Published: 00:00, 13 September 2002
| Updated: 12:32, 13 September 2002
MEDWAY & Maidstone might have to win the British Athletics League play-off match at Watford today to ensure promotion.
The top two teams were expected to go up, but club officials were told this week that relegated Swindon Harriers were appealing against their demotion.
It is a tall order for Medway & Maidstone to gain promotion in their first season and they will have to be in top form if it comes down to a winner-takes-all contest.
Club development officer Chris Bowman said: “We always recognised it was going to be tough. I have been there before with GEC and it took us five years before we won the play-off match.
“And it has been made more difficult because the appeal means there might only be one place up for grabs.”
Southern League champions Medway & Maidstone are joined by fellow regional champions Halesowen (Midlands League), Derby (North of England League) and Brecon (Welsh League).
Swindon compete, having finished fifth in the British League Division 4, but basement side Blackpool will not take part. Scottish League champions Pitreavie have also decided not to send a team.
Southern League runners-up Herne Hill and Woking, who were fourth in the league but received an invite after Midlands runners-up Telford withdrew earlier this week, complete the line-up.
One thing in Medway & Maidstone’s favour is that at a time when many athletes are starting to fade from the season’s exertions, some of their influential performers are running into form.
Tim Alexander recorded a personal best in the 800m of 1.50.35 a few weeks ago and fellow middle distance runner Steve Clarke has put his early season injury problems behind him and is looking good.
Andy Thomas won the 3000m steeplechase at a recent inter-counties match and will present a strong challenge.
Their main injury doubt ahead of the meeting is Barry Royden, but he is expected to be fit.