Blaise Gwent League XC – Senior teams

10 Dec

Chris Elson reports

Report Blaise 7.12.19

There was a 15 strong contingent at the Telford 10K, which included the Master’s selection race for the home international. A goodly number of PB’s were posted with Harry Allan 30.17, Felix McGrath 31.07, Joe Connors 31.58, Jed Bartlett 32.40, Andy Cooke (40) 33.04, Ben Maliphant 33.07, Phil Parry (4th M55) 35.48, Brad Pontin 37.47, Natalie Griffiths 37.33, Clare Jolliffe (2nd W50) 39.32, Sarah Everitt (5th W50) 40.45, Sian Davies 43.10 (7th W55), Fliss Russell (6th W60) 47.13, Christine Rose (12th W60) 52.32, Anne Dockery (2nd W70) 53.17. In addition, David Eagon, Alex Whittaker and Annabelle Grainger were 1st, 4th, & 1st women respectively at Christmas Cracker 10K. So how would B&W AC fare at Blaise? Rather well as it turned out, with a few unanticipated reinforcements and some handy debutantes. In fact the weekend’s events must rank as one the best performance by the B&W AC endurance section in terms of strength in depth in living memory!

This time the women did set a record namely A team 1st & B team 2nd! The C, D, E & F teams were all 1st in their category, out of the 76 teams finishing with the C team 9th, D team 15th, E team 25th,  and F team 54th. The W35 & W45 teams were 1st and W55 team 2nd. I think Keith is going to be pleased with these results! Individually, Kate Maltby led the field home and it was lovely to see Kate in full flow gliding away from her pursuers. Kate even said she enjoyed it! Next up was a rejuvenated Nicky Brookland who produced a cracking run in 6th and was first W45 by the proverbial mile. That left a trio of Rosie Hattersley (10th), Catie O’Donaghoe (14th), and making her club debut, Annie Carroll (15th), all running strongly to complete the A team . The B team was led home by Anna Duran-Mingo, back after injury, in 19th, followed by another debutante Hannah Steeds (23), Katerina Entwhistle (24th), Elaina Gard fighting off a cold (26th) & Naomi Aylwin (31st). That was some performance by the B team! Lucy Wallace, not at her best, was first home for the C team in 40th position, with Tanya Chowdhudry having an excellent run (43rd & 8th W40), Thea Payne making an impressive debut (46th), Emma Clarke (56th) & Nicky Hodges,  (71st & 8th W45) completing the team. Alice Doggrell, warming up for the race with a nippy Clevedon park run (somebody needs to talk to her about this), was first finisher for the D team in 73rd, with W40 Harriet Williams running well in 77th, Ruth Tredgett (90th), a notable performance from Antonia Gooder (106th & 6th W50) and an excellent one from Maggie Salter (120th & 4th W55) & no, I didn’t miss the 26 min park run. Another debutante, Kate Hoffen with a run to be proud of led the all masters E team home in 134th position (11th W50), with Rosey Mushens (139th & 7thW55), Ali Hurford, cheered on by the army, (157th & 11th W55), W45 Julie Ilogu (169th), and W45 Emma-Jane Orchard (174th). Finally the F team was composed of Harriet Middlebrough (184th), Danielle Suttle (213rd) & W45 Katie Ronald (215th) out of the 292 finishers.

In the M65 race run with the ladies Dave Bedwell was 1st & Tom Burgess 10th & they held on to their 2nd place overall.

Could the men emulate their female counterparts? They did give it a good shot! The A team were first and now have a handy cushion of 149 points over our nearest rivals, Aberdare AAC.  The B team were 4th and head the B Division by over 500 points! Notably, the C, D, E & F teams occupied the first four places in the Reserve Division with the G team in 14th out of 31 teams in the division. The M35 team were 2nd on the day and M45 5th. I’m indebted to Mike Down for his report on the A team. The Blaise race was particularly significant for the long awaited comeback of the club’s former junior international Ben Westhenry and the return from injury of Andy Chambers. These two were joined among others by Andy Watt, whose progress has been a revelation this autumn but who himself was returning from an inactive fortnight’s holiday in South America. So there were question marks all round, but the way Ben attacked the three undulating three lap course from the start you could have thought he had never been away! He took the bull by the horns, opening up a lead of as much as 30-40 metres on the first two laps, but a combination of an ankle roll suffered midrace and a predictable reaction to such an aggressive approach in his first race for two years saw him run out of gas on the last lap and have to settle for 7th place at the end. Nonetheless it was a remarkable resumption to what had been a promising junior career before an overuse shin injury suffered during a short athletics scholarship stay in the U.S. left him so exasperated that he made an early return to the UK. Now happily based back with his alma mater in Bristol studying for a Ph.D. and hopefully finally clear of his chronic shin problem, it should not be long before he underlines his outstanding natural talent. While one’s attention was inevitably focussed on Ben’s comeback effort, behind him Andy Chambers, was also returning to action after before being sidelined for the past month due to an ankle sprain together with a recurrence of the back problem that grounded him for the first half of the year. Unlike Ben he purposely started cautiously, and although never in contact with the leaders soon worked his way through to a position in the top six and gradually closed the gap to finish in 4th place in a race that he thought he could have won if his training had not been interrupted. Andy and Ben’s efforts sandwiched those of Andy Watt and Jonny Suttle, who both took their time to work their way through a number of the early pacesetters to finish 5th and 6th respectively just ahead of Ben. Andy Watt, clearly acted as a spur to Johnny, who underlined his ongoing progress by producing what was arguably his best ever performance on the country. (Chris again). The A team was completed by Maciej Bialogonski who finished 15th despite his race warm up over the Seven Bridge at the parkrun earlier in the day. The B team was led home by Graham Breen (19th & 1st M40) who took the scalp of international James Thie, followed by a good run from Olly Sheppard (20th), Rob Farley (21st) who seems to be getting better every race, Pete Bains (39th) and  Lee Gawler (51st) with perhaps his best performance since joining the club. When you have a C team led home by someone of the calibre of Andy Drake (54th 11th M35) you know you have a good team. Henry Sly (68th & 8th M40) was next followed by the ever improving Sam Bentley 75th,  Darren Garmen (76th & 4th M45), who must has kept something in reserve for his exploits at the Cracker the following day and Joe Lyne (94th) another person ascending the league rankings. Under 23 Tom Blake (119th) making his league debut led the D team home, with Matt Burdon some 30 places higher than at Pembrey park (123rd), Neil Turney (125th) a recent addition to the sleep deprivation society but now getting enough to return to the fray, Jon Bennett (130th) a graduate from the said society, and debutante & another parkrun warm up victim, Simon Brice (131st) completed the team. The E team comprised Cameron Grayling (132nd), Steve Swan (148th), M45 Paul Jefferson (154 & 15th M45), Pete Gandon (158th), and M40 Tim White (180th) & F team M40 Peter Wang (188th),  Tom Moriaty (189th), Tariq Kurd with a breakthrough run (194th & 28th M45), Mark Taylor (195th & 29th M45), & Dan Titheradge returning after a long break (214th). After Nathan Lomax-Cooke (234th),  the next three members of the G team were all running their first cross-country race with M40 Ben Holding (295th) in the van, followed by Nicko Brooke (299th), Andrew Young (348th), & super coach Nick Crewe (362th & 36th M55) out of 481 finishers. Next Race the SW Championships enter online before 23rd December.

Full results are available here:

Gwent League #4 – Pontypool

10 Feb

Gwent League Cross-Country Pontypool 9.2.19

Chris Elson, stalwart Gwent League team manager, reports on the action.

The women star again on a somewhat undulating course! Charlotte T-G, despite taking a small off course detour, majestically led the field home, followed by Amy Partridge 3rd, Issy Talbot-Price 5th, Catie O’Donaghoe 6th & Ellen Harrison 9th. This result is their 2nd best in the League in the last 10 or more years. Super-vets Sarah Everitt & Clare Jolliffe were 15th & 17th , with Sorrell Walsh 28th, Emma Jolliffe 34th & Nicky Hodges (W45) 55th. Tracy Allen (W55) led the C team home in 70th, Jenny Anderson had a good run in 72nd while Haley Bennett was pleased with her best run in the league for a while in 80th , Fleur Cockley (W45) was 87th & Debbie Hunt (W40) was 95th. Anna Ford finished 106, & Ali Hurford (W55) 132.

Smiley ladies post race… #girlpower

The blokes too look likely to be first team. The race started with a bit of a downer with Owain having to pull out with a tendon popping (don’t panic Mike he was walking afterwards). However, Andy Watt had a stormer in 6th, Jed Barlett making his B&W AC debut was 9th, Maciej Bialogonski returning after illness was 13th, Joe Ballard produced another impressive run in 16th & M40 Graham Breen made up the A team in 29th. Alberto Beltran led the B team home in 30th followed by Dave Eagon 50th, M45 Darren Garmen 56th, M45 Andy Molloy 70th & Sam Bentley with his best league finish in 72nd. Brad Pontin led the C team home in 81st, Kieran Batty was 84th, Jon Bennett 89th, M40 steeplechaser Tim White 98th & Dan Titheradge 117th. For the D team M45 Mark Taylor was 118th, Sokol Duli 124th, M40 Paul Jefferson 126th, M45 Bill Hull 153 & Kryszstof Wanat, who warmed up at the Eastville Parkrun with a 23 min clocking, 240th.

Andy Watt led the men home

Gwent League #3 – Bryn Bach Park: u15 and u17 boys

12 Dec

11 boys, u15 and u17, headed off from Bristol on a grey ‪Sunday morning‬. Grateful for a fixture a little nearer to home they took on the challenge of Parc Bryn Bach (small hill in Welsh!) and the driving wind and rain.

Cole Edmonds showed his previous sore heel was not going to stop him as he battled his way to 9th position in a time of 16.31, ever reliable Joseph Hull followed in 20th position in 17.05, Joe Mead, gritted his teeth and showed his resilience in 25th position, his first Gwent League of the season, in 17.19, just seven seconds behind was Tom Beech, 26th position, 17.26 earning his place in the A team. Just one second shy of Tom, was Jay Akbar, who found the conditions particularly trying, in 27th place, 17.27. Amos Kingston, embracing the elements, just 10 seconds behind Jay, in 31st position, 17.37 and completing the u15 team, Will Chapman, showing great determination, in 49th position, 20.13. The u15 boys have retained their 6th position overall. 

The u17’s, again combined with the u20 age group, followed the Senior Ladies and a certain, Dave Bedwell, making his debut in this race. The course was pretty churned up at this stage and the weather seemed to take a turn for the worse. 4 boys took to the start line, determined to stay on their feet, they knew this would not be a fast course. First home Fred Hawker, 14th position in 24.09, Nathan Marchant followed in 30th position, 26.14, James Casling in 41st position, 27.33 and completing the team, in 43rd place, 28.07 having lost his spike in the mud on every lap, Otto Kingston. Courageous boys, if they can run in those conditions they can run in anything. The u17’s are currently in 8th place overall. Everyone enjoyed a well deserved piece of Nathans birthday cake back at the tent.  Our next race is the Midlands Champs on the 26th Jan.

Gwent League #3 – Bryn Bach Park: Seniors

09 Dec

Chris Elson reflects on last week’s performances:

The ladies (some of whom are pictured above) were stars again, with overall out of the 78 teams competing, the A team 1st, B team 3rd, C team 8th, D team 15th and E team 26th. In the reserve division the B,C,and D teams are 1st, 2nd & 3rd and the E team 7th out of the 38 teams in the division!

Results 6 Catie O’Donaghue, 7 Issy Talbot-Price, 9 Natalie Griffiths, 13 Hannah Pollak, 15 Ellen Harrison, 21 Ana Duran-Mingo (8th W35), 23 Sarah Everitt (1st W50), 26 Naomi Aylwin, 27 Katrina Entwistle, 37 Clare Jolliffe (3rd W50), 43 Emma Jolliffe, 51 Alice Doggrell, 62 Charlotte Bermingham, 69 Nicky Hodge (10th W45), 75 Tracy Allen (2nd W55), 87 Kate Druett (14th W45), 96 Lisa Newing, 97 Hayley Bennett, 98 Jenny Anderson, 117 Anna Ford, 126 Debbie Hunt (W40), 149 Andrea Goude (43rd W45), 185 Fliss Russell (5th W60), 225 Anne Dockery (1st W70). 300 women finished.

M65 Dave Bedwell 1st Tom Burgess 9th, 2nd team on the day and 4th overall.

With Owain Jones, Kurt Taylor, Jack Bancroft and Joe Ballard nursing injuries, Maciej Bialogonski working and others of our top men saving themselves for next week’s Telford 10k, it was always going to be tough for the team places. Nevertheless the club’s increasing strength in depth was evident. On the day out of 107 teams, the A team was 9th, B team 16th, C team 18th, D team 27th and E team 48th. Taking the 3 events so far the A team is 3rd, 56 points behind the leaders, Micky Morris Racing team, the B team is 1st in the B division and in the reserve division the C, D & E team are all 1st in their catagory.

Men 13 Andy Watt, 57 Otis Mondir, 59 Pete Baines, 75 Josh Habgoode-Coote, 77 Nick Hall, 87 Brad Pontin, 88 Darren Garmen (10th M45), 100 David Eagon, 103 Alberto Beltran, 104 Andy Drake, 111 Jon Bennett, 114 Cameron Grayley, 120 Ciaran McQuaide (M40) 124 Sam Bentley, 125 Keiran Batty, 135 Dan Titheradge, 144 Michael Chandler, 152 Tom Newman, 156 Mark Taylor (22nd M45), 173 Bill Hull (28th M45), 238 Andy Hunt, 269 Andy Dunn (M40) 258 Graham Grout (M60), 306 JackLongstaff.

A real X-Country Course. Very muddy with wind and rain, now voted 8 out of 10 on the Brecon scale! A great venue nevertheless, and lots of people should be very pleased with how they ran.

Gwent League #3 – Bryn Bach Park: Junior Girls

09 Dec

Bryn Bach 2018
Team managers Paul and Debbie report: 

On a sunny summer’s day this would have been a beautiful race to both watch and take part in, however, it was not.

U11 Girls

The weather conditions posed a tough race for our U11 girls team. Both girls setting off to a strong start into an even stronger wind. Holly Massey-Jones (13) ran a determined race and stormed her way around the boggy course. Zoe Hunt (56) also running a gutsy race, pushing hard for that final sprint finish.


U13 Girls

Fleur Hayden with a plan to run a more paced race did exactly that today and was a very impressive 6th. Katie Beech ran well in 41st  place, and we wonder what she’d do if she actually ate and drank something before running!? Ruby ‘have a go’ Claridge was our third runner coming in at 71st  All ran well in very challenging conditions battling the wind to the end. Unfortunately, no 4th runner today to make a team.


U15 Girls

I’d like to say the conditions had improved by the time of their race, it hadn’t. Not to be perturbed Megan Hornung ran a very impressive 3rd place looking strong throughout and continues to improve race by race. Next in was Danni Sinclair who’s not a great fan of the cold and rain but credit to her stuck at it and did well for a 7th place. 3rd in was Grace Claridge who does not love the cross country but never gives in and always treats us to a cracking sprint at the end to finish 27th   Again in some awful conditions all the girls put in fantastic determined efforts. Sadly no 4th runner to complete a team.

Gwent League #3 – Bryn Bach Park: u11 and u13 boys

09 Dec

Ali Hurford reports on the teams’ efforts at Bryn Bach, and looks forward to the County Champs today!

Ali’s Army Battle Through The Mud

This was never going to be an easy fixture at which to team manage 15 lads due to the toilets, tent and course being somewhat miles apart. However, thanks to several parents somehow all lads were eventually herded in the right direction and everyone made the start line.

The under 11 pair consisted of Oisin O’Halloran (30) in his second race & Rufus Hull(78). Full credit to both these lads who despite the cold hung around to cheer their older brothers on.

For the under 13 lads the motto of the day was ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’, and this was reflected in our best team score – just ten points off winning the fixture.
As is usual with such a large group you have to expect the unexpected and I was not disappointed. Firstly there was a stunning performance from Eoin O’Halloran(2) proving his recent 18.52 park run was no fluke.
He was well backed up by Jay Hunt(8) followed by a vastly improved performance from Tomek Czerepinski(12). Our final counter for the A team was Misha Evans(24) who struggled round with frozen feet. His spikes were well glued on! Both Jay and Misha are in the top 10 overall with just 2 races remaining.

For me the surprise result was new recruit Vijay Bakrania(25) competing for the first time in club colours. This was an encouraging race off very little training – plus he still has another year in the age group.
Rapidly improving Jacob Franklin(34) along with William Brown(38) and the ever consistent Ronnie Wilmott(45) completed the B team which is now in 7th position overall.

Alex Robertson(50) did well to stay on his feet as his spikes somehow failed to make the journey across the bridge. Ben Pocock(51) who has recently truly committed to training finished like a real trouper and not far behind Felix Pearson(56) who is gaining confidence and Joseph Mc Namara(65) (who is new to competition at this level) closed in the C team.
Sadly Fred Cummins found the conditions not to his liking and he wisely stopped before he further damaged his knees. So hopefully he will be back later in January for the Midland champs.

Overall it was a good day’s work. We have further consolidated the team silver position. It is now all about keeping everyone healthy and injury free which is quite a task with this young energetic age group.
The next challenge thankfully is only in Bath at the County Champs on Sun 9th Dec. We have a large contingent competing so will need a lot of cakes afterwards as is usual.

Gwent League #2 – Pembrey Park: u15 and u17 boys

18 Nov

Emma Withers reports…

running like Jack

14 boys headed down to Pembrey with their parents on Saturday.  The weather certainly tested our driving skills, but luckily seemed to hold off for each race.  With remembrance Sunday the following day, we had our own moment of reflection as we gathered to remember Jack Bannister.  Jack was a promising cross country runner and competed for Bristol and West u13 and u15 boys.  Jack sadly died in a road traffic accident in May this year. It would have been Jack’s 16th birthday on Saturday and we ‘ran like Jack’ to remember him.  

Our u15 boys headed out at 12.40.  Leading the pack was Rufus Thomas (6) in 12.09 earning a new Gwent League t-shirt, followed by the ever-reliable Jay Akbar (25) in 13.21. Not far behind Joseph Hull (34) 13.46 with support from Dad, Bill. Daniel Beech returning to running after a break (37) 13.56 sprinted to the finish and was not letting sibling, Tom Beech, 38th 13.59 beat him across the line!  Tightly packed Jacob Roe (41) 14.11 and Amos Kingston (43) 14.14 had only three seconds separating them.  Will Chapman (61) 15.54 showing increased confidence the more he races, completed our u15 team.

The u17 boy’s race was combined with the u20 men and proved difficult to pace due to this.  Fred Hawker led the team home in 14th place, 16.44 followed by Luke Iles 27th, 17.28.  Nathan Marchant seemed to find his running mojo again, 35th, 18.06 and completing the A team, Otto Kingston 45th, 19.06. James Casling and Robert Kiekuth battled it out in the home straight (we all noted the slight ‘kink’ in the course at the end) for positions 50 and 51, 19.46 and 19.51 respectively.

Due to a computer glitch at Gwent League HQ, no team positions are available yet.

Next fixture is at Bryn Bach Park, Sunday 2nd December and we are looking forward to exploring a new course.

Gwent League #2 – Pembrey Park: u11 and u13 boys

18 Nov

Ali Hurford reports…

Ali’s army turn out in large numbers despite another long journey.

Nothing seems to stop this ambitious group of lads from travelling to races especially when there is cake & medals at stake. The new tent was only just big enough to accommodate all the athletes & parents from the occasional deluge but thankfully on the whole the weather behaved itself.
The team of u11 lads consisted of Alex Auton- Green (17)  Oisin O’ Halloran (32)  Rufus Hull (69)  Barnaby Thomas (88). Run of the day was Oisin in his first xc fixture for the club & next year at the top of the age group will be a force to contend with.
The U13 Lads all gave the race their best shot & as a result we appear to have consolidated our silver position in this very competitive age group plus the Welsh teams were at home.
All 13 lads who started, finished the race in fine style as follows.
Jay Hunt (7)  Misha Evans (10)  Ishmael Bradley (20)  Fred Cummins (23)  Josh lewis (28)   Tomek Czerepinski (34)  Jacob Frankin (45)  Ronnie Wilmott (47)  Zachary Roe (62)  Alex Robertson (74)  Ben Pocock (75) Felix Pearson (77) Joseph Mc Namara (84)
Once the racing was finished the fun started & by this time the tent resembled a rather grand patisserie. So thank to all the parents for tables, chairs & cake. All we need now is a loo tent!
Looking forward to the next fixture on Sat 2nd Dec & no doubt lots of Christmas fayre.

Gwent League #2 – Pembrey Park: u13, u15 and u17 girls

12 Nov

Paul Owen reports:

Pembrey (‘Pembray’ as I am reliably informed by my welsh friend) 2018


After a 2 hour rain fest drive to beautiful Pembrey the girls lined up and true to form the skies opened again and the winds blew. This didn’t put the girls off however as they all ran hard with some promising performances. Fleur Hayden 26 still relatively new to the club and training was first in, this was her first official race and should be pleased with this. Katie Beech 44 Worked hard and has plenty more to come in time. Olivia Tar 73 ran a steady race throughout and worked hard to the finish. Ruby Claridge 76 admitted she didn’t enjoy it (not sure who did?) however can’t fault her effort and kept going. Niamh Roe 79 also ran a steady yet determined race.


It remained windy but at least it wasn’t raining for this race. Megan Hornung 7 ran a very progressive and consistent race with a strong finish that enabled her to sneak ahead of Danni Sinclair 8 in the latter part of the race. Danni also ran a good strong race giving us two top ten places. Amy Nichols 26 just fell away from the lead pack today at the start but then managed to maintain form to finish a creditable 26th and will only get stronger. Grace Claridge 36 was strong and steady throughout ensuring the team will have scored well today. Carmen Chance 44 also was a strong and steady runner and well inside the top 50.


Claudia Spice 8 (U17 tbc) was running very strongly until around half way then found the extra distance a little too much to maintain that pace. However, she stuck at it well and will be one of the top U17 girls. It takes a little time to step up competing at around 3.6km to just over 5km.

All the girls have different abilities, yet all did their best. Often it is about individual goals and not judging yourselves against others. For example, if you finish in the 70’s what would be your goal for the next race? Top 50/60? If you finish in the top ten what would it take to break in to the top 5, can you do this next race or by the end of the season? Setting your own realistic goals both for next race and the season will help you enjoy the races more and take off or reduce unnecessary pressure.

The course! It was a little rainier for the junior girls…

Gwent League #2 – Pembrey Park: Senior Men

12 Nov

Chris Elson reports:

A sample of our cheery chaps!

With a posse (Jack Millar 11th, Will Christofi 17th & Owain Jones 18th) starring at the British Cross-Country Challenge and many of those performing heroics at last weekend’s National X-Country Relays or in various marathon races round the country engaged elsewhere, it looked as if it might be tough for those men competing at the Gwent League X-Country. The results however dispelled anxiety and were most gratifying with the A, B, C, D & E teams all holding on to their overall top spots!

Andy Watt, showed that  he is rapidly getting back to where he was, headed the men home in 12th place. Miles Chandler (21st) arguably produced his best run in the league, while Joe Ballard was Saturday’s revelation finishing over 50 places higher than at Cardiff  in 25th.  Alberto Beltran made his debut for the club in 37th position, and Josh Habgood-Coote (65th) completed the A team, which was 2nd team on the day just 32 points behind Micky Morris Racing team, but with a healthy 73 point lead overall. Pete Bains making a welcome return to the League led the B team home in 86th place while Darren Garmen 90th (8th M45) and Brad Pontin 98th were close behind.  Matt Burden (106th) notably improving 47 places over his Cardiff run and Kieran Batty, improving nicely, completed the B team in 112th. Leion Grogan (115th) was first for the C team followed by Neil Turney (119th), Andy Dunn (138th), Dan Titheradge (141) and Mark Taylor (142 & 18th M45), an ever reliable posse packing in together.

Jon Bennett (148) led the D team home with Tom Newman back from injury in 167th, Michael Chandler (170th) and our two star M60’s Jon Goodland & Dave Bedwell finishing 2 seconds apart (tooth & nail?) in 175th (5th M60) & 176th place completed the team. Dave Bedwell (6th M60) deserves a special mention as this was his last 10K race in the Gwent League as he ascends to the M65 ranks in time for the third race in the series (watch out M65’s). Doug Webb, making his debut for the club led the E team home in 185th place, with Bill Hull still battling Achilles tendonitis 192nd and Jack Longstaff, perhaps not running as well as he would like in 212th, providing the E team back up. 405 men finished.