Tue 15th Oct 2019
WADAC's newest Hampshire Cross Country League teams set the tone for another impressive display from the club's junior distance-runners.
The 2019-20 Hampshire League opener saw Winchester's athletes heading West down the M27 to Bournemouth, to be greeted by steady drizzle and increasingly muddy conditions as the day wore on.
First up were the two Under-11 races, and Winchester lost no time in recording the season's first team wins. For the girls Poppy Taylor (2nd) and Hannah Lowe (3rd) gave their usual strong performances, and have now been joined by Grace Baker, who worked her way steadily through the field to finish an excellent 5th place on debut. They were well supported by Izzy Hastie, Molly Rowland, Amber Price, Gabrielle Mardle and Amelia Swan, all too making their first appearances in the league. The girls' team win was matched by the boys, for whom Seth Noott (3rd) and Casper Wilson (6th) continued their good early season training form, with the team completed by an excellent run from lower-year athlete Joe Hasan (7th). Ethan Skipwith (8th) and Zac Reynolds (10th) gave WADAC half of the top-ten and were closely followed by Oliver Corrie, Thomas Savill, Bradley Lewis, Luke Furby, Alfie Keegan, Tom Pate, Dara McErlean, James Poore, Felix Hoskins, Monty Wilden, Tom Price and Joel Covey in another huge turnout. A special mention at this point for (very) new U11s Team Manager Mikaela Price, who refused to allow a last-minute (almost literally) promotion to the role and a broken club tent to stand in the way of doing what none of her predecessors had ever managed, and starting with a double win. Not sure how you top that next time, Mikaela.
There was a disappointing list of WADAC runners in the Under-13 girls race, but happily Elreza Mulder and Zara Barker both ran well to spare the club's blushes a little. We must hope that injuries have cleared up and non-availabilities have been cured by the time we reach the next fixture.
The Under-13 boys can do no wrong at present, and they once again recorded the most comprehensive of team victories. James Lewis came under pressure through much of the race but eventually broke clear to claim another win. There were also outstanding runs from Stan Parkinson (3rd) and Ollie Stephenson (4th) to complete the scoring team. WADAC’s next three home, Will Hasan (8th), Jack Moores (9th) and Ieuan Thomas (14th) accumulated a points total good enough to beat every team other than their own clubmates, and even the third Winchester trio, Will Atkins (15th), Ruben Price (16th) and Aiden Furby (17th) were the sixth best team scorers. They were backed up by Sam Nicholson, Boaz Lurcock, Matthew Friend and Elliot Gurney.
Our Under-15 girls team always knew that defending their league title this season, against last year’s Under-13 winners from Southampton, would be a tough battle, and so it proved on the opening day, as our Southern neighbours claimed the win and WADAC had to settle for second place. This was despite great performances from Rose Chesterfield (4th), Amelia Moore, with a welcome return to form and fitness (5th) and Millie Burges (11th). They were closely followed by Ellie McErlean, Emma Shedden, Jasmine Jones, Aisling Hitchman and Emily Staggs.
Winchester’s Under-15 boys team was missing around half its members through a variety of alternative commitments, and seldom looked likely to break into the podium places on the day. There was a great Hampshire League debut run from Harry Wilson (8th) and good early season form from Ben Chesterfield (11th), with Harry Harvey (25th) completing the scoring for 4th team place. Leo Smith, Oscar Holloway, Ben Schofield and Alex Nicholson can all be satisfied with their races, but in truth the squad as a whole will need to raise their game if they’re to compete with the likes of Aldershot and Southampton in the coming fixtures.
The Under-17 girls have had an excellent summer on the track, and they carried that form seamlessly into the new XC season with a comfortable team win. Lily Neate continued her remarkable form with 2nd place, and was accompanied in the scoring team by Aisling Dunne (6th) and Issy Beck (7th), with Hannah Foster, now looking much stronger after recent injuries, just behind in 8th spot. Ellie Walters and Katie Nicholson completed the second WADAC trio and with a score that would have beaten all but one other team.
The club has a good nucleus of Under-17 boys for the first time in several seasons, but unfortunately only Sam Roberts (11th) and James Medley (22nd) were available on Saturday, so we’ll have to wait to see how competitive the team can be in this season’s league fixtures.
The next two events are WADAC’s home match at Sparsholt (Nov 9th) and the trip to Aldershot (Nov 30th), where half our age-group teams will be looking to claim further team victories and most of the other half will want to field full squads and become more competitive.