The England Teams won all four team titles and three individual gold’s when the Home Countries International Cross Country was held at the Margam Country Park near Port Talbot, Wales on Saturday. However the English runners had to pull out all the stops to hold off a strong Scottish squad in all four of the HCI races. In a glorious setting with Margam Castle as a backdrop the runners faced undulating courses in sunny and warm conditions but had to face strong winds on parts of the course.
The Junior Women’s race over 5,200 m saw Erin Wallace of Scotland Schools and England’s Abbie Donnelly battle it out over much of the course before Wallace pulled away over the last 800 m to win in 19 mim 18 sec, with Donnelly 9 secs back. A fast finishing Niamh Brown took 3rd in 19.35 and Bella Williams wrapped up the team win with a 5th place with 19.42. The forth English athlete home was Phillipa Stone in 8th recording 20.04. England winning with 10 points, Scottish Schools 2nd with 14 and Scotland 3rd with 36. Both the Midlands and the North also fielded teams with Hannah Delaney (North) best placed in 10th spot.
The England Junior Men were dominant in their race notching up a 1,2,3. From the start over the 7,100 m course Ellis Cross, Gus Cockle and Petros Surafel worked together to move away from the rest of the field and kept it going to finish in that order. Ellis Cross winning in 22.22, Gus Cockle home 2nd in 22.31, while Petros Surafel took the bronze in 22.37. So England won with the minimum of 6 points ahead of Scotland 24 points and Wales 34. Thomas Mortimer was Englands 4th scorer finishing 6th in a time of 23.07. Again the Midlands and the North were involved with Harry Powell (North) best of their runners in 11th position.
The Potter twins who have wealth of experience scored a one, two in the senior women’s race. However they achieved this result by different means. Juliet running for England led from the start and battled hard in the wind while Jane (Midlands) was back in the field early in the race. After Juliet Potter had fort off a challenge from Faye Fullerton, she went away to win in 25.21 for the 7,100 m course, while the fast finishing Jane Potter running for the Midlands came through to win the silver 24 secs down on her sister. Faye Fullerton hung on for 3rd in 25.51 and Philippa Bowden placed 4th 26.08. With these placing’s England easily won with 8 points ahead of Scotland 18 and Wales 31.
The final race of the afternoon the Senior Men’s event over 10,100 m was an interesting event. The early part of the race saw England’s Daniel Cliffe forcing the pace and trying to get away from the lead bunch, however he could not break Murray Strain (Scotland), Jack Gray (Midlands) and Richard Horton (England). In the last 1 K of the race Richard Horton pushed on and scored a victory in a time of 32.03, this was 6 secs in front of Murray Strain, while Jack Gray was a further 10 secs back in 3rd. England’s next two were Daniel Cliffe 4th and Alex Brecker 7th and this was enough to beat Scotland by 1 point with the Midlands in 3rd place and the Northern Counties 4th.
The results were a terrific end to the season at an event well hosted by Wales and testament the hard work put in by the England Team Managers.
Full results can be found at http://welshresults.athletics-uk.org/