Town show McEvedy might again
St Pat's Town are the McEvedy masters.
They recorded their third successive McEvedy Shield win and the fifth in seven years at Newtown Park yesterday.
Town's successful defence was no surprise but the 49-point winning margin was larger than expected.
- Blog recap: McEvedy Shield
It was the biggest winning margin in the past decade and the 228 points recorded the biggest tally in the past 10 years.
The meeting was dominated by Town and Wellington College and the 179 points earned by Wellington would have been enough to win the McEvedy from 2005 to 2008.
Remarkably, Town (36) and Wellington (12) won 48 of the 55 events between them, with Silverstream winning just six and one for Rongotai.
Silverstream had won 18 events in 2013 and had topped 120 points in the previous two years but dropped to 87 points yesterday, while Rongotai, with 56, improved on their 2013 return.
Town had only 16 points to spare over Wellington College last year and another close contest looked likely when Wellington began well yesterday. They had a 13 point lead after the first two track events and led by 11 after the first round.
Town had a productive second round, to take a narrow advantage at the lunch break, before dominating the afternoon session.
Town won the majority of their points in the under-15 and under-16 division and held their own in the open events. They also performed well in the field, which has traditionally been their Achilles heel.
Wellington College dominated the under-14 division and did well in the open but could not match the Town speedsters in the under-15 and 16.
The last time Town recorded a hat-trick of McEvedy wins was in 1992 and that was followed by a period where the school recorded just one win in 15 years.
"This is my 15th year and I know how hard it is to win," Town head coach Leigh Lidstone said. "This is very satisfying. It's great for the old boys and for the school.
"I knew that Wellington College were strong in the junior grade and that we would have to fight for every point.
"We knew that we had to pull everything together to do it and it was one of those days where nothing went wrong. As you went around, whether on the track or in the field events, everybody that we expected to step up, did step up.
"I think it shows that our structures are working. We have great faith in our field coaches and we gave them control and they got the results."
Town captain Daniel Buttar, who finished second in the open hurdles and was part of the winning Town relay team, said the win was the high point of his athletics career.
"It's great to win the McEvedy four times in my five years at school. Being captain does make a difference and gives you a greater sense of accomplishment."
Wellington College athletics convenor Chris Wells acknowledged that his team had been second best. "The best team gets the most points and at the end of the day we didn't win enough.
"But some boys really did step up and though we didn't win, some of the boys will still be walking around on cloud nine because of their own performances.
"But you can't create sprinters overnight and Town have a lot of speed in their squad and that usually translates to the jumps as well."