A Nintendo Switch, a go-faster haircut and a bus stuck in the mud…

Emma Withers reports on the u15 and u17 boys’ efforts at the Midland XC Champs on Saturday 26th January.

7 u15’s and 7 u17’s travelled to the Spa town of Leamington to take part in the Midlands XC. The Nintendo Switch kept them amused on the way up and arriving in good time gave all the boys the opportunity to walk around and familiarise themselves with the ditches and hills on this challenging cross country course.  Spikes on, numbers pinned, timing chips on ankles and warmed up the u15 boys were first on.  Leading the pack out was Beck Harding-Hill, back on racing form, finishing in 24th place (15.40), enjoying better conditions, Jay Akbar, 39th place (16.14), Cole Edmonds, just managing to keep upright through the first ditch 56th(16.49), closely followed by Joseph Hull 59th completing the first four home (16.50).  Next up, continuing to improve at every race, Tom Beech 69th (17.39), Amos Kingston 74th, complete with smile and new haircut (18.08) and Will Chapman taking on this distance for the first time 80th (19.43).  7th Team overall. 

The u17 men were next up, having cheered round their younger team mates.  Oliver Harper, 29th, Fred Hawker 31st and Luke Iles, 36th led the team out with excellent packing on the first lap, 23.35, 23.59 and 24.19 respectively.  Fred gave a most impressive sprint along the home stretch to the finish.  Otto Kingston 60th (26.52) and Nathan Marchant 61st (26.53) battled out the last 200m, spurring each other on to the finish, followed closely by Robert Kiekuth 62nd (27.06). Lewis Adamson completed our team, running a steady but cautious race as he continues to come back to running form following issues with his knees.  He was pleased to complete the course in 65th position (29.46).

Our biggest challenge of the day was yet to come when our bus got stuck in the mud trying to leave the venue.  All hands on deck, digging out the wheels, borrowing bark chippings from the course and getting a tow from one of the wonderful marshals we managed to free the bus and head home, just a little delayed.  Thank you to the Senior Ladies who were travelling with us for their patience and understanding.  I hope the delay didn’t interfere with their evening plans!!  Please also give a thought to our poor tent, which met its demise yesterday, just when the boys were so expert at putting it up!!  It has served us well.  We are looking forward to a nice new one for the Gwent League.

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