On a damp Saturday morning where the rain just about held off until the last race, athletes from Bristol, Bath & North-East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire came together to compete for Avon Schools Cross-Country titles. Such is the lack of popularity of cross-country that the 4 boy’s races produced a total of 113 finishers and the 4 girl’s races 98 finishers.
As was to be expected given the recent heavy rain the course at Blaise Castle was heavy at best and very slippery in parts.
Club coaches were out in force to watch their charges run out of club colours and it was clear that Bristol & West Athletic Club, Westbury Harriers, North Somerset Athletic Club and Team Bath had already cornered most of the talent from their respective areas.
The Minor girl’s race saw Katie Jones produce a great run to finish second in 10:26 eleven seconds behind Ellie Hobbs who won in 10:15. Jess Frazer finished sixth in 11:10 almost a minute behind the winner and they will both benefit from running in the group that Paul Own is now looking after on a Monday night. There were 17 finishers in this age group.
In the Junior Girls age group Isobel Leeming led the club athletes home in tenth place in 14:28 with Nancy Dineen a position behind clocking 14:46. Eloise Brown finished thirteenth in 14:53 followed by Isabelle Parselle sixteenth in 15:58, Olivia Crofts seventeenth in 15:53 and Emily Moore nineteenth in 16:12. So Bristol & West provided 25% of the field.
Isobel Medcroft was ‘placed’ seventeenth in the Inter-Girls results based on her clocking of 20:16 in the Junior Girl’s race. This age group was dominated by athletes from Westbury Harriers and North Somerset with Ellie Wallace (16:06) running away from Ellie Leather (16:31).
Maria Jones had a high standard to live up to following Katie’s performance and her fourth place was a good result and reflected the additional training she has been doing with Dave Taylor and his group recently. Maria had the honour of leading Bristol to a Team victory but they were in fact the only team to close in a scoring team.
In the Minor Boy’s Race Stan Harding-Hill finished second in 12:00 followed closely by Nathan Marchant in 12:02 in what was the closest finish of the day. Disappointing that there were only 14 finishers in this age group.
In the Junior Boy’s race Anton Mills showed real commitment from the start as three broke away early on. Despite losing his shoe quite early on he stuck to his task and was rewarded by a fine third place in 15:17 behind Themis Bower of BANES and Ben Cureton of North Somerset. Fortunately Anton and shoe were reunited after the race. Reuben Wilmshurst finished eighth in 16:14 and then there was a gaggle of club runners as Kyle Haynes (twelfth in 16:41), Jasper Eddison (Thirteenth in 16:43) and Otis Harding-Hill (fifteenth in 16:45) all finished within four seconds of each other.
In the Inter Boy’s race Harry Leeming went to the front early on but was closed down and overtaken by George Marshall but kept going to finish second in 23:27. Behind him Henry Cochrane finished third (23:47) in a close finish with Charlie McDonald from BANES (23:50). Jack Flowers finished thirteenth in 26:24 with Billy Cochrane fifteenth in 26:37. Lucas Regazzo – who is better known for his prowess over shorter distances – finished twenty-first in 28:30 and Kieron Dunkley finished twenty-second in 28:35. Hopefully Kieron will soon find the sort of form he was showing last year. It is clear that Dave Bedwell is building on the work Alison Hurford put in with this group last winter.
In the Senior Boy’s race there was a runaway victory for Miles Chandler who finished in 27:48 a minute and 15 seconds clear of the runner-up, Jack Millar from QEH who is a recent addition to the club. It was good to see Lewis Nightingale racing again as he represented BANES and Chew Valley School finishing sixth in 31:06. Stuart O’Connell was ninth in 32:32.
With several good performances many of the club’s youngsters can anticipate selection for the South-West Schools on Saturday 8th February in Bournemouth and the English Schools at Castle Donnington on Saturday 15th March 2014 and we wish them all well in these events.
Full results of the races can be found on the Avon Schools web-site: