Shaftesbury Barnet's team for the opening British League fixture of the season at Woodside Stadium, Watford, on Saturday was much weakened by the loss of 13 squad members to the annual match between Loughborough, AAA U20, British Students and England the following day.

Nevertheless, a spirited team performance resulted in a respectable fifth place out of the eight competing clubs.

Belgrave Harriers (356 points) won from Sale (324), Newham (276), Puma TVH (265), Shaftesbury (255), Border Harriers (251), Birchfield Harriers (232) and City of Edinburgh (215).

New member Jason Dupuy was Shaftesbury's star with a season's best of 1-51-90 in the 800m for second place, followed by a convincing win in the 1,500m 'B' race and a personal best 4 X 400m relay split time of 48.5

The distance runners also flew the flag when newcomers Nick Francis and Andy Colvin had convincing debuts when second in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase.

Both were ably supported by their 'B' strings, who were convincing winners. In the 5,000m Pamenos Ballantyne followed his excellent 23rd place in the London Marathon with 2-16-25, with another splendid performance, and Orlando Edwards ran well in the 3,000m steeplechase.

There were good points as usual from the throwers, and in particular from Neville Thompson, who consolidated his position as UK No1 over-40 discus thrower with his third place in 50-66.

Another excellent performance came from 40-year-old Tony Smith, second in the javelin with 63-66. Newcomer David Callaway gained useful points with his third place in the shot (16-09).

Gary Smith recovered from a disaster in his top event the long jump to collect valuable points in the high jump, triple jump and 110m hurdles.

SBH's final placing was dependent on the performance of their 4 X 400m relay team.

They went into the race joint fifth, and had to finish ahead of Border Harriers. They did so in a thrilling race, but were denied victory by a brilliant last leg from British international Sean Baldock for Belgrave Harriers.

The second round is on Saturday, June 6, at Birmingham where, for the first time in the league's 30-year history, a Women's National League Division One match will be held in conjunction, with champions SBH hoping to do well.

SHAFTESBURY PLACINGS: 100m A: 8 Andy Hughes 10-98. B: 7 Mark McIntyre 11-01. 200m A: 6 Dan Donovan 22-19. B: 400m A: 5 Kris Stewart 48-62. B: 1 Alex Fugallo 48-34.

800m A: 2 Jason Dupuy 1-51-90. B: 4 James Trapmore 1-56-24. 1,500m A: 8 James Trapmore 3-55-60. B: 1 Dupuy 4-00-70. 5,000m A: 2 Nick Francis 14-35-72. B: 1 Pamenos Ballantyne. 14-55-09.

Relay (4 X 100m): 6 SBH (Stewart, Fugallo, Hughes, Donovan), 43-77. Relay (4 X 400m): 2 SBH (Stewart, Fugallo, Dupuy, Donovan).

110m hurdles A: 8 Gary Smith 16-20. 400m hurdles A: Mark Stern did not finish. B: 8 Orlando Edwards 76-76.

High jump A: 2 Colin Bent 2-10. B: 6 Smith 1-90. Long jump A: 5 Chris Cotter 6-67. B: 8 Smith 1-17. Triple jump A: 4 Ezra Clarke 14-93. B: 3 Smith 13-20. Pole vault A: Christian Inskey no height.

Discus A: 3 Neville Thompson 50-66. B: 6 Kevin Davies 34-69. Javelin A: 2 Tony Smith 63-66. B: 4 Chris Cotter 47-98. Shot putt A: 3 David Callaway 16-09. B: 5 Neville Thompson 13-23. Hammer A: 7 Chris Walsh 55-95. B: 4 Kevin Davies 52-63.

In the representative match on Sunday, David Bullock and Remi Edu were outstanding among the club's 13 competitors.

Bullock's time of 3-45-6 in the 1,500m gave him 10th place on the club's all-time list, and Edu's 52-28 in the 400m hurdles gave him seventh on the all-time chart

OTHER SBH PERFORMANCES: 100m: Seni Edu 11-0. Luke Davis 11-1. 200m: Seni Edu 22-04. 400m: Chris Carson 48-75. 1,500m: Justin Swift-Smith 3-46-21. 110m hurdles: Greg Dunson 14-73. Ben Warmington 14-98. Chris Low 15-56. 400m hurdles: Richard McDonald 54-11.

High jump: Colin McMaster 2-05. Pole vault: Christian Linskey 5-12. Javelin: David Parker 68-60.

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