Laura’s big kick earns her Avon county gold in thrilling sprint finish

JET-heeled rookie Laura Chance showed a real champion’s fighting spirit as she claimed the junior girls’ title in the Avon Schools Cross Country Championships.

With the finish line in sight of the race around the Kingswood School playing fields, in Bath, Redmaids School student Chance (picture above wearing No 21) was in third place and in danger of slipping out of contention completely as the fourth paced girl loomed on her shoulder.

But then as Jason Daniels, who is her coach at Westbury Harriers, explained Chance suddenly realised this was an opportunity she couldn’t miss.

“With 50metres to go then the jet-pack kicked in and she took off!” said Daniels.

“I have not seen a finish from her like that, she was eating up the ground and snatched victory literally in the last stride.

“Her best win, I would think, especially in terms of determination and guts as well as being bottom of the age group. She looked beaten in the closing stages but produced something very special.”

That devastating sprint saw Chance scorch past the stunned pair of Keira Devereux (Bristol Grammar School, pictured above wearing No 22), who was runner-up for a second successive year and Elen Ruck of the Bristol Free School who can be proud of her third place.

For Chance it was her second county schools’ cross country title having also won the minor girls’ title twelve months ago so that is an impressive record.

The intermediate age groups usually boast the strongest fields and the girls’ race on Saturday continued that trend as Clifton High School’s Megan Hornung claimed an impressive victory.

In-form Hornung has already had a great start to the winter campaign with impressive wins in the Tri-Counties Championships just before Christmas plus two Gwent League fixtures.

She just missed out on a medal at the South West Inter-Counties a few weeks ago but Hornung was determined to get back to winning ways again and was too strong for fellow Clifton High colleague Amelia Honor in second with Bristol Grammar’s Kate Howard third after a keen tussle.

Highlight of the boys’ race surely came with Rufus Thomas’ victory in the inter boys’ event. The QEH student’s path to his first county cross country title has bene long and steady, twice placing fourth as a junior and then last year sixth in his first attempt in the inter age group.

Now finally Thomas not only made the podium but also marked the occasion with gold – a great lesson to all aspiring young runners out there just starting out on their career paths.


Avon Schools Cross Country Championships, Kingswood School, Bath (KEY: APS=Ashton Park School; B=Backwell; BA=Badminton; BC=Beechen Cliff; BCL=Bath College; BFS=Bristol Free School; CC=Clifton College; CH=Churchill; CHS=Clifton High School; CO=Colston’s; CoB=City of Bristol; CP=Clifton Prep; CL=Clevedon School; CS=Castle School Thornbury; G=Gordano;H=Haysfield; K=Kingswood; KES=King Edward School; M=Marlwood; MC=Monkton Combe; MF=Mangotsfield; P=Priory; QEH=Queen Elizabeth Hospital; R=Redmaids; RA=Ralph Allen; RGS=Redland Green School; RH=Royal High; SB=St Bedes; SBL=Sir Bernard Lovell; SG=St Gregory’s; SK=St Katherine’s; SMRT= St Mary Redcliffe; W=Wellsway; WI=Winterbourne; WR=Writhlington).

Senior girls: 1 Rosie Hamilton Jones (BGS); 2 Claudia Spice (QEH); 3 Freya Spruit (BC); 4 India Ibbotson (BCL); 5 Amy Richards (BC); 6 Lizzie Narbett (K); 7 Rhiannon Paton (RGS); 8 Emily Whittaker (BGS); 9 Bridie Knox (K); 10 Dara Goodluck (BA).

Teams: 1 Banes 34; 2 Bristol 44.

Inter girls: 1 Megan Hornung (CHS); 2 Amelia Honor (CHS); 3 Kate Howard (BGS); 4 Sophie Moore (RH); 5 Dani Sinclair (MF); 6 Amy Nicholls (W); 7 Ella Treby (SG); 8 Alice Bridger-Morales (B); 9 Clemmie Gallen (RH); 10 Emelia Rawstone (KES).

Teams: 1 Banes 50; 2 Bristol 59; 3 North East Somerset 109.

Junior girls: 1 Laura Chance (R ); 2 Keira Devereux (BGS); 3 Elen Ruck (BFS); 4 Charlotte Warren (CC); 5 Clemmie Lee (R ); 6 Lottie Silverton (RH); 7 Abigail Woodworth (SMRT); 8 Izzy Cotterill (H); 9 Ella Smith (CO); 10 Talia Hughes (CH).

Teams: 1 Bristol 25; 2 Banes 81; 3 North East Somerset 114; 4 South Glos 129.

Minor girls: 1 Holly Sanigar (W); 2 Tia Butler (CS); 3 Jasmine Spear (BFS); 4 Emma Nottendon (BGS); 5 Emma Kitching (MC); 6 Olivia McKean (RA); 7 Cassia Oyelumade (MC); 8 Amelie Rushforth (KES); 9 Llywda Kenyon (CC); 10 Felicity Lowe (RGS).

Teams: 1 Banes 44; 2 Bristol 61; 3 South Glos 126; 4 North East Somerset 141.


Senior boys: 1 Alex Parsons (BC); 2 Alfie Hocking (CL); 3 Justin Davies (KES); 4 Sam Gentry (B); 5 Ben Habbin (CL); 6 Ollie Harper (WI); 7 Gregg Hatward; 8 Oliver Lock (CHS); 9 James Harrad (CS); 10 Will Cheek (CoB).

1 North East Somerset 62; 2 Bristol 82.

Inter boys: 1 Rufus Thomas (QEH); 2 Seamus Robinson (SB); 3 Will Scott (CH); 4 Joe Milton BC); 5 Artie Savage-Swaine (RGS); 6 Ceredig Jones (M); 7 Steve Kerfoot (SBL); 8 Finn Goodhew (RGS); 9 Alexander Wilson (QEH); 10 Will Maine (P).

Teams: 1 Bristol 46; 2 North East Somerset 70; 3 South Glos 86; 4 Banes 102.

Junior boys: 1 Joe Markey (WR); 2 Dylan Stoneman (BC: 3 Alex Knight (KES); 4 George Peacock (M); 5 Sam Holloway (CL); 6 Alex Hearn (KES); 7 Eoin O’Halloran (RGS); 8 Ishmail Bradley (APS); 9 Nick Pestell (BGS); 10 Solly Scott (CC).

Teams: 1 Banes 41; 2 Bristol 59; 3 South Glos 111; 4 North East Somerset 122.

Minor boys: 1 Halbie Wagstaff (CP); 2 Ben Collins (CL); 3 Max Bennett (CS); 4 J Martineau (SK); 5 Charlie Haines (K); 6 Seb Leeney (CH); 7 Jacob Fleming (MC); 8 Archie Rawlinson (G); 9 Alex Auton-Green (RGS); 10 William Jephcott (CP).

Teams: 1 North East Somerset 57; 2 Banes 70; 3 Bristol 73; 4 South Glos 104.


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