There were 49 Harriers out competing at the latest of the Gwent League cross-country matches this past Saturday, December 1st, at Blaise Castle in Bristol. Conditions were cool and not too muddy by comparison to some courses of late. There was excellent running by all that toed the start line, and outstanding performances by many, including Sam Sommerville’s and Isobel Glaisher’s outright wins in the u15 boys and u17 women’s races respectively.
Nathan Young also returned to some good form with his excellent 3rd place in the big senior men’s race. Plus there was Matthew Dickinson’s and Oliver Fox’s 2nd & 3rd place finishes in the u17 men’s race; Luke Prior’s 3rd in the u15 boys race and other top ten finishes by Oliver Dickinson (3rd, u15s); Lilly Hawkins (6th, u17w); Rebecca Carver (7th, u17w). As you’d expect with individual performances such as these, along with great backing from the various age group squads, the team positions will be much boosted.
In the Minor races, for those u11, we saw another good run by Luke MacPherson to finish 14th, whilst Innes Davidson literally ran from the back of the assembled field to move well up for 16th place in his first effort at Gwent League; and Willliam Carr, running a year young, also finished well up for 50th in the race.
In the u13 girls race Jessica Cooksey continues to show that with effort and determination she can achieve good finishing positions despite being at the younger end of the age group. This was her debut at XC following on good running at the Aldershot relays back in September. Finishing 32nd here was a great return for her effort. Can we encourage some of the other u13 girls to come and support Jessica in the next races?
Meanwhile the u13 boys squad is well populated with a mix of Year 7 and Year 8 boys and they are showing that they can compete with the best. Leading the 7-strong team home here was Alex Williams for 14th, with Bradley Seager on his shoulder for 15th in the final sprint finish. Chris Ellis improved on his last League performance with a good 23rd, then Joe Heath, 27th and Luke Baker close by in 28th. Dylan Dukes 47th and Will Pate 59th followed by James Forrester in 72nd in the large assembled field. This was a great effort by all 7 but a special welcome to James who competed for the first time for the Club over the country.
In the u15 girls race, our numbers were down a bit due to injury and a withdrawal on the day but well done to the three that finished. Charlotte Baker was 11th, Jess Morris 23rd and Darcie Cook 32nd which will no doubt bolster the team standings when they are finalised in day or twos time. We’ll no doubt see Amy D’Arcy back racing with us again next week.
For the u15 boys we had 6 enthusiastic and tough runners out competing. Sam Sommerville led from start to finish with his long loping stride and steady rhythm eating up the ground. Luke Prior stuck to task and again showed the excellent improvement of this year where he hasn’t been outside of the top three for any of the 3 fixtures to date, again nailing 3rd place here. Oliver Dickinson was next in – a very good improvement on his last time out – with his 7th position, and then followed in by James Williams to close the ‘A’ team and surely ensure that the Harrier u15 boys continue to lead overall in teh League. There was also brilliant back up from Johnny Ellis, 20th, and Jonathan Greenwood. 30th, for the insurance policy of getting as many out competing at a high standard was attained.
In the u17 women’s race, Isobel Glaisher competed for the first time this season in the Gwent League squad and revealed that she is carrying on where she left off last season. Here she ran from the front to sweep to victory by a large margin. Lilly Hawkins, 6th, and Rebecca Carver, 7th, along with Abigail Gibbons, 13th, must have ensured that this u17 team will be the one to beat in the League this year. For the u17 men, Matthew Dickinson and Oliver Fox had great races for 2nd and 3rd with Phillip Bridge in 13th, Sam Harding (u20s) in 18th and Matthew Cole in 23rd.
In the women’s race we had 4 members competing as they try their best to maintain our Division One women’s status despite missing a number of Harrier women due to injuries or absence. First Home was Lucy Heath in an excellent 46th place, with Sam Baker 100th, Gill MacPherson 160th and Julia Dukes 183rd.
In the final race of the day over a full 3 laps of 10km in total, close on 300 men toed the start line and the Harrier squad of 17 men tried all they could to see if they could maintain or move the team up the Division 1 league. We await to see final team positions but first home for the men was Nathan Young in an excellent 3rd place, followed in by Jon James, 32nd, and Tim Hawkins, 35th, both in the mix for V40 honours. Jon raced despite only recovering from illness during the week.
Our top V50 man was Lloyd Collins in 49th, with John Glaisher 71st and Steve Masters on his shoulder for 72nd.Paul Maskell, in training for the London Marathon, was a useful 84th, and then came Tom Dukes 123rd,Alastair Lindsey 141st, Graham Goldsmid 161st, and Pete Darton 165th. Simon Arnold was 183rd, with Paul Chadwick 213th, Steve Dickinson 220th, Geoff Cole 231st, John Beveridge 256th, and Pete Wright 264th. That’s some packing by the boys!