Blaise of glory for North Somerset athletes

PUBLISHED: 14:24 18 February 2015 | UPDATED: 14:24 18 February 2015

Sara Flower.

Sara Flower.


North Somerset Athletic Club members stepped up to the challenge to compete in the penultimate fixture of the Gwent League series.

IN THE penultimate fixture of the five-race Gwent League series, North Somerset Athletic Club once again turned out in great numbers for the Blaise Castle estate fixture in Bristol.

Despite 14 of the club’s athletes competing just the day before at the South West Schools cross country championships, the young athletes stepped up to the challenge and performed superbly to maintain medal-winning positions for six of the club’s teams.

In the Under-11s, Harrison Garland in only his second race for the club impressed with a fine fourth place. Sam Smart in his first race at this level finished a fantastic 13th place, with Guy Owen just one place behind in 14th.

Will Maine had his best run of the season as the teams fourth scorer with a fine 37th place, and debutant Emile Swanson looked comfortable in finishing 41st. Adam Smith and ever-present Louie Brunsdon, who took a heavy fall in the wooded section, finished 54th and 59th respectively to complete the team.

The Under-11 girls have been consistent throughout the season with five girls sharing the honours in each race. Ruby Owen was the leader this time to finish an impressive sixth place, with Connie Ballantine and Grace Ashurst battling it out for 10th and 11th respectively.

Charlotte Sidwell carrying an ankle injury continued the race bravely to finish in 21st place with Alice Bridger-Morales close behind in 25th. Libby Bayliss in her first race of the season ran well for a 32nd place finish, with Stephanie Brooks having a season’s best finish of 43rd.

Debutant Alysha Forsbrook looked comfortable in finishing 53rd with year four Matilda Ballantine just behind her in 58th. The girls were just eight points off the leaders before this one and are hoping their performances have closed that gap going into the last race.

The Under-13 boys were depleted having lost Sam Gentry and Alex Collins to injury, which left Jamie Carroll and Ollie Lock to lead the team. They both rose to the occasion with Carroll having his best race of the season in eighth place and Lock supporting superbly close behind in 10th.

Debutant Kes Pitchers impressed in 23rd with Ryan Burton and Jonah Murray completing the team scores in 26th and 28th respectively.

The Under-13 girls have improved with every race and will have enhanced their medal prospects with a superb team performance.

Rosie Whitehead led the race with her two Welsh individual title rivals, and despite her exertions at the schools champs the previous day, she showed great finishing power to pull away for a comfortable victory that takes her to top of the leader board outright.

Lucy Maine and Nelly Bridger-Morales worked together superbly with Maine reaching the line in fifth place and Bridger-Morales immediately behind in sixth.

Debutant Ruth Day ran well to finish in 36th place with Issobel Gall close behind in 39th. Maddy and Ruby Soper in 43rd and 48th followed by year sevens Kerrin Smith, Ellie Maul and Natasha Statham in 49th, 52nd and 53rd respectively completed the team scores.

The strong Under-15 girls’ team led their category before this fixture and despite all running the day before, they were determined to consolidate top spot.

Alice Davies also held the position of individual leader and had no intention of losing her place before the last fixture. She led from the off to leave her title contenders trailing.

Her race victory along with superb team running from Lauren Ashurst, Sara Flower and Olivia Burton finishing in a remarkable third, sixth and seventh positions respectively that should make the team title a formality at the final fixture.

The Under-15 boys were down to the bare bones for this one, but Jaylan Bacon, Luca Murray, Callum Smith and Euan Campbell packed well together as a team to finish in excellent positions of fifth, seventh, eighth and 12th respectively.

The Under-17 boy’s trio of Joe Gentry, David Warnes and Mike Proffit in fifth, seventh and eighth respectively will also have done their team medal aspirations no harm at all with this spirited showing in the combined Under-17 and Under-20 race. Gentry could also have improved upon his current individual third place position and will anxiously await the official results.

Alys Withers continues to impress in the Under-17 girls’ category. She stayed with the leaders throughout to record a superb third place in the combined Under-17 and Under-20 race, finishing well clear of the main field.

Angharad Flower, finally clear of injuries, is starting to reproduce some of the form that made her one of the club’s top endurance athletes in the South West a few years ago, and her 12th place finish will have given her confidence for the future.

The final fixture at Aberdare on March 1 will see no fewer six of the eight junior teams in the hunt for team medals, which would no doubt secure the accolade of top junior club for the 2014/2015 Gwent League season.

With a handful of the club’s athletes also in medal-winning positions, the Aberdare trip is definitely one not to miss.

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