• Ben

Gwent League 2: Brecon

The club had another successful weekend at the second Gwent Cross Country League match of the year, with a big turn out and a plethora of strong team and individual performances.


Individual Top 3 Finishes

  • First Place: Megan Hornung (U17 Women) and Claire Jolliffe (Female Masters 55)

  • Third Place: Hannah Dyer (U23 Women), Chelsea Creek (Senior Women) and Sarah Everitt (Female Masters 45)

Team Top 3 Finishes

  • First Place: Senior Women A

  • Second Place: U13 Boys, Senior Men and Female Masters 35

  • Third Place: U13 Girls, U23 Women, Senior Women B, Male Masters 35

Chris Elson has sent in his write-up of the Senior performances, with Simon Jones reporting on our girls performances. Our thanks to Chris, Simon and all the Team Managers for their ongoing efforts to organise, enter and manage our teams.


Girls

The Under 11s kicked us off, with Cora Lambourne first home in 15th, improving on her 21st place in the first round and running in the lower age group. Silvi Ritter-Sherratt came home in 25th, a great result considering she was carrying an injury. Loretta Chowdhury-Barratt (33rd), Alana Cooper (34th) and Mya Cronin (54th) all made their league debuts in excellent fashion, with Poppy Dixon capping a great team performance coming home in 55th. The 'A' team lie in 5th place after 2 matches, only 19 match points off 2nd place and 11 off 3rd, setting up a really exciting season and chase for a podium finish!


The Under 13s showed some outstanding strength in depth, and some brilliant individual performances. Gabriela Ritter-Sherratt continued her excellent cross country season, finishing in 16th. Holly Massey-Jones looks to be near full fitness following her bout of COVID, running solidly into 22nd. We enjoyed a brilliant sprint for the finish between good friends Mairi Carver-Brown (26th) and Millie Pope (28th), completing the 'A' team. Phoebe Sanigar worked her way brilliantly around the course and through the field for 31st, with Amira Chowdhury-Barratt running resiliently for 38th. Anisa Lawson finished in 46th, an incredible 32 places higher than she did in Cardiff for one of the performances of the day. Imogen Sparrow came home in 54th, continuing her development in cross country with Megan Purdie finishing in 62nd.


The team competition for the under 13s is looking exciting. The 'A' team are in 3rd place, 49 points ahead of the team in 4th; let's not carried away just yet. The B team are currently the highest placed 'B' team in 10th place, perhaps the most pleasing of all. The 'C' team currently lie in 30th, again really impressive for our strength in depth.


The Under 15s did superbly well too, with the team finishing 6th on the day, moving up to 9th in the competition (from 16th after match 1). Holly Sanigar emulated her 7th place finish from Cardiff with another brilliant run. Zahra Fitzpatrick (26th) and Amelie Swaffer (27th) finished seconds apart after making their debuts, with Mia Buscemi running in for 54th gaining valuable points for the team.


Megan Hornung demonstrated her strength once again, comfortably winning the Under 17 girls' race. Molly Thomas completed the Under 17 team with a really strong 10th place finish. The team currently lie in 8th place.


A fantastic event all round, and we are looking forward to the next opportunity in Llanelli!


Women

An idyllic day for the time of the year greeted the runners at Brecon. The sun shone out of a clear blue sky with Pen Y Fan dominating the skyline, and the local oaks still sporting leaves of yellowish brown. Those who brought along their polar kit rapidly shed it.


Hopes were high that the women would regain their league top spot and so it transpired. What to say about our two top finishers Chelsea Creak and Frances Arnott? Some idea can be gained by comparing the times of those women who ran at both Brecon and Llandaff Fields, with Chelsea and Frances running some 40 secs quicker. Can I persuade them that they are rather good at cross country running and improving fast?!


Amy Partridge, who always seems to pull something extra out of the bag on the country was close behind, while Hannah Dyer showed that her run at Llandaff fields was not a flash in the pan with 13th place and third U23. Liz Sanigar completed the A team in 23rd place and demonstrated once again that she’s better at cross country than she thinks. Noticeably this time she didn’t tell me she doesn’t like cross country. A step forward there!


Sarah Everitt led the masters and B team home, followed closely by another making rapid forward progress, Verity Potts. Next was Clare Jolliffe who had an emotional run, but one which her Mum would have been justifiably proud of. The B team was completed by Lucy Tothill and Jess Mackie, with Lucy making her club debut in style and Jess hobbled by her too tight new spikes.


Anna Ford, another who is rapidly improving led the C team home in 38th place with Ellie Armstrong, making her Gwent League debut in 54th place despite battling through exercise induced asthma. That left Hayley Bennett in 89th position, 20 places higher than Llandaff Fields, Julie Ilogu (131st) and Emma Jane Orchard (169th) to complete the team. Julie and Emma were both worried about being at the rear of the field but ran superbly with over a third of the field finishing behind them, a great example to other athletes in the club that the Gwent League is a great place to give cross country a go.


Men

Owain Jones led the A team home in style finishing 6th, despite restricted training due to a long-standing Achilles problem, followed by Adam Stokes. Both Owain and Adam set off conservatively and moved steadily through the field.


Rapidly improving club newcomer Calum Duck was next, closely followed by Pete Baines who is enjoying a new lease of life! This left Aled Anderson to complete the A team. It is many years since Aled ran in the Gwent League and, given that he is still recovering from his recent marathon race, this was a performance to be proud of.


Chris Ellis, another relative newcomer, improved on his performance at Llandaff Fields to finish 46th and lead the B team home. He was followed by Matt Brydon, reaping the benefit of some speed work on the solid aerobic base provided by his marathon and the training for it. Anthony Lewis made a very creditable debut for the club, and it’s clear that there is a lot more to come there. Henry Sly had another solid run and it was good to see Sam Johnson back in club colours after a brief sojourn in the North.


Sam Bentley led the C team home, followed by Tariq Kurd - who reckoned the course was somewhat longer than advertised, Tom Woodley making his club debut, and Jon Bennett.


Andy Dunn returning to the fold led the D team home with Ryan Liquorish next. Ryan ran conservatively after his marathon, and I predict that he will be another asset to the club teams in the future. That left our masters squad of Tim White, Chris Palmer and Graham Crump to complete the team. Chris, having had the stress of managing various teams of our young ladies, did very well to get round. Graham Crump, a former Gwent League team manager also deserves special mention as this was his first race since a skirmish with the cardiac surgeons.





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