LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN The absence of Helps, RenÈe Medley, Sashalee Forbes, Carmelita Griffiths and Jeanine Williams, and the possible deployment of St Jago teammate Shanice Reid to the 400m leaves defending girls’ Class One 100m and 200m champion Natalliah Whyte in a league of her own this year. Helps, Reid, Medley and Forbes, Griffiths and Williams were second, third, fourth and fifth, sixth and seventh in the Class One 100m final last year. Together, those circumstances force fans to look to Class Two for quality depth and mass speed. Calabar’s Dejour Russell and Tyreke Wilson, first and second in the 100m, both return. Wilson will want to add the Class Two title to the Class Three version he won over Russell in 2014, but the big boy will want to repeat. If their starts are better than they were last year, fast times are possible. The best group of speedsters are probably in the girls’ Class Two category. Defending champion Shellece Clarke of Edwin Allen has been winning since her Class Four days, but her hand could be full at Champs this year. Not only must she cope with last year’s Class Three winner Kimone Shaw of St Jago, she probably will have company from Sheneil English. In Class Three, English beat both Shaw and Clarke at 200 metres while attending Hydel High. Now she is Shaw’s teammate at St Jago and missed the 2015 season of Champs eligibility because of the switch. Since then, the smooth running English has reached the World Youth 200m final. Recently, she opened her 2016 with a trip over 400 metres. Shaw is the best starter of the three, but the other two are great finishers. The last time they all met in a Champs 100m, the order was Clarke – English – Yanique Dayle of Hydel – Shaw. That was two years ago. All have improved, and a run at Helps’ Class Two record of 11.50 isn’t out of the question. – Hubert Lawrence has attended Champs since 1980 With Michael O’Hara and Shauna Helps gone a year early from Class One, the search for speed might settle in Class Two when ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships arrives in March. That’s where Calabar’s potent sprinters dominated last year on the boys’ side. Edwin Allen did likewise amongst the girls but may have challengers this year. O’Hara, Edward Clarke and Raheem Robinson, the top three from the Class One 100 final are gone. So is Okeen Williams who was fifth. That should leave the way clear for Raheem Chambers, St Jago’s former Class Two and Three 100m winner and Nigel Ellis of St Elizabeth Technical who has already shown promise over 200 metres this season. If Jevaughn Matherson of Kingston College bounces back from a wretched 2015 campaign, he could be a threat. He broke Chambers’ Class Three record, and when the St Jago speed merchant set the Class Two record of 10.29 seconds in 2014, Matherson was a splendid second in 10.37, a fine time for a first-year Class Two athlete.
Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has issued a rallying cry to the club’s fanbase, calling upon them to help restore off-field harmony by abandoning planned boycotts protesting against Mike Ashley’s ownership.Rafa Benitez’s Magpies have endured a torrid season so far and sit one place above bottom in the Premier League table on three points, with only Huddersfield beneath them on goal difference.But Lascelles, who penned a new six-year deal on Tyneside earlier this month, has urged supporters to band together and offer their support to the club as a whole in the current tough times as discontent continues to stew around St James’ Park. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! “It would help if everyone came together and put all that bad energy into positive energy, helping us get three points,” the 24-year-old told the Guardian, before coming to the defence of Ashley, who has remained a contentious figure for Newcastle supporters since his acquisition of the club over a decade ago.“I know fingers are being pointed at him,” Lascelles added. “He’s a nice guy. I like him. If everyone in Newcastle stopped the negativity and tried to form a unity it would help. It’s important that everyone’s together, especially when we’re down at the bottom of the table.“If you’re always hearing negativity and you’ve got the fans against Mike it just creates a big negative mess. It doesn’t help. It affects the chemistry in the changing room.”“But when 52,000 Geordies get behind us, it gives such an uplift. My message is stick with us. The fans are entitled to sing about Mike Ashley, but it does impact on us.”Lascelles also heaped praise upon his teammates, saying that the dynamic within the Magpies feels sturdier than ever, but further stressed that the players cannot make all the difference alone.“The club feels more united now. Our dressing room’s strong – it’s not like when I first came here and there was a clique of French lads, a group of Spanish lads, the English lads and another group in the corner – but we’d be a much better club without all the negativity and bad energy.”Newcastle will continue to seek a first Premier League win of the season when they host Watford on Saturday Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.