CROSS COUNTRY: Midlands Gold for U13s boys

Adam Searle
Adam Searle

Success at Midlands Cross Country Championships at Leamington

Rugby & Northampton’s under 13 boys rewrote the club history books as they became the first R&N juniors to take team gold at the Midlands Cross Country Championships.

Club officials have had high hopes for the talented youngsters for some time, and they topped what is turning out to be an incredible winter season with victory at Leamington, in a field containing teams from as far out as Avon, Gloucestershire and Staffordshire.

Adam Searle (5th, 11.55) was first home for the club as he beat team-mate Joe Musgrove (8th, 12.18), with Rhys James (10th, 12.23) and Ethan Kent-Whittaker (13th, 12.34) helping the team take camp at the top of the podium.

Their female club-mates were not to be denied their moment of glory also, as they took runners-up spot to secure the second junior medal for the club after a long absence of podium finishes in the youth ranks.

Poppy Carmichael (8th, 13.25) led her team home with Georgina Woodward (19th, 13.55), Amy Walker (25th, 14.09) and Abigail Pearce (26th, 14.10) making up the silver medal team.

R&N’s Under 20 men also finished in the medal mix, with George Goodwin (3rd, 29.34) taking double bronze as he finished third in both the individual and team events. Because only Notts Athletic Club finished a full team of four over the eight kilometre course, and no other club had three athletes in the category, the medals were decided by clubs’ top-two finishers - Robert Male (24th, 33.23) doing enough to help secure bronze for R&N.

The club’s under 20 women finished fifth by the same rule over five kilometres thanks to the performances of Rosanna Andrews (12th, 24.48) and Tilly Lea (20th, 27.55).

The senior men battled thunderstorms amid the treacherous conditions at Newbold Comyn, with the three-lap, 12k course featuring the usual steep hill and water-filled ditch.

Running in ankle-deep mud for virtually every one of the 12,000 meters, Seb Palmer (43.52) led the team for the second year in succession, finishing 40th to add to his 38th of 2013. Midlands Championships debutants Hywel Davies (52nd, 44.24), Robert Gardner (57th, 44.35) and Pete Belfield (102nd, 47.32) all scored, while Paul Birch (105th, 47.42) and Vince Carroll (128th 48.56) completed the R&N A team that finished eighth.

Brendan Moen (156th, 50.05) led the B team home to secure the R&N Over 40s club title for the fifth time. Nigel Roberts (191st, 52.03), Neil Wilsher (210th, 52.30), Terry Egan (217th, 52.40), Jonathan Sarkies (231st, 53.16) and Pete Thomas (237th, 53.44) made up the club’s second six – the first time in six years that R&N has fielded 12 men, although there was no B team competition at the event.

A fantastic run by Emily Waugh saw her secure 17th on her senior women’s debut with a time of 34.44. Penny Andrews (126th, 43.05) and Georgia Barrett (132nd, 43.46) were seconds apart on their championship debuts, though the R&N team didn’t receive classification in the team event due to the absence of a fourth competitor.

In the under 15 boys, Joshua Lay was the top R&N finisher with a time of 15.57 securing him 22nd place, Finn Hutton (80th, 17.46), Cameron Roberts (81st, 17.51) and Tom Haynes (87th, 18.10) finished in the pack as the team placed 12th.

The under 15 girls team finished 15th with Georgia Willix (65th, 20.03), Charlotte Valentine (93rd, 21.57), Rhian Williams (97th, 22.12) and Millie Mason (101st, 22.46) making up the scorers.

Kirsty Goddard secured a top-10 finish in the under 17 girls, with her time of 23.38 enough for eighth, while Ciara Moore (39th, 28.03) and Katie Chubb (40th, 28.11) helped the club to seventh in the team standings.

Ben Musgrove also squeezed inside the top 10 in the under 17 boys. A time of 24.34 secured him 10th place, ahead of team-mates Hizam Sheekh (25th, 25.27) and Josh Whitington (52nd, 27.13).