This was the final gala of this Barnsley League season for us and the whole team really pulled together to go out with a bang. We had a little team huddle before the gala started and said that today was all about beating Barnsley. In each of the 3 previous meetings they had beaten us by 10 points or more! With that target in mind we set about some fast swimming!
There were 7 different people who came away with individual 1st places - Jenny Burton 50 free, Mitchel Burton 50 breast, Millie Colbear 50 fly & 50 free, Caitlin Dixon 50 breast, Dale Marshbank 50 back & 50 fly, Alex Pollard 50 fly & 50 free and Paul Willard 50 back. These swimmers contributed 50 points out of our 180 point total and that doesn't take into account their relay swims!! Congratulations to all of you!
At the half way point we had the points total update... Armthorpe weren't just ahead of Barnsley and South Axholme, we were ahead of City of Sheffield to. There were less than 10 points separating the top three clubs, so we knew that in the last round of individuals, relays and the cannon we were in with a shout of winning the gala and becoming the first team to beat City of Sheffield in this league all season.
In the second half of the gala the wins and second places carried on coming. The noise and anticipation started growing as swimmers, coaches and team managers began to believe that we could actually pull this off! The there were 2 disqualifications in fairly quick succession. In both races our swimmers touched the wall first, so that was 10 points thrown away. Obviously lessons from the Bridon shield have not been fully learnt yet. Even with this setback a quick check with the gala score keepers showed that we were still in with a chance. It came down to the cannon!
News from the scorers room was that if we won the cannon, we'd win the gala. If we came second in the cannon, we'd win the gala. We came third so we thought all was lost. But no, we came joint first - just about clinging onto the lead that we had built through the gala. This was a good result, we'd set out to beat Barnsley and done so. Next season we should be setting our sights on them and Rotherham every gala.
So with one gala remaining for the other 4 clubs in the league, unless there are some major problems, it looks like City of Sheffield will win the league, Rotherham and Barnsley will fight it out for 2nd and 3rd. Armthorpe are almost certain to finish 4th (we would need Barnsley to score less than 140 points in the final gala) and South Axholme will finish 5th.