South West Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships, Bicton College 20th December 2015 - Report
A move from the usual early January date to mid-December, certainly suited the Cornish athletes who were competing for County teams at the Annual South West Inter Counties and Club Championships, held at Bicton College, Devon.
They produced one of the best all round results for the Duchy with close on full turn out, including an unprecedented team of twelve in the Senior Men’s event where six were in the top fifteen to score an outstanding win. This was almost matched by the Senior Women who had their victorious scoring six in the first seventeen. Medals were aplenty for both individuals and teams, including three individual winners, three Silver and two Bronze. There were three winning teams, two Silver and two Bronze.
The three winners in the younger age groups not only picked up Gold medals for their efforts, but as South West Champions, can look forward to automatic inclusion in the London Mini-Marathon teams next April.
The first of these provided the biggest winning margin in any of the races. After a challenging opening sequence, Grace Brock destroyed a quality under 15 Girls field with a blistering run which pulled her clear to an outstanding 26 second win over Ellie Hobbs from Avon, who is a class athlete. The other two winners were a closer affair. Harris Mier and James Greenwood were matched by Wiltshire and Dorset athletes in the Under 15 Boys Race. These four fought hard over the two lap course keeping in close contact until the final hill to the finish, where Greenwood just lost out to the other three and Mier made certain of his first Championship Gold with a decisive injection of pace. Mier and Greenwood headed up a strong Cornish team that lived up to expectations with the first of the team wins, Alexander McCartney at 8th and Floyd Radcliffe at 13th completed the winning quartet, with Finn Birnie to be added to the team for the National Inter Counties in March.
It was a repeat of last year’s result for the winner and runner up in the Under 17 men’s race even though both had moved up an age group. Aidan Kent shot off from the start, determined to front run the race. This gradually led, over the three laps, to a trio breaking away with Kent at the front. The race crossed into fields for the large lap with Kent and Dorset’s Thomas Bourne now competing for the lead. Bourne briefly took this on as they headed down to the lake for the final time but Kent was not going to give in and eventually widened the gap for a clear win. The team of Tom Slattery (5th). Tom Luton (13th) and Noah Bygrave (32nd) finished third.
Yoyo Barnsley looked well in control over the Under 17 Women’s three lap course she built up a commanding lead over the first two but was chased by a fast closing Dorset’s Serena O’Connor, being caught as they skirted the lake & overtaken in the field before the final climb. Sian Temple finished a high 4th with Lily England 21st and Shannon Beckerleg 24th to complete the third placed team.
Both Under 13 teams finished runners up, the girls in the closest points position, four behind Gloucester and two in front of Somerset. It was in the Boys race that another win looked on the cards with Bradley Mclellan taking the lead from the start. He was always under pressure and this finally told on the second lap but he was still strong enough to take the Silver medal. Edward Mitchell was the second scorer at 8th, Benjy McCartney was 12th and Si-am Juntakereket 14th. In the Girls, Charlotte Hicks just missed out on the medals with a positive run from the start, with one second between each of second, third and her fourth place. Tia Brown bravely held her 6th place with a sore knee, Jessica Spry did remarkably well to recover from a slip which left her sprawled at the start & last off, to finish 17th with Frances Ratcliffe at 20th.
In both Senior races, it was impressive to see the mass of Gold and Black vests line up for the starts. The Men were off first over a four lap course and were soon looking good for a high team placing with some good packing behind the top County athletes. Pete Le Grice, Dan Nash and Dan Rodgers were always in the leading group and maintained their positions as the field stretched out around the course. Le Grice had the better finish to take a Bronze medal but had Nash just one place behind and Rodgers making three in the top five. Behind this trio, Callum Jones made up ground in the second half for 9th, Colin Snook was a high 12th and Adam Thomas overtook Steven Sims for the sixth scoring position at 14th.
Equally, the Women’s team was one of the best fielded by the County. In this race, Tess Masselink was leading athlete for much of the race but counted as an Under 20. Her 4th overall gave her the Silver medal in her age group. She was overtaken by the Bronze medalist, Emma Steptoe, who made up tremendous ground to lead the team home to victory. Alice Rogers also ran well over the muddy heavy going for 8th, Amy Sole was one place behind at 9th, Joanna Herd 13th with Debbie Starkey 14th and Nikki Smith 17th to complete the team.