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Junior Hannah sparkles as she pushes champion Barnes all the way

IN the best race of the day Westbury Harriers’ junior Hannah Hobbs pushed reigning champion Ruth Barnes all in the way as the pair dominated the senior women’s event at the South West Cross Country Championships.

Twelve months ago Hobbs was winning the under 17 women’s title as Barnes, who will shortly make her England senior debut over a half marathon in Barcelona, was racing to victory around the Exeter racecourse circuit.

Two-times champion Ruth Barnes flanked by Hannah Hobbs (far left) and Charlie Parnell.

Today she showed maturity beyond her 18 years – she only recently celebrated her birthday – as she tracked Barnes over the first lap and a half of a testing, true cross country circuit which culminated in two stiff climbs before levelling out to the finish straight.

That is where Barnes, who is more than twice Hobbs’ age used her strength to full effect as she finally shook off her young rival to open a gap that she maintained to the finish.

“I know that I said beforehand I wanted a hard race but that felt so tough!”  admitted Barnes afterwards.

“The course played to my strengths but really I am not that keen on hills.”

Hobbs’ superior leg speed kept her in touch on the flat and downhills and she can take enormous satisfaction with a terrific result.

“I am pleased with second and I just didn’t have the strength to stay with Ruth up the final climbs,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs finished just 15 seconds adrift of Barnes with Devon champion Charlie Arnell a distant third. In the junior stakes Hobbs was over a minute clear of her nearest rival.

The victorious Avon senior women’s squad

While Hobbs didn’t count towards the senior team scores the Avon squad of Natalie Griffiths (third), Rebecca Pierce (6th), Fiona Marks (8th), Catie O’Donoghue (10th), Katie Hughes (14th) and Imogen Peck (15th)  were crowned inter-county champions.

Additionally Bristol & West AC won the club team title thanks to the quartet of Griffiths, Marks, O’Donoghue and Peck.

 

South West Cross Country Championships, Aldon Hill, Yeovil

Senior men: 1 Phil Norman (NDAC) 29:53; 2 Ronnie Richmond (Bide) 30:36; 3 Tom Austin (Poole AC) 30:40; 4 Mark Jenkin (Bide) 30:55; 5 Owain Jones (B&W) 30:58; 6 Luke Prior (AFD, U20) 31:02.

M40: 1 Phil Burden (Taunton) 31:48; 2 Luke Murray (Clev) 32:59; 3 John Porter (Ply H) 33:58

M50: 1 Mike Dooley (TB) 34:09; 2 Guy Woods (SWVets) 34:32; 3 Paul Whear (CAC) 34:44

Teams – clubs: 1 Bristol & West AC 85; 2 Wells City Harriers 115; 3 Team Bath AC 196.

Counties: 1 Devon 59; 2 Avon 66; 3 Somerset 136.

U20 men: 1 Luke Prior (AFD) 31:02 ; 2 Jake Smith (Exeter) 31:09; 3 Will Crudgington (TB) 31:30.

Teams – Clubs: None.

Counties: 1 Somerset 17; 2 Devon 30; 3 Dorset 52.

U17 men: 1 Finn Birnie (N&P)18:36 ; 2 Elliot Moran (Exe) 19:24; 3 Sam Goodchild (CAC) 19:28.

Teams – Clubs: 1 Cornwall AC 34; 2 Newquay & Par AC 68; 3 Tavistock 70.

Counties: 1 Cornwall 15; 2 Avon 36; 3 Devon 45.

U15 boys:  1 Oliver Smart (Tavistock) 14:17; 2 Rees Stewart (N&P) 14:28; 3 Flynn Jennings (Bide) 14:33

Teams – Clubs: 1 Wells 80; 2 Tavistock 97; 3 Exeter 137.

Counties: 1 Devon 21; 2 Cornwall 39; 3 Somerset 40.

U13 boys: 1 William Rabjohns (Poole) 12:20 ; 2 Lukas Bailey (CoS) 12:32; 3 Charlie Hague (Ex) 12:36.

Teams – Clubs:  1 Exeter Harriers 46; 2 Cornwall AC 67; 3 Wells City Harriers 102.

Counties: 1 Devon 25; 2 Somerset 38; 3 Cornwall 61.

 

Senior women: 1 Ruth Barnes (AVR) 20:53; 2 Charlie Arnell (Torbay) 21:52; 3 Natalie Griffiths (B&W) 22:02; 4 Emma Stepto (CAC, W45) 22:05; 5 Amy Bond (Poole) 22:22; 6 Rebecca Pierce (TB) 22:23.

W35: 1 Barnes; 2 Katie Hughes (WH) 22:58; 3 Kim Hill (Taun) 23:15.

W45: 1 Emma Stepto (CAC); 2 Emma Fisher (Wells) 22:31; 3 Julie Dixon (Bide) 22:42.

W55: 1 Tracy Allan (B&W) 25:48; 2 Diane Hier (AVR) 26:06 ; 3 Marilyn Blair (Torr) 26:26.

Teams – clubs: 1 Bristol & West AC; 36; 2 Avon Valley Runners 105; 3 Chippenham Harriers 113.

Counties: 1 Avon 56; 2 Devon 79; 3 Wiltshire 131.

U20 women: 1 Hannah Hobbs (WH) 21:08; 2 Katie Hughes (CAC) 22:17; 3 Serena O’Connor (Poole Runners) 22:41.

U17 women: 1 Grace Copeland (Wimborne) 15:54; 2 Elise Thorner (Wells) 16:28; 3 Caitlin Apps (Exe) 16:29.

Teams – Clubs: 1 Wimborne 84; 2 Newquay & Par AC 108.

Counties: 1 Devon 23; 2 Dorset 38; 3 Cornwall 64.

U15 girls: 1 Beatrice Wood (Sals) 13:53; 2 Emilie Castagna (Poole) 15:02; 3 Dalis Jones (WH) 15:13

Teams – Clubs: 1 Westbury Harriers 39; 2 Exeter 60; 3 Cornwall 98.

Counties: 1 Avon 29; 2 Wiltshire 32; 3 Devon 55.

U13 girls: 1 Maisy Luke (CAC) 12:57; 2 Abgail Jose (CAC) 14:22; 3 Hannah Blundy (Wells) 14:28.

Teams – Clubs:  1 48; 2 Wells 84; 3 Westbury Harriers 105.

Counties:  1 Devon 26; 2 Cornwall 38; 3 Avon 48.