The end of a hard winter block for BUAC signalled the annual dual match competition between us and Cardiff Met. The dual match is the perfect opportunity for new BUACers to debut the mighty red vest, and veteran BUACers to dust off competing cobwebs as the indoor season starts! BUAC has a rich history in the Dual Match, winning it for the last two years and were looking to make it a 3-peat!
After a 2 ½ hour journey, BUAC entered the Welsh capital hungry for success. First event, as always, was the 60m. The ladies were up first, in due courtesy; with Mads Whapples, Jasmine Wilkins, Lauren Butler and Dani Hales all going in race 1 to set the tone of the evening. Jas got an electric start, and powered through to a narrow victory in 7.65, from Mads in 7.70. Dani started her indoor season excellently, propping up a BUAC 1-2-3 in a new 60m PB of 7.87. Lauren propped up the strong cohort of BUAC girls with an 8.08 time to start the night off with a bang.
Following the girls was the boys 60m. Once again, the line-up was exceptionally strong; with Darian Moore, Cam Bailey, President Josh Woods, and Julian Priest going in race 1. In a rapid race, Darian opened his 2023/24 indoor season with his second quickest ever time 60m of 6.91 to win. Cam also opened his indoor season with his second quickest ever 60 in 7.00, coming second behind Darian for another 1-2 and maximum points for BUAC. Josh and Jools showed the depth of BUAC, coming 4th and 6th overall in 7.09 and 7.12 respectively. With Josh posting a new personal best, and Jools again very close to his personal best with his third quickest ever 60, it set the scene for a night of rapid times.
Following the 60m races, was the lactic acid inducing 300m. First up was Social Sec Ella Jeffery, who stormed to a new PB of 41.50 off the back of a rapid winter block. Cara Murphy followed in race 2, in her BUAC debut, with a cracking time of 41.87 for 3/3 maximum BUAC points for the team. Amelia Atkinson ran a strong, brave front-run in race 3 to just get pipped at the line in 45.61. Over on the men’s side, a tasty line-up in race 1 of fresher debut v fresher debut, Jake Minshull vs Matthew Cox promised to get even the most neutral of fan excited. In the end, Jake just came out on top to win the race in a time of 36.56, narrowly beating Matt who ran a 36.73. Elsewhere, Finn Punton also debuted the BUAC vest in his first ever 300, producing a gritty, determined performance to win race 3 in 38.49.
Meanwhile, out in the field, the shot-put competition was reaching its conclusion. Jacob Matthews confirmed that class is permanent on his return to the BUAC vest, putting a whopping 14.23m to clear the field by over 0.5m! Track Captain Craig Moncur also opened his season well, putting 13.06m to score more valuable points in BUAC’s quest for another Dual Meet win. In the women’s shot competition, Annabelle Udo was the leading BUACer in a tight contest, putting 9.19m in the final round. Maya Stewart was close behind, putting 9.02m twice to open her indoor campaign. Tori Utti rounded off the BUAC trio with a throw of 8.61m.
Back to the track now, and the hard slog of the 600m was on the menu for BUAC. A total of 4/5 of the athletes taking on the 600 were BAUC, showing the strength and depth of our athletes. Lottie Dewar set the fastest time overall, getting maximum points for BUAC with a 1:36.57 in an absolute league of her own in race 2. In race 1, Imy Sheppard pulled away at the death to win from Ruby Simpson in a time of 1:39.37, with Ruby running a solid 1:40.08 in 2nd. Kati Hulme made it a clean sweep of BUAC in that race, coming third and 4thoverall with a 1:42.17. A trio of BUAC boys went in the men’s 600. Sam Myers, Harry Sinclair, and Zach Blair lined up in race 2 looking to run quick times and start their indoor seasons off right.
Out in the field, the long jump took off as the 600s sped around the track. On the men’s side, Joshan Ladd took off for BUAC, jumping a respectable 5.23m. Contrastingly, the women had two BUACers launching themselves into the pit. Both Amy Hughes and Amelia Watling debuted for BUAC, with Hughes jumping 5.58m into 2nd and Watling jumping 5.29m to come 3rd.
Onto more speed, with the 200 being the penultimate event before the relays. The girls were up first, Zoe Austridge getting BUAC off to amazing start with a 25.59 to kick start another great season for one of our break-through stars of the 2023 season. Eleni Francis debuted the BUAC vest for race 2, clocking a solid 27.82. Rebekah Hardy and Kirsty Sait-Stewart faced off against each other in race 3, with Bekah coming out on top, in a dazzling 26.90 to Kirsty’s 28.20. On the men’s side, BUAC had equally strong representation. Fresher Nathan Biggs lived up to. His pre-race hype by setting the Cardiff track alight with a blazing time of 22.83. Mali Birk came in just behind in a new personal best of 24.53 to signify his growth since joining the club. Nathaniel Franklyn also showed great strength to clock a 24.69 despite battling injuries.
Finally, it was the turn of the relays, the most eagerly anticipated part of the dual match. First was the girls’ team, led by Jas Wilkins, and the strength and depth off the team radiated through, making victory a formality in 1:46.27. The men’s race was anything but a formality. Led off by Matthew Cox, BUAC had a strong start and were firmly in the hunt as he handed over to Jake Minshull. Jake used every ounce of his scintillating talent to create a good gap over the Met before giving to Finn Punton. Finn showed what being a new BUACer is all about, putting everything in to maintain as much of a gap as possible before handing over to Zach Blair on the last leg. With 600m of pure lactic in his legs and 200m of adrenaline in his heart, Zach clocked what Mike Bennett quoted “the quickest 200 he’s ever run” for BUAC, hurting himself in the process for the pride. It sadly wasn’t enough, as he was pipped by 4 hundredths of a second by Cardiff Met, but it was still enough to strengthen an already unassailable lead and a clear victory for BUAC!