The performance of Jessica Ennis-Hill in the Manchester City Games on Saturday was sound rather than spectacular.
Considering she was competing for the first time for almost two years she could be well satisfied with her time of 13.14 for third place in an all domestic 100m hurdles line up.
Winner was Tiffany Porter, who broke Ennis-Hills UK record last year with 12.51. She clocked 12.56 in Florida last month compared with her winning time in Manchester of 12.86, the difference reflecting the difference in conditions. On that basis alone, Ennis-Hill will clearly go below 13 seconds before long.
In the Manchester event her hurdling looked smooth apart from hitting one hurdle. Her heptahlon rival Katarina Johnson-Thompson opted for the rarely run 200 hurdles where she finished second in 25.31.
Ennis-Hill said: “It’s really good to be back and I just feel like it’s the start of it now so I’m really happy to be getting back into it.
“I’m always going to be disappointed because I know I’m capable of running a lot faster but I hit a hurdle and feel like I’m lacking race sharpness. So I’m just happy to come away from that and I can build on it now.
“It’s really nice to be back and getting in the blocks again and having the crowd behind you with the big cheer so it was really nice on the start line and after as well.”
City of Sheffield and Dearne AC started their British League (Premier Division) in style, winning the opening match at their Woodbourn Road track on Saturday. With home advantage a factor, Sheffield beat the rest in both the track and field events, their field events athletes being particularly dominant. Sheffield finished well clear with Sale, holders Shaftsbury Barnet, Birchfield and Haringey in a separate contest for second place with only three points separating them.
Considering they are ranked equal first in the country outdoors, it was no surprise to see Adam Hague and Luke Cutts scoring maximum points for Sheffield in the pole vault, Hague, 17, winning the A event with 4.80 and Cutts finding 4.60 good enough to win the B event.
The long jump was another top scoring event for Sheffield through Daniel Gardiner (7.52) and Liam Ramsay (7.22). Both decathletes, Gardiner also won the B 100 metres (10.72) and contributed in the sprint relay whilst Ramsay was third in the 110 hurdles (14.54) and the B high jump (1.80).
The 3000 metres was a good event for Sheffield with Matt Bowser taking the runner up spot in 8:16.07 and Carl Hardman winning the B race in 8:24.54.
Mark Plowman had a good win for Sheffield in the discus (53.97) and Lee Doran was runner up in the javelin (68.13) with Sam Ellis runner up in the B event (55.94). The shot was another good event for Sheffield, Gareth Winter finishing second with 16.63 and Jamie Williamson runner up in the B event with 15:19.
There was also a fine performance from 17 year old James Gormley, third in the 1500 metres. Following an outstanding winter over the country he clocked a personal best of 3:52.94. The qualifying mark for the World Youths Championships, 3:51.00 is clearly within Gormley’s grasp. Newcomer Nathan Reed scored well for Sheffield with runner up spot in the B race.
Match score: 1 City of Sheffield and Dearne AC 327; 2 City of Manchester (Sale) 289.3; 3 Shatfsury Barnet 286.3; 4= Birchfield 286.3 and Enfield & Haringey 286.3; 6 Woodford Green/Essex Ladies 272.5; 7 Newham and Essex 241; 8 Glasgow 177.