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Gwent League Match 1: Cardiff Cross Challenge

A week on from the Cardiff Cross Challenge, catch-up on the results from the return of Cross Country!

Under 11, 13 and 15 Girls

It was great to be back at Llandaff Fields for the first Gwent League of the season! The going was good under foot, and the conditions perfect for racing. We were absolutely delighted for the girls, who performed brilliantly both individually and as a team.

The under 11 girls started the whole event with a bang. Sylvie Ritter-Sherratt was first home for the club moving through the field for 10th place, a great run. Cora Lambourne was second girl home (21st), a brilliant XC debut, running in the lower age group. Isla Brown was close behind in 23rd place building on a strong showing in the Quad Kids events this season, with Poppy Dixon, running in her first ever event for Bristol & West, coming home in 39th. The girls were great together throughout the morning walking the course, warming up and congratulating each other. They were rewarded with a 3rd place finish in the team competition, a great basis for the season and the future!

After watching the under 11 boys, the under 13 girls hit the course (all 9 of them, which is a superb accolade for the club). Gabi Ritter-Sherratt was first home in 15th once again demonstrating her incredible strength over this terrain and distance. Holly Massey-Jones powered in behind Gabi for 18th, following on from her strong middle distance showing on the track. Millie Pope had a simply stunning XC debut finishing in 22nd, running a year up, and having only joined the club at the start of the track season. She was chased down by Mairi Carver-Brown who had a strong last 200m to finish in 23rd, also running a year up. These girls formed the A team who finished the day in 3rd place, just 10 points behind the winners on the day, Swansea AC.

Phoebe Sanigar finished in 28th, building on her strong runs in the recent Midland and National Road Relays, with Amira Chowdhury-Barratt also building on her National Road Relay success, finishing in 37th. After demonstrating her track speed in the Avon league winning team, Imogen Sparrow finished her XC debut in 51st. Megan Purdie also added to her progress on the track, completing the B team in 57th, and contributing to a great team finish of 9th on the day. Anisa Lawson completed the group in 78th, with a really well measured run.

Our under 15 girls finished in 16th (of 29) overall despite only having two athletes in the race. Holly Sanigar finished in an impressive 7th place, just 36 seconds off the podium, with Mia Buscemi running well to finish in 68th in 16:01.

It's a long way to go with many cold and wet trips to the middle of Wales, but Paul and I are delighted with the start we have made in the team competition. Is it too early to start talking about podium finishes? We think not.

Simon Jones, Team Manager

Under 11, 13 and 15 Boys

The first of the Gwent League XC races was a chance for the U11 boys to shine. In his first race for the club Fletcher Rogers did not let me down, stuck to the race plan like an old timer and really deserved his silver position on the podium. Behind him Parish, Lucas and Douglas (who are all new to racing at this level) packed well and the team finished in 6th position.

The U13 boys really attacked the race and were led in by Tom (7th), Oisin (13th), Sean (17th), Max (20th). This great team score is presently top of the Gwent League by 9 points. We also had massive back-up from Elijah (22nd).

Despite not quite being at full strength the U15 lads finished a very respectable 6th overall. The scoring team of Ronnie (21st), Vijay (27th), Joseph (52nd), Alex (55th) plus several other members of the group will be out in force at the next Gwent league fixture in November.

Ali Hurford, Team Manager

Senior Women

It was a very different Women’s team that lined up for the first Gwent League of the 2021-2022 season, with only two of our first twelve women who competed in the last fixture at Chepstow Racecourse in February 2020 competing on Saturday.

However, the newcomers did rather well! Chelsea Creak and Frances Arnott made highly successful debuts for the club, with Jessie Mackie making an equally successful return to the club. Hannah Dyer was arguably the revelation of the day with what must be her best cross performance. Kat Entwistle, suffering from a nasty chest infection, completed the A team which did well to hold the international stars of Cardiff AAC to just 41 points.

The team’s stalwarts of masters composed most of the B team led by 1st W55 Clare Jolliffe, Sarah Everitt and Liz Sanigar, with backing from Verity Potts making her club debut and Elaina Gard, who is rumoured to have an ironman in her mind and warmed down in Clevedon Lake.

For the C team, Anna Ford seems to be improving with every race, with Alice Watson - returning from injury - leading the team home. They were supported by Hayley Bennett and masters Kate Hoffen and Antonia Gooder, both of whom were to the fore in their age group categories. To all those women who were worried that they would be at the back of the field please note that there were 315 finishers, meaning our ladies all finished in the top third of the field.

Chris Elson, Team Manager

Senior Men

Not to be outdone by the ladies, the sun shone on the men too. English International Jack Millar led the first team home in third place, but wished for more mud - a view not shared by many others.

Felix McGrath, not fully recovered from his Fell Running exploits, was 6th with a resurgent Ben Westhenry 8th and Adam Stokes finishing strongly in 10th place, despite running the London Marathon a fortnight earlier.

There followed an anxious wait for the 5th counter, but no worry, Pete Baines ran out of his socks for 25th place giving the team a useful 22-point margin over Cardiff AAC. Felix Rusby led the B team home, followed by Callum Duck making his debut for the club and Andy Salmon returning to the fold. Lee Gawler, who has improved by leaps and bounds over the summer, and another club newcomer Chris Neilson made up the rest of the B team, who won the reserve division by the astonishing margin of 323 points.

Our strength in depth is illustrated by the C team which again headed the Reserve Division this time by almost 200 points. Matt Brydon, in his first race since his marathon led the team home, with evergreen Phil Parry 2nd M55 next. That left Sam Bentley and Jon Bennett to make up the team, with M45 Tariq Kurd sandwiched between them. Sam Appleton and Nicko Brooke scored for the D team and kept us in the hunt for later in the season.

The M65 team came 5th out of 18 teams with Dave Bedwell taking the honours. We all knew that Dave was running well but were still impressed that he won the race in 24:58 by 73 seconds! Team Captain Tom Burgess finished 18th in 30:16, closely pursued by Mike Nutt in 19th with a time of 30:25.

Chris Elson

Overall Club Results

  • Boys Under 11: 5th

  • Boys Under 13: 1st and 14th (B)

  • Boys Under 15: 6th and 23rd (B)

  • Men Under 17: 6th and 22nd (B)

  • Men Under 20: 15th

  • Men Under 23: 16th

  • Senior Men: 1st, 7th (B), 21st (C) and 81st (D)

  • Male Masters 35: 24th

  • Male Masters 45: 23rd

  • Male Masters 55: 19th

  • Male Masters 65: 5th and =14th (B)

  • Girls Under 11: 3rd

  • Girls Under 13: 3rd, 9th (B) and 28th (C)

  • Girls Under 15: 16th

  • Women Under 23: 5th

  • Senior Women: 2nd, 4th (B) and 16th (C)

  • Female Masters 35: 2nd and 47th (B)

  • Female Masters 45: 2nd

  • Female Masters 55: 4th

Except for Senior Women team photo and junior photos, photos by Les Stills - Les Stills’s albums | Flickr

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