Walford Sisters shine at Anglian Trophy XC

Both Walford sisters, Kayli and younger sister Tabatha were in sparkling form at the Anglian Trophy XC meeting securing the Highest placing’s for the Northants County schools team on a tricky and challenging course which at time resembled an obstacle course! The inter-county meeting traditionally held after the county schools race is used to determine the selections for the prestigious English schools race in March, so for the 22 KTH athletes competing there was a lot up for grabs.


Kayli Walford representing U19 Girls got off to a fantastic start and shook off the disappointment of the Midland Counties race the week earlier to finish in 4th overall position (Top placing of the day) with a powerful run, and continue her excellent XC form. Also competing was Claudia Kelsall who battled bravely on a course not suited to her style to finish in 7th place just missing the automatic qualification slot of 6th, but has a reasonable chance of being selected in the 8 strong team. The U19G Northants team easily won the team event from Lincs. In In the U19 boys race Liam Kirk ran well despite missing a week’s training with a virus to finish in 24th overall, and 4th scorer for the county, but it was sad news for Matt Stewart recovering from 4 weeks off training with ankle interment strain who had to pull out in the early stages of the race.


Tabatha Walford had earlier ran a typically strong race to finish 5th overall and top scorer for Northants in the U15 Girls team and still has another year in the age group. Also qualifying for English Schools was younger of the Gordon sisters, Beth who secured 5th position(20th overall) with a fine run, but it was hard going for some of the Harriers with Cludia Neveitt, Izzy Cara, Priscilla Wilson & Hannah Whinstone all running well but failing to secure a top 8 position. Rebecca Hughes also fell victim to the conditions and had to withdraw.


Gemma Vaughan was in inspired form in the U17 Girls race, and enjoyed one of her best XC races to finish 17th overall and 4th Northants qualifier with a terrifically strong race to finish ahead of club colleagues a year older. Jess Gordon older sister to Beth, also ran an excellent race to secure 5th qualification slot (19th position overall) and ensure she was not outdone by younger sister, and Fran Ashworth not enjoying the conditions battled through bravely to finish 8th Northants scorer (37th overall) and must now wait to see if she has been selected? Lauren Mehmet agonisingly finish just outside the top 8, in 9th position (49th ).


In the U17Boys race Jack hope was again top Northants scorer and finished in a very credible 12th position with a typical solid run, Matt Brookes finished in 61st.


Ethan Mehmet also had a solid run to qualify in 5th (35th overall) in the U15Boys race, with new recruit Harry Underwood showing much promise by finishing in 7th for the County (58th overall) with a solid chance of qualification.


In all with Abigail Coleman and Josh Cara qualifying for Leicestershire/ Warwickshire respectively, a total of 13 Harriers should qualify for English schools which is a tremendous achievement.


Well done to all who competed.

Shane Smith