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: 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, Cardiff: 13th Oct – u13 and u11 boys’ reports

18 Oct
Gwent League, Cardiff, 13th Oct.

Under 13 boys fly in windy Wales.
Despite an ‘amber’ weather warning for South Wales nothing was going to deter 14 young lads turning out for the club at the first of the cross country fixtures.
Even James Thie the commentator remarked on the large Bristol squad as they made their way to the start line & I had a good vibe about the race. I also know someone would surprise me.
Being part of the cross challenge, the field was loaded with some of the fastest  u13 lads in the country. Not only are they quick but also twice the size of my gang so clearly more cake is needed.
After a very competitive start it did not take long for the leading contenders to romp round & I waited to see which one of my 6 fastest boys would show first in the finishing straight. So the first surprise of the day was Misha Evans (9th) having the run of his life & clearly making up for his absence at the road relays due to an injury. The ever consistent Eoin O Halloram (15) was not far behind proving his great race at the road relays was no fluke.
Right behind was Jay Hunt(16) who has been in great form recently & has summered well. Completing the A team Ishmael Bradley(17) had a much more positive run then in recent road races & I feel clearly prefers the rougher terrain.
Finishing very strongly & providing fantastic back up was Fred Cummins(21) & hopefully this will give him greater confidence for future races. Tomek Czerepinski (25) never gave up knowing how important every place is & although he was not quite in the same form as his recent races, his time will come & hopefully he will be fighting fit for the relays in Mansfield.
The next surprise shortly arrived as both Jacob Franklin (43) & Ronnie Wilmott (46) put their training into practice with much improved performances. Ronnie needs to consider steeplechase in the future as the photo suggests. William Brown (50) was taking part in his first ever race in club colours & did not let his arm in plaster prevent him from giving it a real go.
Alex Robertson (62) is a prime example of what club running is all about. Although not the quickest he takes part in all the major fixtures & clearly loves just being involved.
Another regular member of the squad Zac Roe(66) continues to do his best along with his younger sister & older brother, full marks must go to the Roe family getting all 3 children kitted out with spikes, etc.
Archie Green (69) taking part in his first cross country race for the club ran very sensibly & had great pace at the end. As he is young in the age group, this year is all about experience & he has impressed me with his positive attitude in training.
Close behind was Felix Pearson (73) who has to be commended for turning out for the team in the National Road Relays at late notice. Athletes like this are invaluable to team managers & always deserve a large slice of cake.
Racing for the first time in the league was Joseph McNamara (76) who very new to competing at this level did himself proud & I know there is plenty more in the tank here. He just needs to keep giving it a go.
This was the best start I could hope for in this very competitive league. As a result of such a solid performance the A team are in the silver position. Personally I feel it is going to be an exciting season & these lads have everything to run for.
Under 11 boys.
As usual this was a very large field & it is always quite a sight to behold as these youngsters show no fear when the gun goes.
The club had just the two boys in this race but both acquitted themselves well & next time there should be more back up from several of the other u11s who were unavailable on the day.
Alex Auton-Green (13) running his first cross country race for the club went off with real intent & his competitive nature will serve him well as he is well capable of a top 10 place very soon.
Young Rufus Hull (67) has started training recently with the group & if he shows the commitment long term like his older brother Joseph he will also has a very bright future in athletics .
So we are all very much looking forward to the sand dunes in Pembrey on Sat 10th November. As is typical of the group some families are already planning on making a weekend of it & perhaps a party as well.
Ali Hurford.