England dominates Home Countries International Cross Country including Schools' International

England dominated the Home Countries International Cross Country event held at Falkirk on Saturday. Alongside this event was the SIAB schools' match which saw the four Home Countries compete against each other in Junior and Intermediate age group events.

In the first race of the HCI events the Junior Women’s race, Gemma Holloway (Club: Thurrock Harriers) and Abbie Donnelly (Club: Lincoln Wellington AC, Coach: Rob Lewis) scored a one,two; Gemma winning by 6 seconds in 21.31 to complete a fine end of season series of races. Niamh Bridgson-Hubbard (Club: Blackheath & Bromley AC, Coach: Andy Frankish) finished 9th and Pillippa Stone (Club: Middlesbrough (Mandale) AC, Coach: Martin Peevor) AC was 16th to complete the scoring and give England an easy win over the other 8 Countries and Teams taking part.

The Junior Men produced a clean sweep with GB Junior International Christopher Olley (Club: Tonbridge AC / Imperial College, Coach: Mark Hookway) coming back to good form to win in 25.07 just 1 second in front of Gus Cockle (Club: Aldershot, Farnham & District AC, Coach: Mick Woods), while Ellis Cross (Club: Aldershot, Farnham & District AC, Coach: Mick Woods) finished 3rd and Cameron Field (Club: Liverpool Harriers / Durham Uni, Coach: Julian Field) came home 4th and England easily won the Team event.

In a very tight finish to the Senior Women’s race Claire Duck (Club: City of Leeds AC, Coach: Mike Baxter) just beat Jane Potter – (Club: Charnwood AC / Nottingham Trent Uni), both athletes being given the same time of 28.32 but Claire getting the win. While Steph McCall (Club: South London Harriers, Coach: Stuart Major) ran very well for 4th and Juliet Potter (Club: Charnwood AC, Coach: Roy Stowell) 6th. It was another England team win with Scotland again 2nd.

The final race of the day the Senior Men’s race saw Alex Teuten (Club: City of Portsmouth AC / Southampton Uni, Coach: Roderick Lock) maintain his good end of season form with a 2nd place in 31.32, 5 seconds down on Andrew Douglas of Scotland. Then came the England runners Alastair Watson (Club: Notts AC / Hermitage) 3rd and Alex Brecker (Club: City of Stoke AC / Warwick Uni, Coach: John Danahay) 4th while Matthew Bowser (Club: Lincoln Wellington AC / Loughborough Uni , Coach: Mark Baddeley) completed the quartet in 6th. This saw England romp home to another win again ahead of Scotland and complete a good season which has achieved the aim of allowing athletes to step up to another level.

The schools' match took place at the same location, adding to the international experience for all competitors. England Team athletes took the majority of the individual medals and topped the podium in all four age group team events.

In the Junior Girls' 3000m, England in fact took the top 5 positions and won the team event by a huge margin. Congratulations to medallists Olivia Mason (Club: Border, Coach: Graeme Mason), Ella McNiven (Club: Liverpool Harriers, Coach: Lynn Webb) and Tia Wilson (Club: Bedford & County)

Ireland took individual gold in the Junior Boys; and Intermediate Girls' 4000m events but England was still clearly in front in the team results for those events. Harris Mier (Club: Cornwall, Coach: John Knowles) and Alfie Bould (Club: Vale Royal, Coach: Andrew Carter) finished within 9 seconds of the leader but had to settle for silver and bronze, and Kathleen Faes (Club: Tonbridge, Coach: Nikolaas Faes) and clubmate Phoebe Barker (Coach: Richard Owen) took 2nd and 3rd in the girls' event in yet another close finish.

It was a clean sweep for England in the Intermediate Boys 6000m; Matthew Willis (Club: Wrexham, Coach: self), Zakariya Mahamed (Club: Southampton, Coach: Peter Haynes) and Lachlan Wellington (Club: City of Portsmouth, Coach: Vince Stamp) all finished within 10 seconds of each other and the team result was a decisive 23 for England versus 102 for each of Scotland and Wales!

With thanks to Ken Hewitt Photography for the use of his photos; lots more online!