott Hargreaves (58m) and Aiden Miller (65m) in the very quick time 1min 49.70 secs, faster than the winner of the Open 800m.
David Wilczek (16m) from the powerful veteran’s stable of Team Townley flew up the inside to win the Over 35’s 200m in 22.27secs from the self-trained Hectorville mentor John Turner (25m) while Ross Hill-Brown (29m) held on for 3rd.
The next SA Athletic League meet scheduled for Friday 11th November returns to the Henley Oval for the first time in 10 years where the feature event will be the 120m Henley Gift.