Mon 12th Nov 2018
In another huge turnout, Winchester's junior squad continued their fine run of form at the second fixture of this season's Alton Sports Hampshire Cross-Country League.
Having sent a team of 60 westwards to the first fixture at Bournemouth, WADAC's junior-team managers asked for a repeat performance in the North of the county on Saturday. What they got at Wellesley Woodlands in Aldershot was an even bigger turnout, as 68 Under-11s, Under-13s and Under-15s ran out in the black and gold.
Nowhere was the squad size more evident than in the opening U11 races, where one in three athletes overall was from Winchester, an awesome show of strength. In the girls' race, Poppy Taylor claimed a personal best finish of 4th place, closely followed in 6th by Hannah Lowe, both girls from the lower part of the age group. The team was completed by Rebecca Hutchings in 14th, which gave the Winchester girls the second-best team score behind a very strong trio from City of Portsmouth AC. There were very good runs also from Scarlett Anderson, Summer Curtis, Ella Stout, Sara Bucci, Emma Latimer, Veronica Bucci and Willow Bache-Holleran on debut.
In the U11 boys' event, Winchester completely dominated proceedings, with superb runs from William Hasan, to win the race, and Sam Wilkinson, a single second behind him. In 4th place was Ruben Price in a big improvement from his first race and also in the top ten were Haydn Moore (6th), Sam Nicholson (8th) and Michael Whittaker (10th). Jacob Hutchings, Casper Wilson and Joseph Hasan also made the top 20, followed closely by Ethan Skipwith, Boaz Lurcock, Seth Noott, Aiden Furby, Thomas Latimer, Oscar Coupe, Toby Pope, Eddie Tarrant, Louis Smith, Thomas Savill, Lucas Steel, Matthew Friend and Joey Hill.
Our U13 girls ran true to form, with the trio of Lara Bassett (16th), Emma Shedden (22nd) and Jaz Jones (23rd) again making up the scoring team, but with the top ten places once more spread fairly evenly around four other clubs, WADAC's total of 61 points was surprisingly only strong enough for fifth team place on this occasion. In another great turnout, Winchester were also represented enthusiastically by Aisling Hitchman, Jemima Hodges with a promising debut run, Safiya Husain, Zara Barker also on debut, Phoebe McGee, Lauren McGee, Emily Staggs and another welcome first-timer, Kaela Nixon. Team management were delighted to see so many runners new to the group doing so well.
The U13 boys look set for a season-long battle with a really strong Southampton AC squad. Having just pipped their local rivals in Bournemouth in the first race of the season, the Winchester trio of James Lewis, again the race winner with a little to spare ahead of the pack, Ben Chesterfield (4th) and Michael Shingleton-Smith (5th) repeated the trick, but again only just. The boys will need to be on top of their game at Popham on December 1st if they want to stay ahead. Also hoping to break into the top 6 and increase WADAC's scoring options will be Stan Parkinson, who took 7th place on Saturday, and he was followed by Tom Grote, getting back towards his best form, Reuben Hobbs, improving rapidly, and Charlie Cox on a welcome return to the squad. Also on the up are Toby Pace, Alex Nicholson, Ieuan Thomas and Adam Lee, who all ran well and will want to contest the scoring places in the future.
Winchester's U15 girls had taken everyone by surprise in winning the first fixture of the season, but in a near-identical outcome this time round, proved that it had been no fluke by once again packing superbly and taking the team honours ahead of the host club. Rose Chesterfield (4th), Amelia Moore (5th) and Hannah Foster (7th) were the first three home, just ahead of Millie Burgess (up 5 places to 11th), Lily Neate, Ellie McErlean and Katie Nicholson, a rock-solid team.
The U15 boys were boosted by the return to usual form of Doug Scally, who contested the leading places for most of the race before finishing a strong 7th, and supported by another great run from Sam Roberts (16th) and James Medley (19th). This gave our trio second team place once again, behind a dominant AFD and just ahead of Basingstoke in third. The younger-year quartet of Harry Harvey, Thomas Briggs, Connor Dutton and Ben Schofield finished in a pack in mid-field, with Connor and Ben showing that they're now ready to give the other two a run for their money.
The junior squad was blessed not only with great strength in depth and three team wins, but also magnificent timing. Once they'd all finished their races, the rain which had been looming for some while came down with a vengeance, mostly on the Senior Women's race, in turn creating a quagmire for the Senior Men who followed.
Full results available on the Hampshire Athletics website here : https://www.hampshireathletics...
Next fixture is at Popham on December 1st, where Winchester can hope to increase their hold on the U13B and U15G categories, but will again need all hands on deck to do so.