Pontefract, one of Britain's most historic market towns in West Yorkshire, hosted the weekend's Northern Cross-Country Championships. An easily accessible venue, a reasonable course and a crisp, sunny day made it a pleasant day of racing - though on this occasion not of the 'horse' variety.
The best individual club performance was undoubtedly from Ryan Moore who was a clear winner of the U17 race. Well done and congratulations to him. It's a long, long time since the club could boast an individual winner of this race. Alex Burchill in 16th place had his best ever run in a major championship. Unfortunately, the section did not complete a team.
In the Junior men's race, Charlie Hulson showed an encouraging return to form by finishing 5th with James Wignall 19th, recording his highest ever finish in the Northerns.
The best team results came from the U13 girls who finished 3rd - the same as in last year's Championships. Those who returned home with proud bronze medals were Ciara Lydon, Olivia Green, Ellie Twite and Claudia Cohen. With three of these girls young enough to compete in the same age-group next year, we will expect to challenge for first place.
The U15 girls finished 5th in their team race with Catherine Podmore, Hannah Simeen, Rachel Hibberd and Flora Whyte producing the best U15 team result for many years. This is the quartet of girls who finished in bronze medal position last year in the younger U13 age-group. We also finished in 5th place in the boy's event with Adam Roden 23rd and the team completed by Euan Gilchrist, Christy O'Brien and Sam Mayon.
The U13 boy's team placed 8th with Jake and Adam Spilsbury, Dillon Burchill and Adam Kinghorn.
The highest finishing position from a female athlete was Megan Davis who finished 17th in the U17 lady's race. Megan led the team to ninth place with Imani Modahl, Misha Nayak-Oliver and Chloe Yates.
The senior men finished 8th, a top ten position consistent with recent years. Despite being waylaid by injury for several months Gaz Raven ran his twelfth consecutive Northern and did well to finish tenth. This was James Bailey's 9th consecutive Northern and he's retained admirable consistency through the years with this year's 43rd place one of his best. Niall Brooks who finished fourth as a junior last year, was 76th and will soon be among the top ten..It was a fantastic run for M40 Ian Weatherall who finished 114th from nearly 700 finishers. Mike Kilmartin, recently recovered from surgery and Peter Crawford, competing in his inaugural 'Northern, did well to be among the club's top six finishers. Chris Donnelly (218th), Oliver Gaillemin (237th) and Paul Rowley (248th) were also having their first taste of a 'Northern' and discovered how unique and tough this championship is. Mike Ashby (253rd ), and Paul Barrett (323rd) with finishing positions similar to last year, had to rush home to prepare for the club's Winter Ball!!!!
The senior women were without most of their 'big guns' and, in the circumstances, did well. Emily Beedham (43rd) was way out in front; Hayley Cavill (63rd ) and Jan Nicholls (79th) vastly improved their positions on previous years; Alison Pye (122nd) and Jo Street also produced one of their best ever finishing positions. The National XC championships are at parliament Fields, London on February 25th
(Compiled by Fechin Mc Cormick & Peter Shaw). Photos www.hsphotos.co.uk
Posted 29/01/2012 22:58