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A weekend of cross country racing for all ages

December 20th 2021, 4:00:00 pm

The senior men and women's teams were in action on Saturday and are young athletes were running in their thrid league fixture on Sunday.


A busy weekend for cross country saw our senior men competing in Abingdon Park in Northampton and our senior women at Clopton Park, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Both venues were subject to a howling gale from the latest storm but the teams did well despite the senior missing some key members of the team.

Senior Men

First home was Ed Banks with a strong run to finish in 11th position. He was followed by Jonathan Bradford (21), Jason Bennett (33), Dan Swain, back from injury and COVID, (51), Dominic Smith (83) and the final team counter was team manager Andy Peat (84). The final member of the team was Richard Bravington in 107th place. This puts the A team in 4th place overall.

Senior Women

Dr.Naomi Collier led our team up the starting hillclosely followed by Ejiro Okoro and Ella Shirley making her season’s debut. Close behind was Junior Vicky Bradbury and the rest of the team followed on. By the second lap the normal procession had ensued though Ella had managed to get past Ejiro who was clearly not particularly enjoying the hilly terrain though she kept ominously close to Ella. Fast forward to the finish and Naomi held position in 12th and despite her best efforts Ella was unable to outsprint Ejiro but they finished 13th and 14th. respectively. Quietly going about her business Junior Vicky closed the scoring in a fine 23rd place. The team was third on the daty behind two very strong University teams.

Rae Nicholls also showed good form for 37th place. Stalwarts Frances Vickers and Lizzie Watter were 37th and 38th. Dane Jansen Van Rensberg was next home with Ever reliable Sarah Conway was 65th, Olivia Worth (72), Salihah Baig (111) and finally Nicola Ross (123).

Overall the team are lying in third place.

Young Athletes

A much less hilly course at Wolverhampton was much appreciated by most of our young athletes although, there are a number that profess to love running up steep hills.

The U17 men were 5th on the day with Tyler Hawley (9), Jan Malecki (19) and Leo Merritt (23) as the team counters. With some athletes missing for a variety of reasons there were only four runners as Luca Bradley was close behind the last team counter in 24th.

Sofia Zacaroli led the U17 womens team with another 9th place finish. Oliva Scott was nex in 15th and Hana Meagher was 19th. The team was 4th on the day and stands in 4th position in the overall standings.

Our U15 boys continued their quest for the title. Ash Burgess again dominated the field winning by almost 30 seconds from the second placed athlete. Jesse Bradley had a great run to finish in 7th, his best position of the season. Charlie Smith back from illness was 18th, Jai Sohna (34) and Simeon Swain (39) were the final scorers for the team. Thomas Adams was also running after an injury and he finished in 47th. The team was 2nd on the day but is still in first place overall with a significant margin over the team in second.

An understrength U15 girls team meant we only had three runners. Emily Symes battled with stitch for most of the second half of the race but still managed a very creditible 16th. After a disaster in the last race as a result of a fall Cassie Pearson more than made up for it with a very good 28th places. Every reliable Jenny O'Rourke, who always gives her best was 37th.

A full U13 boys team finished in third position on the day. Led by new boy Anton Bolding , who is proving to be a great asset to the team, in 6th position the other team members also ran very well. Corin Bradley was 18th, Sebastian Grant 20th, Patrick Shiner 29th and finally Fin;ey Woodhall in 54th. It is great to see the improvement in the team as the season goes on.

Despite our attempts to recruit new girls we are still struggling in the U13 age group. Phoebe Rae-Sharma was the first girl home in 46th with Tess Burgess not far behind in 55th.

Some late withdrawals impacted on the final position of the U11 boys team. Rocco Hawley was the first Birchfield runner home in 9th followed by Aedan Matsuma (27th) and Nathan Cooper (58th).

The U11 girls are improvng every race. Trinity Conway was hot on the heels of the winner and finished only a few seconds behind in second place. Finlee Brady had her best race to date and was rewarde with a top ten finish as she came home in 8th place. Ellen Curley and Zara Bayliss-Buckley had their own mini race with Ellen in 23rd and Zara in 24th. The team were 3rd on the day and are all looking forward to the next race.