Dylan sets the standard at Anglian XC!

Dylan sets the standard at Anglian XC

11 year Dylan Bowley was in scintillating form at the weekends Anglian Trophy XC championship, taking the Minors boys title in style, and winning his first regional title. The race was held in the lovey setting of the grounds within the Royal Hospital School in Ipswich, and the course was surprisingly firm on the day.

Dylan, who finished in 14th place in the corresponding fixture in 2014, set off with utter determination from the start of the 2900m race and ensured he was first into the tricky section of the course where athletes can choose to run along the top of sea defence wall or along the bottom, Dylan had opted to take the top route and had to quickly reverse the decision after athletes started to forge ahead along the 1km section. Dylan again worked his way back into the lead and had built up a considerable 100m lead when the boys emerged from the small wooded section of the course, which Dylan maintained throughout the final 800m downhill finishing section to take Gold in style. 10 year old Ollie Read ran superbly against much older competition to finish in 7th place within the Northants Squad a repeat from the county schools result in January and he was the only other Harrier competing.

In the Minor girls race Daisy Robinson ran well despite the handicap of running in trainers on the 2200m course which was very slippery in places to finish 8th within the Northants athletes and she is steadily working her way back to full fitness. Also running well was Millie Toseland (11th Northants athlete) who was the only other Harrier featuring on the day as Freya Batkin was competing in the county championships swimming competition which clashed.

In the first of the races where English Schools places were up for grabs, the Junior girls had x3 Harriers all securing places for ES for the first time, most notably Emily Williams racing for the first time since fracturing her 5th metatarsal late in November, the 12 year Old’s decision to race was only taken after completing two sessions on track earlier in the week, and it proved to be a good decision as she stormed to a superb 11th place overall, and second Northants qualifier. Emily had started the 2900m course cautiously but showed little signs of any loss of fitness and finished the race very strong to complete the distance in 12:36, just 12 seconds behind the lead Northants athlete. Also enjoying superb runs were Dannielle MaCann Gaskell who is improving each race to finish in 22nd (5th Northants) in 12:55 to secure selection, and Jennifer Robinson who ran a solid race & was just behind her club colleague to finish in 27th (6th Northants) to also secure her selection in 12:59.

In the Junior Boys race held over 4040m, there was some tough competition for bottom year Henri Codling in a race which saw the Northants squad secured 3 top 10 pacing’s. Henri enjoyed a fine race & showed great determination to finish in 25th place overall but importantly 6th place in Northants section race in 14:00 dead to ensure automatic selection for his first English Schools Championship held on 14th March in Blackburn. Fynn Batkin who is steadily improving over his debut XC season had another fine run, and was finishing the strongest of the Northants squad, but sadly finished just outside of the automatic qualification places in 9th by a matter of seconds to complete the course in 14:12, Fynn will take heart as based on his performances he will certainly feature in future years. The Junior Boys team race was one of only two team victories on the day, defeating Norfolk by a single point to take the team title.

There were a similar number of qualifiers for the Harriers in the Inter Girls race held over 3740m with Chloe Hearn & Sophie Moss pushing each other along with their regular race battles both enjoying selection for ES for the first time. Chloe ran a super race to finish in 25th overall in 14:53 and importantly she was 5th Northants qualifier, with Sophie Moss almost matching her stride for stride and improving from her 2014 position of 42nd, finishing in 28th place (6th Northants qualifier) in 14:57. Two other Harriers were represented, with Hannah Winstone (43rd overall in 15:40) & Ella Palmer (46th overall in 15:50) also running well but sadly both missed out on possible section by finishing as 9th & 10th Northants athletes. The final Harrier selected also for the first time was Elana Albery, who was unable to compete, but on appeal was awarded the final 8th position, which was richly deserved based on her excellent form on XC this season. In the team stakes the Northants team did well to finish in third place.

Inter Inter Boys race there were two Harriers who made selection, Jake Trent was foremost with a fine race over the 5700m course to finish 25th overall in 20:31, and 4th Northants qualifier, and Ethan Mehmet also enjoyed a solid race to finish in 32nd (5th Northants qualifier) in 20:53 to help the team to finish in a respectable 3rd position.

In the senior teams there was also further success for Harriers securing ES selection with Jess Gordon enjoying her usual solid run over the short 4040m course to finish in an excellent 8th position overall and grab second Northants qualification slot, and Fran Ashworth also enjoyed a much improved race to finish ahead of local rival Ellie Welch in 13th place overall, and 5th Northants qualifier. Such was the strength of the Northants Senior Girls team they easily defended their title to retain the team win by 30 points.

The last race of the day, senior boys was held over 6900m and had x3 Harriers competing for qualification places, Jack Hope continued his dual with R&N’s Jack Bond who have traded blow throughout the season, on this occasion jack finished behind his rival to grab 2nd Northants qualification slot and finish in a fine 10th position in 22:53, although Jack cannot compete at ES as he is attending his brothers wedding! Matt Brookes seemed to benefit from his earlier beetroot shot by finishing in a respectable 39th to grab 6th Northants qualification slot in 25:23, with Edward Cannell, looking a little heavey legged & not enjoy his best race still showing his usual grit & determination to finish in 48th (10th Northants) in 26:49. Northants team finished in a fine 2nd position

In all a total of 12 athletes secured selection to represent Northants County in the prestigious ALL ENGLAND Cross Country Championship  (English Schools), at Witton Park, Blackburn, and Josh Cara also representing Warwickshire schools bringing the total to 13!

It's really encouraging in the fact that 7 Harriers were qualifying for the first time which shows the strength of the squad coming through, and as the championships are in Blackburn this year the Northants squad will be staying overnight, so many of the KTH squad will be trying to organise room sharing arrangements. 

Well Done to all who ran, and congratulation to all those selected.

Dylan Bowley Winner of Minor Boys Title