Truro, Cornwall, was the venue for this year’s SIAB Cross-Country match. In what were near perfect racing conditions, following the previous day’s rain the Celtic nations faced what was believed to be the best English performance since the championships were held in Barry in 1989.
With each nation fielding 8 competitors, England recorded the lowest possible score of 21 in three out of the four races. Despite the strong opposition there were some notable Welsh performances.
In the Junior Girls event the tiny figure of Olivia Gwynn (Bishopston, Afan Nedd Tawe) featured in the leading pack during the early stages and hung on to finish a creditable 11th, with Abi Backshall (Dyffryn Conwy, Eryri) and Rebecca Evans (Y Pant, Glamorgan Valleys) finishing in 20th and 21st respectively.
Wales’ Junior Boys found the going tough in what was for many their first taste of International competition. Despite struggling to the make the team at Brecon due to illness, Queen Elizabeth’s (Dyfed) Kyran Roberts made amends on this occasion and was the first Welshman to cross the line in 16th place.
The Intermediate girls (yrs 10/11) title was won by hot favourite Jessica Judd of England. However, Welsh team captain Ffion Price (Llandrindod, Powys) gave Judd something to think about by taking an early lead, but failed to hold on to her position and dropped back towards the end of the first lap. Having missed the Welsh Schools championships through injury Price battled well to finish in 11th place closely followed by the form athlete of the winter Megan Withers (Tasker Milward, Dyfed) in 12th position. Ffion Lewis (Llanhari, Glamorgan Valleys) finished the race in 19th position helping the Welsh girls to the team bronze.
The final race of the day saw the Intermediate boys set off at a blistering pace with boys’ captain Elliott Hardee (Bettws, SE Wales) and Morgan Davies, (Porthcawl, Glamorgan Valleys) featuring in the leading pack during the first lap. Despite falling on two occasion on the winding, slippery course Davies eventually managed to finish in a very encouraging 14th place to bring down the curtain on what has been a very successful season for the Porthcawl schoolboy.
All athletes should be praised for the endeavour shown and their impeccable behaviour throughout the weekend.