Relegated to the fringes by the A-list attractions in athletics this year, the European Team Championships still provide an ideal platform on which to hone the internationalist's craft.

On her senior track debut for Great Britain and Northern Ireland yesterday, Beth Potter seized a valuable opportunity to further her education as the Glaswegian prepares for a testing summer.

Having been summoned to Braunschweig as a late replacement, the 22-year-old proved an able understudy by claiming fifth place in the 5000 metres, having made an audacious foray into the lead with two laps remaining. The slow pace had suited her perfectly. "It gives me time to get my head around the race," she conceded. Although she finished in 15min 42.22sec, just outside her personal best, it served as a dress rehearsal for her twin targets of the Commonwealth Games and European Championships. "I thought all the way about the placings, you know when you are catching someone with a lap to go," she said. "I think I was ninth on paper so to come fifth, I am really happy with that."

Loading article content

Some flattered, others deceived, as Great Britain & Northern Ireland's under-strength corps finished fifth overall with 281½ points, well adrift of their German hosts, whose 371 was just enough to hold off Russia. Among the trio of Scots competing on Saturday, Eilidh Child disappointed with second place in the 400m hurdles while Luke Caldwell's sixth in the 5000m and Lennie Waite's seventh in the 3000m steeplechase more closely mirrored their potential.

Will Sharman talked up his chances by coming second in the 110m hurdles in 13.21, leaving him behind only Colin Jackson and Tony Jarrett in the all-time UK rankings. However ­Phillips Idowu, the former world champion, struggled on his return to the British fold, fourth in the triple jump. Chosen by England for the Commonwealths, the 35-year-old hopes that more lies within. "I haven't quite nailed it yet but I'll be pushing on," he said. "I have no plans. I'm just winging it right now."

Eilish McColgan warmed up for next weekend's UK Championships with third place in the 3000m at the EAP Bilbao meeting in 9:03.89. The Dundonian will now prioritise her bid for the qualifying standard for the steeplechase at August's Europeans in Zurich. "I want to make sure I get that time," she said. "I might be confident I'll get it in Glasgow at the Diamond League but, for me, the most important thing is making sure I'm in the top two spots next weekend."

Shaun Wyllie and Kimberley Reed secured their places in the GB&NI team for next month's world junior championships in Oregon with victories at the trials in Bedford.

Wyllie won the 1500m in 3.50.56 while Reed threw 58.13m to come up trumps in the hammer.

Welsh prodigy David Omoregie set a European junior record of 13.17 in the 110m hurdles.