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…