The 207-18 Gwent League got off to an excellent start at Llandaff Fields in Cardiff last Saturday, with some great runs from Westbury Harriers across all age groups. The race was combined with round 1 of the UK Cross Challenge, resulting in several elite athletes taking part. Some of the U15 girls even got women's race winner and international star Jess Judd to autograph their race numbers! There was also a running commentary over the PA system, and a very large turnout on a mild day, generating a great atmosphere.
The women's team fielded a hugely impressive 26 runners. From team manager Tamsin:
"A wonderful start to the cross country season for the Westbury ladies. On a mild day, the course was flat and fast. The event included the Cardiff Cross challenge so had a very quality field. With a record number of ladies taking part well over 300.
Floren led the ladies home in a fabulous 5th place. wonderful to see Catherine back after having her first child. Jeni had her best Gwent run to date and in such a large field made her result even more impressive. A warm welcome to Steph who ran as a senior for the first time in a fabulous 55th place and to Becca and Nicola who also joined us for the first time. Everyone ran really strongly great team effort ladies. well done. Linda Phillips also took part but is currently missing from the results, to be resolved!
Floren Villanueva Scrafton 5th, Catherine Treble 14th, Katie Hughes 30th, Kirstie Hamilton-James 47th, Jennifer Stevenson 52nd, Stephanie Cummins 55th, Trish Robson 65th, Jayne Pemble 73rd, Emma Woodworth 82nd, Tamsin Elson Chick 85th, Becca Huckett 100th, Alison Osborne 126th, Clare Eskell 139th, Sarah Thorne 143rd, Emma Bradbrook 152nd, Anneke Bull 166th, Shirley Hume 167th, Helen Sawyer 175th, Sandra Sforza 180th, Marilyn Palmer 219th, Carol Fee 237th, Sarah Gould 244th, Eithne Noonan 249th, Nicola Derrick 283rd, Victoria Sloan 295th"
Special further individual mentions for:
- Shirley Hume, who was 1st VF65 home
- Trish Robson, who ran superbly and finished 2nd VF55 despite having the same time as the winner!
At the team level, the Westbury Women 'A' are in a fantastic 4th place (out of 81 teams) after the first round, with the 'B' team not far behind in 11th.
The V35 team are in 1st place by 30 points after the great runs of Catherine, Katie, Kirsty, Jeni and Trish. The V55s and V65s also lead the way, with the V45s in 4th.
On the men's side, the turnout was a little lower, but there were still some great runs over 3 laps of the course (just under 9K), in a very strong and congested field of 444 runners.
First Westbury man in was Oli Beale (36th, 31:15), closely followed by Alex Hamblin (45th, 31:33). Robin Phillips (91st, 33:38), Richard Noble (149th, 35:19) and Ewan Paton (152nd, 35:34) were the next three scorers, leaving the men's senior team in a very creditable 13th place out of 113 teams after the first round.
Other runners and times:
Ken Ham (185th; 36:40); Ian Ruck (203rd, 37:00); Andrew Yuill (256th; 38:32); Matt Lavis (324th; 40:52); Geraint Torrington (338th; 41:40); Julian Bailey Gard senior (368th; 42:55); Mike Harris (380th; 43:39) and a last-minute appearance from Richard Hughes (407th; 45:59)
On the junior side, special individual mentions for:
- Dalis Jones, who continued where she left off last season and was 1st U15 girl (finishing 5th overall in the UK Cross Challenge).
- Seamus Robinson, who was 1st U13 boy by a margin of some 19 seconds
- Abdi Hasan, who was narrowly pipped by 4s but finished 2nd U17 boy.
The junior teams showed Westbury Harriers' considerable strength in depth. The U17 boys' 'A' team lead the way, with Abdi ably supported by Aidan Noble, Greg Hayward and Ben Rawlins, respectively 11th, 12th and 14th out of a field of 60. Well run also to Hugh Tarren and Adam Kilgour for the 'B's.
The U15 boys lie in 4th place after strong runs from James Harrod (10th out of 90), Johan Hobbs (20th), Josh Morland (27th), Alexander Wilson (41st), Alex Hayward (61st) and Ceredig Jones (63rd).
The U13 boys are in 9th place: in addition to Seamus's victory, well done also to George Peacock (24th), Soloman Scott (53rd) and Finn Goodhew (69th).
Boy novices (U11) were slightly thinner on the ground than the girls, but very well done to the two who did turn up and run so well: Finley White (37th out of 118) and Alex Auton-Green (48th).
The girls' team had a good turnout in most age categories, and there were again some great runs.
Special mention must go to the ten (!) girl U11 novices who took part, some for the first time. There was a Westbury Harriers "2-3" in a field of 124, with Laura Chance (2nd) and Elen Ruck (3rd) running superbly for 'podium finishes' and large points scores. Not too far behind them were Jessica Hollingbey (17th), Zoe Bradbrook (26th), Steph Hamilton-James (31st), Felicity Lowe (33rd), Isabelle Hugill (74th), Sophie White (79th), Amelie Maycock (93rd) and Isabelle Lee (95th). Great and enthusiastic running by all - the future looks strong. The novices 'A' team lie narrowly in 2nd place after this round.
The U13 girls also had a good turnout of 7 in a field of 80. Very well done to Clemmie Lee (14th), Abigail Woodworth (36th), Erin Pemble (37th, same time as Abi!), Meghan Porteous (48th), Hannah Rowe (58th), Rosa Hugill (69th) and Jessica Lee (70th). The 'A' team lie in 5th place overall.
The U15 girls' team had a small but highly placed group of 4 runners in the field of 88, whose collective performances were enough to put them in 1st place overall. In addition to Dalis's 1st place, there were very strong runs from Rosie Hamilton-James (10th), Rhiannon Paton (16th) and Lottie Livesey (27th).
Finally, well done to Ellie Hobbs, the sole U17 girl, who ran well for 11th place out of 53.
Thanks to all coaches, members, parents and families who contributed to such an enjoyable and successful day, and especially to Neil for wrestling with the results in addition to his club duties!
See you all (or at least several of you) at Brecon on 11th November!