WESTBURY Harriers team manager Tamsin Chick has paid tribute to the senior women who helped the club finish third overall in the 2021/22 Gwent Cross Country League season.
While Bristol & West AC – coincidentally managed by her dad Chris Elson – retained their title and Chepstow Harriers placed second Westbury maintained their consistency in the league.
Indeed, since winning it in 2011 the senior women have only once dropped off the podium with a seventh place in 2016. Otherwise they have always been contesting the top places and this winter combined quality with quantity over the five fixtures, icnduing a home match at Blaise Castle last month.
“One of the keys to the Gwent League is having a depth in the team at all fixtures,” said Chick.
“We had a fabulous 56 ladies take part over the five fixtures. If you look through the results, there are not many clubs that fielded eight teams.
“It is such a tremendous team effort. Always with such enthusiasm and team spirit. It is something special to be part of and feel proud about.
“Hopefully many of you have got to know each other better and made new friends and memories along the way. Thank-you all for travelling and taking the time out of your busy weekends to come and support the team.”
Chick led by example finishing the club’s top woman in 15th overall. She completed all five events along with Jayne Pemble, Shirley Hume, Eithne Noonan, Kay Ridgwell, Marilyn Palmer and Nicola Derrick.
The highest placed result over the five races was produced by Catherine Treble, who finished fifth at both Brecon and Swansea but the best performance arguably came from Floren Scrafton, who was seventh in the opening match at Cardiff which also incorporated the British Cross Challenge so attracted a stronger field of runners.
But it wasn’t only the first team runners that Chick wanted to salute in her annual report of the season.
“The B team was third in the reserve division (and) notably were our improvements in the C, D and E team final standings from 2020,” added Chick.
“The V35s couldn’t match their 2020 title but finished a solid third behind Bristol and West, with Chepstow Harriers taking the V35 team title.
“The V45s improved on their sixth place in 2020 to finish fourth. We needed the team we had out at Blaise at more fixtures. Alas, V45 seems a busy life stage! Bristol & West were first.
“Our V55s were leading going into the final fixture but with a few key people unable to run at Swansea we missed out by only 19 points to Taf Running & Orienteering Teams. Still finishing a fabulous third, which was one up from 2020, with Les Croupiers Running Club in second.
“A special mention to our V65s who individually were dominant in first, second and third – Shirley Hume, Marilyn Palmer and Eithne Noonan.
“The V65s once again took the V65 team title and the B team finished a fantastic third thanks to some impressive running from Gill Anagnostakis in the earlier fixtures.”
Last but certainly not least take a bow Tamsin. Organising a team and running is quite an achievement; I don’t think her dad even manages that now!