10.39 for Azu. Records broken at first BAL fixture of the season.

Echoing what Tyri Donovan tweeted yesterday, “Who brought the Caribbean to Swansea?”, not only did yesterday’s Premiership and Division 1 in South Wales stage record performances, it also treated athletes to the most glorious weather this year. More like a mid-July ambience, the sun was shining and performances certainly weren’t rusty.

After the disappointing news that lower division matches would be cancelled due to county championship clashes and subsequently a lack of officials, the top league fixture was adamant on taking place. Swansea Harriers welcomed athletes from the most competitive clubs in the country and the joint fixture certainly wasn’t a disappointment.

The day quite literally got off to a flying start, as Birchfield Harriers’ Craig Murch propelled the hammer 68.26m in the Premiership match on the first event of the day, worthy of a stadium record. He currently lies in third place on the UK rankings after his huge throw of 71.16 back in February. After yesterday’s performance, he still looks to have plenty left in the tank!

Elsewhere in the Premiership action, Welshman and British indoor bronze medallist, Jeremiah Azu, set a huge new lifetime best of 10.39 in the 100m, securing Cardiff maximum points. The college student managed to shave an incredible 0.17 off his previous best in his opening race of the season. His speedy streak continued into the 200m, which saw him go one step further and clock 21.09, 0.16 quicker than his indoor PB set at the age group nationals in February. It was a family affair on the day too, as Jeremiah teamed up with his older brother Sam in the 4x100m relay for Cardiff.

It was Blackheath and Bromley however who secured the 4x100m relay win in the Premiership match and also took the 4x400m top spot, led home by Ethan Brown. In the flat 400m races, Blackheath and Bromley came out on top yet again in both the A and B Premiership races, with anchor man Brown clocking 47.20 and Dan Putman just shy of that in 47.31.

There was something about taking the double this weekend, as over in the Division 1 match, Thames Valley Harriers also won both their 4x100m and 4x400m relays, clocking 3:14.6 in the 4x400m (1 second quicker than the Premiership winners!)

The Division 1 match also saw some stunning performances in the field events, with British indoor bronze medallist, Ray Banigo, leaping out to a wind assisted jump of 7.68m in the long jump. His legal jump of 7.58m was still enough to take maximum points though, as he was well clear of James Lelliott of Bournemouth in second (7.33m).

Other big performances came in the distance races for both matches, as Lewis Mills of Blackheath and Bromley managed to shave 7 seconds off his lifetime best in the 3000m, clocking 9:28.70 and earning maximum points for his club in the Premiership match. In Division 1, British Universities silver medallist, Piers Copeland of Bournemouth, was running right on PB form, dipping under 1:50 in the 800m for the pole position. His time of 1:49.77 is just his second sub 1:50 clocking, so 2019 looks to be a big breakthrough year for the Cardiff Met University student.

The pole-vault was a spectacle in both matches, as Birchfield athlete and British indoor silver medallist, Harry Coppell, flew over 5.26m in the Premiership pool. Abraham Melbourne of Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow blew everyone away in the Division 1 match. His previous best going into the competition was 3.70m and he cleared the opening height of 3.80, which must have given him heaps of confidence. He finished the competition in 4th, with a huge new lifetime best of 4.20!

Also of Windsor, Slough, Eton and Hounslow, decathlete Peter Moreno competed in seven events throughout the day, the epitome of helping your team secure as many points as possible.

Division 1 winners at the end of a fantastic day were Thames Valley Harriers and Birchfield Harriers topped the leaderboard in the Premiership match.