The final Gwent League, Blaise Castle: senior team report

07 Mar

It was yet another stellar performance from the womens’ A team who recorded their 7th consecutive overall team victory in the Gwent League whilst the B was 4th on the day & 3rd overall. The C was first C team & D first D team. In the age groups the over 45s were 1st & 6th teams, the over 55 team 1st on the day and second overall. Individually Natalie Griffiths was 3rd followed closely by Issy Talbot (4th) Price & Catie O’Donague (6th). Issy & Catie were 2nd & 3rd women in the overall standings. With Amy Partridge 8th and Ellen Harrison 15th the team took the overall title by 313 points! For the B team Sarah Everitt producing another cracking run finishing 17th (1st W50), with Clare Jolliffe 28th (2nd W50), Alice Doggrell produced her best run on the country despite a 22min warm up run at Ashton Court earlier in the day with 37th, Charlotte Bermingham 45th & Nicky Hodges 58th (11th W45). Harriet William, making her cross-Country debut, led the C team home in 60th with Emma Clarke 63rd, Tracy Allan 74th (3rd W55), W40 Kate Druett 81st & Hayley Bennett 90th. W35 Ruth Nunn 91st led the D team home followed by Jenny Anderson led the D in 98th, Leona Mills in 114th, comfortably in the top half of the field, Ali Hurford 135th (8th W55) and Latife Comlek 139 (18th W50). For the E team, Emma-Jane Orchard was 143rd leaving over 70 W45’s in her wake, Fliss Russell 146th and 3rdW60 & W40 Diana Budureano 156th. With 257 women finishing all those newcomers to cross-country can congratulate themselves on solid performances in a highly competitive field.

Sarah Everitt and Claire Jolliffe striding through the pack

Ditto from the men! The men completed their 5th win in the last 7 years with 2nd in the other two years. On the day the A team were first retaining their overall title by 103 points, the B team 3rd , C team 12th & D team 17th & E team 21st out of 84 teams. The B team topped the B division by a massive 954 points, whilst in the reserve division the C, D, E & F teams produced an astonishing performance taking the top 4 slots! Individually, the team was boosted by Josh Moody’s late decision to run. Josh has been a revelation this season and he produced his best league performance to date finishing 3rd, with Maciej Bialogonski rapidly getting back to form after injury in 5th, Jed Barlett 9th, Joe Ballard another who has made astonishing progress in the last few months in 13th & evergreen Graham Breen 21st (2nd M40) completed the team. Thus the destination of the team title was never in doubt. For the B team Pete Bains showed that he’s getting back to form in 34th, while Scott Watkins, Nick Roberts, Henry Sly & Darren Garmen (10th M45) in 45th, 49th, 60th & 62nd all produced performances that exceeded expectations. The same can be said of Neil Turney, Andy Reynolds (13th M45) & Paul Jefferson who led the C team home in 71st, 73rd& 74th while Kieran Batty 78th & Dave Eagon clearly suffering from some malady in 79th made up the team. M40 Tim White led the D team home in 93rd, it was good to Steve Swan back in action in 98th, Jon Bennett was 106th, Jack Longstaff back after a winning battle with injury & iron levels was 110th& Mark Taylor 113th (22nd M45). For the E team, newcomer Sam Johnson had his first race in 8 years & finished a creditable 120th. He was followed by Dan Titheradge (128) and another newcomer Tom Moriaty another who did a warm up parkrun, M45 Bill Hull, and a trio of Gwent League debutants Nathan Lomax- Cooke (141), Doug Webb (148), & M35 Darren Stringer (149) with Doug & Darren leading the F team home. John Goodland was again first M60 in 157th, Krzyztof Wanat 217, & two more club newcomers Peter Faulkner (231) & Jake Richardson (266) completed the teams. There were 316 finishers.

For both the women & men the start of 2019 has been most heartening! Taking the SW Cross-Country Championships, the Midland Championships, the 4th Gwent League, the National Cross-Country Championships & the final Gwent League, the women posted 1st, 1st, 1st , 7th & 1st teams and the men 1st, 3rd, 1st, 3rd & 1st, surely a record to be proud of. So on to the Midland (Saturday March 23rd) & National (Saturday April 6th) Road Relays. The indications so far are there are going to be several formidable teams out!