Finch leads North Somerset boys to National team bronze glory

Bronze boys: The North Somerset AC U13 boys squad (L to R): James Bennett, Joseph Finch, Felix Ashby, Euan Peacock, Luke Carratt and Leo Darlington

THERE were some terrific results from West Country runners in the Saucony English National Cross Country Championships, at Parliament Hill, London.

Pride of place must go to Exeter Harrier teenager Sam Mills, who won the under 17 men’s race with Westbury Harriers’ Seamus Robinson a superb fifth.

The other west individual medallist was Team Bath’s Harry Maxwell. Third in the recent South West Schools’ Championships, victory in the county schools and 13th at the South West Inter Counties all showed Maxwell was n good form but he saved his best for the biggest stage of all with a treasured bronze medal in the under 15 boys’ race.

The other west medal winners were the North Somerset AC under 13 boys’ squad of Joseph Finch, who made the top ten in eighth place, Leo Darlington, Felix Ashby and James Bennett as they secured the team bronze medals.

Also worthy of note is Team Bath’s Toby Loughlin as he finished 10th overall.

Bristol & West AC’s Megan Hornung continued her excellent form in 2022 with fifth place in the under 17 women’s age group while likewise Westbury’s Rosie Hamilton-James followed up her Midland Counties triumph with an excellent sixth in the under 20 women’s race.

As anyone who has even raced this event knows a top ten finish, no matter what the age group, is mightily hard to achieve and something to treasure forever.

In the senior men’s race Bristol & West AC’s bid for a team medal fell short as they had to settle for fourth, well outside of contention on the day.

But South West champion Jack Millar couldn’t have given any more than a fantastic fifth place, his best result in the competition.

Best yet: Floren Scrafton (far left) and her Westbury Harriers clubmates

Kurt Taylor, Felix McGrath and Ben Robinson all made the top 60, Owain Jones was 73rd and the scoring team was completed by Andrew Watt.

In the senior women’s race the best-placed local runner was Floren Scrafton of Westbury, as she made the top 50 with a hard-earned 43rd place, just one ahead of Bristol & West’s Chelsea Creak.

Interestingly it is only the second time that Scrafton has run the ‘National’ – the last time was eight years ago when she finished 45th at Nottingham!

Well done also to the North Somerset AC under 20 men’s squad of Matthew Howard, Sam Gentry, both of whom made the top 40, William Cheek and Oliver Lock as they finished eighth.

Saucony English National Cross Country Championships, Parliament Hill, London (slected west results).

Senior women: 43 Floren Scrafton (Westbury); 44 Chelsea Creak (B&W);

Teams: 1 Leeds City AC 54. 7 Bristol & West AC 310 (Creak; 77 Katrina Entwistle; 89 Catie O’Donoghue; 100 Hannah Pollack). Others: 143 Naomi Aylwin; 153 Elaina Gard; 223 Lucy Tothill; 301 Hannah Plunkett-Cole.

U20 women: 1 Alexandra Millard (Invicta) 24:23. 6 Rosie Hamilton-James (Westbury) 25:38;

U17 women: 5 Megan Hornung (B&W) 19:47; 7 Hannah Blundy (Wells) 19:57.

Senior men: 1 Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton) 40:52. 5 Jack Millar (B&W) 42:23.

Teams: 1 Southampton AC 209; 2 Leeds City 265; 3 Cambridge & Coleridge 270; 4  Bristol & West AC 383 (Millar; 50 Kurt Taylor; 56 Felix McGrath; 59 Ben Robinson; 73 Owain Jones; 140 Andrew Watt). Others: 154 Tony Orvain; 346 William Parkin; 355 Peter Baines; 365 Andy Salmon; 495 Will Christofi.

U20 men: 5 Oliver Smart (Tavistock Run Project); 11 Joe Ponter (Taunton); 17 Matthew Howard (NSAC); 25 Flynn Jennings (Bideford); 30 Tom Heal (Taunton); 36 Alex Parsons (Team Bath); 37 Sam Gentry (NSAC).

Teams: 8 North Somerset AC 272 (Howard; Gentry; 96 William Cheek; 123 Oliver Lock).

U17 men: 1 Sam Mills (Exeter) 21:14. 5 Seamus Robinson (Westbury H) 21:57.

U15 boys: 1 Robert Price (Vale Royal) 14:15; 2 Aiden Collier (Chiltern) 14:37; 3 Harry Maxwell (Team Bath) 14:43.

U13 boys: 8 Joseph Finch (NSAC) 12:08; 10 Toby Loughlin (Team Bath) 12:13; 34 Augustin Downing (WH).

Teams: 1 Trafford AC 143; 2 Brighton & Hove AC 181; 3 North Somerset AC 195 (Finch; 54 Leo Darlington; 66 Felix Ashby; 67 James Bennett). Others: 193 Euan Peacock; 361 Luke Carratt.