Anglian Trophy - Victory for Emily!

The harriers continued their fine tradition for individual winners at the Anglian Trophy, a prestigious inter-county XC event between Northants, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk & Suffolk, when Junior Girl Emily Williams powered her way to a magnificent victory at Boston, building on her individual win in the Minor Girls Age Group in 2014, and Dylan Bowley’s win in 2015 in the same Age Group.

The event where Northants athletes are effectively in two races, one to secure a top 6/8 automatic qualifying place for Northants Schools, the other an inter-county race, was held on a flat fenland course in Boston with a strong and gusty wind, and proved to be a good hunting ground for the Harriers with 11 athletes in total securing selection for the English Schools XC championships on 05th March at Wollaton Park, Nottingham.

In the opening race the Minor Girls over 2285m saw both Freya Batkin & Mia Brockway run well to secure individual placings of 19/ 20th (4th & 5th for Northants squad) respectively, with Hal Robinson also running well in the minor boys race over 2665m to finish in 14th place overall and second Northants finisher.

The first of the qualification races for English Schools was Junior Girls over 3225m and Emily Williams was keen to make amends for missing out on the medal positions at the previous weeks Midland Counties Championships. The race saw a rematch of the memorable battle between Emily Williams and Hunt’s AC athlete Shannon Flockhart at the Charity Cup at Wicksteed park in December 2015 where the two were locked in battle with Emily just out sprinting her rival to take a narrow victory. And so it was again with the two foremost in the lead pack throughout the race, which took a potentially disastrous turn with 1km left when Emily who was leading at the time was sent the wrong way by a marshal, and only after frantic shouting from the crowd did she realise the error by which time she was 50-60m behind the lead group, Emily showed terrific determination to put in a strong effort to re-join the lead pack and remain in contention, this could have proved disastrous, but Emily showed her class to make up the deficit and still managed to continue the race firmly in contention. A planned tactical decision for Emily to put in another strong effort to split the pack with 500m to go, assisted with a strong tailwind, went to plan and she opened up and held a 30m lead through a particularly boggy and twisty section of the course before emerging into view of the finish line with 200m to go, a late effort from the determined Flockhart to close her down was seen off with ease as Emily again managed to change pace to win in style, arms aloft, by 30m.

Emily Williams Superb win in Junior Girls Race

Emily was delighted with her performance and especially to take the Gold after the disappointment at Midland Counties, and now looks to channel her efforts for her main priority at the English Schools XC Championships in early March. Alice Gammon who was unable to compete due to swimming commitments, appealed and was rewarded with a space in the Northants squad for English Schools courtesy of her 7th place finish at the county schools championships, Alice has done remarkably well in qualifying for both Northants teams at national Championship races with just a few months training.

In the Junior Boys Race, Dylan Bowley was rested due to a niggle so it was left to Adam Caulfield & Archie Parkinson to lead the way for Northants with running well for 2nd & 4th respectively.

In the Intermediate Girls race over 3905m there were a number of KTH athletes in contention for places in what was a very competitive Northants squad, most prominent was Sophie Moss who got off to a cautious start, but come through the field with a strong run to finish in 4th place for the Northants squad to secure her ES place (21st overall) and also running a fine race was Dannielle McCann- Gaskell who got off to a quick start and managed to hold onto an automatic qualifying place as 7th Northants scorer (32nd overall) there was also a good race from Chloe Hearne who can considers unfortunate after finishing in 8th and final position for ES consideration but she was bumped out of contention by an appeal from an athlete unable to compete. Bethan Lewis has a decent run to finish in 37th place overall (9th Northants) & Harriett Jolley & Amy Robinson also ran well but both out of contention for the top 8 qualification places finishing in 58th & 59th place overall (14th & 15th Northants positions). The northants team finished in 2nd place overall in the team event.

In the Intermediate Boys race Fynn Batkin led the charge for the Harriers and he enjoyed a superb race to finish as 3rd Northants Scorer (8th overall) behind the strong R&N paring of Josh Lay & Adam Searle but will take encouragement finishing just a second behind Searle after a sprint finish with 5-6 athletes vying for places. Fynn, who is bottom year in the age group, easily secured selection for English Schools for the first time after the disappointment of finishing 9th last season and he will hopefully feature quite prominent in both the season’s finals XC races. Jake Trent also secure selection for ES with a solid run to finish in 7th position for Northants (31st overall), but sadly Josh Cannell finished outside of the places in 11 position for Northants (49 overall) with Alex King putting a very respectable run for 12th Northants (50th overall). With the 3 prominent top 10 finishes the Northants team comfortably won the team event.

In the penultimate race of the day, the senior Girls race over 4285m Claudia Nevett produced a top quality run to underline her improving form over the past few races to finish in a fantastic 4th place overall and lead home the Northants squad to secure number 1 place in the pen for English Schools. Also securing qualification for ES for the first time on the country was Ella Palmer with another strong run to finish in an automatic qualification place of 5th for Northants (25th overall) with Hannah Winstone also running well in grabbing 7th Northants qualification place (38th position overall). Also qualifying through a successful appeal was Elana Albery who current excellent form gives her the nod from the selectors and bring the Harriers contingent to 4 in this AG, the Northants team finished in 3rd place overall

In the final race of the afternoon a Harrier grabbed a bronze medal with Jack Hope, enjoying a better race without the distraction of his club colleague by his side, running a superb race to cover the 6850m course and importantly securing the lead Northants position in the pen for English Schools. Matt Brookes & Ethan Mehmet were also both in action, bot unable to secure an ES qualification slot but running a respectable race to finish in 42nd & 50th place overall.

Jack Hope with a terrific run to secure a Bronze Medal

This was another fine display from the inform KTH middle Distance squad, who now have a few weeks training before challenging testing themselves on the National stage for English Schools & Inter-Counties in the first two weekend in March.

Well done to all the athletes who ran.