Weekend Report - 25th/26th February 2017
Tonbridge Win National Cross Country Championship
The Senior Men’s squad topped everything that has gone before in the Club’s seventy-year old history when they captured the English National Cross Country Team Championship on Saturday, at Nottingham.
The championship has been held for 140 years and in that time the highest Tonbridge placing had been eleventh, in both the last two years. However, many of those who have come through the successful age groups are now reaching the senior ranks, to help produce strong senior squads.
One of those is Chris Olley, who is still just 20 years old, but produced the performance of his life, on the tough twelve kilometre course at Wollaton Park, to storm through to fourth place. He was just twenty seven seconds down on the winner, Ben Connor, of Derby, beating many internationals in the process.
Corey De’Ath, who himself has only just turned twenty-one, ran strongly throughout to finish 23rd , from almost two thousand starters. Next in for Tonbridge was Ben Cole, who has been an established member of the team for a few years, but produced his best ever National run in 37th. Another first year senior, Max Nicholls was 39th, with Kieran Reilly just behind in 41st. So Tonbridge had five of their six scorers home well inside the top fifty, but supporters then had an agonizing wait. Three others had been in a scoring team position during the race, but had pulled out, in the extremely tough conditions. However, it was Charlie Joslin-Allen who captured the final scoring place in 145th.
With a total score of 289 points there was a chance that Tonbridge would not even be on the podium, but remarkably it was good enough to capture the title by just four points from the defending champions, Morpeth Harriers. Bedford and County placed third, as 131 teams closed in.
The Tonbridge women’s team also surpassed anything that had gone before as they finished fifth of 93 teams. They scored 184 points and were just thirty away from a medal position. Ashley Gibson finished 17th overtaking team-mate Nicole Taylor (22nd) on the second half of the eight kilometre race. Lucy Reid came home in 50th and Chloe Bird had a fine run to place 95th, from more than eight hundred finishers.
Puxty Leads Under 17 Men to Victory
The senior men’s victory was not the only one for Tonbridge, as the under 17 men’s team also won, led home by a resurgent James Puxty, who took the individual victory. Three hundred runners and twenty-five complete teams contested the race, as Tonbridge won by twelve points from Aldershot.
The three other Tonbridge scorers were Dan Seagrove (33rd), Bede Pitcairn-Knowles (46th) and Dan Blades (51st).
Three More Tonbridge Medals
There was further under 17 success, as Phoebe Barker finished second in the women’s race and helped Tonbridge to 5th place. Barker was just seven seconds behind the winner Amelia Quirk of Bracknell.
Kathleen Faes, who is returning after injury, placed 34th, with Clara Tyler 94th and Grace Fleming 140th.
The under 20 men’s team finished second to Aldershot, in their championship, with George Duggan an excellent 7th. Tim Faes had his best National in 19th, with Alasdair Kinloch 23rd and Jamie Goodge 28th scoring.
The ever consistent under 15 boys’ squad won bronze medals, from thirty six teams, through Fraser Gordon 25th, James Kingston 51st, Ingmar Gunn 60th and Toby Emm 68th.
The Club had teams in all ten events with the under 20 women placing 8th, the under 15 girls 5th, the under 13 boys 4th and the under 13 girls 14th. The championships completed the main cross-country season for the club, although many of the runners will be on county representative duty in March.
Athletes from Tonbridge competed in the England Athletics U15/U17/U20 Championships held indoors at EIS Sheffield over the weekend of 25th and 26th February.
Amy Taylor and Maisie Rixon ran in the 60m in their respective age groups, with Asha Root competing in the Under 17 Women’s 300m. Rebekah O'Brien entered 2 events, the U15 women’s 800m with a time of 2:25.31, close to her recent indoor best, and the high jump with a height of 1.55m and came away with the Silver medal.
In the under 20 men’s events Will Martin achieved a time of 7.18 s in the 60m, whilst Henry Marshall ran his 400m heat in a time of 49.99s, progressing through to the semis where he came 5th with a time of 50.31s.