Large numbers at the United Counties Showgrounnd

Following the successful Welsh Road Relay Championships at Pembrey Country Park last weekend, attention next turned five days later to the United Counties Showground a short way down the A484 to down the A484 in Nantyci. This was the second hosting of a big for members and runners of Carmarthen Harriers in a short period of time.

The Carmarthenshire Primary Schools XC Championships

The cross country season in West Wales got off to a flying start with another fantastic turn out for the 2017 Carmarthenshire Primary Schools Cross Country Championships edition held on Thursday Evening (21st September). The competition was again organised by the Chairman of Carmarthen Harriers and the meeting announcer, Hedydd Davies who has continued to do for the last 30 years since it was introduced.

The Carmarthenshire Cross Country Championships was once again sponsored by McDonalds. The partnership between Carmarthen Harriers, Carmarthenshire and Dyfed schools continues to grow and has already resulted in Carmarthen Harriers being awarded with the Welsh Athletics Partnership Award a number of times over the past few years, including in 2016 for its partnership with McDonalds.

With continuous heavy rain throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday morning, the event could have been in doubt at one stage however, with the conditions clearing from the South West during early afternoon, this enabled the championships to go ahead as planned. Due to the bad weather, organisers had to shorten a part of the course due to its original section being flooded after the overnight conditions.

Just in time for the start of the races, despite the ground still being rather wet, the sun and the warmth had made a welcome appearance and stayed throughout the championship duration. It attracted hundreds of people - athletes and spectators to its annual venue in Nantyci on the outskirts of the town.

Once again, Carmarthenshire schools supported and competed in their numbers in what is now one of the biggest and most attended sporting events in the county.

More than 30 schools were represented in the two-hour programme and between the eight races; a large number of around 1,100 children took part. While some were competitive, for many others it was also an opportunity for young runners from across Carmarthenshire to get involved alongside their friends in a family event, gaining experience at the same time. Year 3 athletes in particular, got their first taste of a proper competition and able to watch the upcoming future athletics stars in action.

Number of Finishers / Nifer wedi Gorffen:

Year 3 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 3: 155; Year 3 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 3: 136; Year 4 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 4: 153; Year 4 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 4: 145; Year 5 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 5: 143; Year 5 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 5: 122; Year 6 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 6: 125; Year 6 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 6: 119

The course was split into two - year 3 and 4 ran 2 big laps while the year 5 and 6 children completed 1 small and 2 big laps, with the route ideal for families and friends to spectate and support, as it was all on the big field in front of the stand.

Runners were in good company, led at the front and back by Harriers middle distance athletes: Archi Morgan (U17), Frank Morgan (U13), Dafydd Jones (U15), Jack Thomas (U13), Iwan Glynn (U15), Tomos Rees (U17) and Ben Thomas (U17). Each one did an excellent job encouraging and supporting those behind the winners to succeed by crossing the finish line.

The first of the races started with the young years 3 at 4.30pm, with the other seven races taking place at 15 minute intervals. The presentation of the 110 medals was made shortly after at 6.00pm. The Carmarthen Harriers Social Media & Press Officer Nathan Jones was out and about on the course catching all the action, while tweeting live on @CarmsHarriers from the venue for those following online. An official event photographer (Alfie Pics) was also on hand.

Medals were presented to the first 10 individuals and the first three teams by the following who attended as special guests: Irfon Jones (Chairman of Carmarthen County Council), Gareth Morgans (Acting Director of Education Carmarthen) and Emlyn Schiavone (Deputy Head Mayor).

In what was an exciting evening of cross country running, the overall school trophy was shared this year by Ysgol Griffith Jones, St Clears and Ysgol Y Dderwen, Carmarthen as they both won three team events each.

In the team competition, there were 4 different school winners, which were Griffith Jones, Teilo Sant, Llandeilo (one win), Y Dderwen and Iau Llangennech (one win)

An event of this magnitude takes a great deal of organisation and preparation and thanks to all for supporting the event and making the championships a successful one.

Results & Medallists / Canlyniadau a Medalwyr

Year 3 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 3: 1 Rhys James (Y Dderwen) 2:54 2 Tomos Jones (Griffith Jones) 3:05, 3 William Harnett Jones (Llandovery Prep) 3:06 4 Bryan Williams (Griffith Jones) 3:08 5 Joe Lawrence (Bynea) 3:13, 6 Charlie Eythy (Dewi Sant) 3:17, 7 Sion Jones (Llanpumpsaint) 3:21, 8 Dafydd Davies (Llangynnwr) 3:21, 9 Macs Hastings (Llanpumpsaint) 3:21, 10 Joshua Morris (Carreg Hirfaen) 3:24

The first race to set off and this turned out to be the most popular race of the day with 155 finishers. Ysgol Griffith Jones (26) got their day off to a good start by taking the first set of team medals with a 16 point win from Y Dderwen (42) with Dewi Sant (48), the other school to make the top 3 here.

Year 3 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 3: 1 Grace Jones (Llangynnwr) 3:20, 2 Esme Lynock (Rhys Pritchard) 3:26, 3 Lily Alice Hughes (Teilo Sant) 3:30, 4 Gwennan Jones (Y Dderwen) 3:31, 5 Lily Jones (Iau Llangennech) 3:32, 6 Poppy Goss (Llandeilo) 3:32, 7 Grace Toogood (Teilo Sant) 3:36, 8 Angharad Williams (Llanddarog) 3:37, 9 Ava Dewnap (Bro Brynach) 3:38, 10 Erin Morris (Ffwrnes) 3:39

The school from Llandeilo, Teilo Sant took this one with 36 points, helped by their third and seventh individual positions. Y Dderwen secured their second silver of the day just behind (40) and Bro Brynach just held off Iau Llangennech’s challenge to win bronze (46)

Year 4 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 4: 1 Ewan Brazier (Y Ddwylan) 2:54, 2 Llion Davies (Y Dderwen) 2:58, 3 Sam Griffiths (Llangynnwr) 2:59, 4 Steffan Thomas (Teilo Sant) 3:00, 5 Siencyn Rhys (Llanddarog) 3:01, 6 Logan Owen (Gwenllian) 3:06, 7 Shea Davies (Hendy) 3:07, 8 Dylan Owen (Ffairfach) 3:08, 9 Harri Wigglesworth (Peniel) 3:08, 10 Tim Selt (Parc Y Tywyn) 3:09

The year 4 boys were the other race to go beyond the 150 runner’s barrier. The school from Carmarthen went one better this time as Y Dderwen won the age group (46) with their rivals Parc Y Tywyn just 7 points further back (53). After just missing out in the previous team result, Iau Llangennech had no problem this time round as they came a comfortable third (55).

Year 4 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 4: 1 Tirion Yate (Dewi Sant) 3:01, 2 Charlotte Merry (St Michaels) 3:02, 3 Jessica Norman (Llansteffan) 3:04, 4 Beatrice Morgan (Llangadog) 3:06, 5 Martha Morgan (Teilo Sant) 3:12, 6 Mabli Collyier (Pontyberem) 3:13, 7 Eleri Haf Morgan (Rhys Pritchard) 3:15, 8 Chloe Rudge (Griffith Jones) 3:15, 9 Sofia-Mai Davies (Nantgaredig) 3:15, 10 Seren Thomas (Y Dderwen) 3:16

Griffith Jones won their second primary title within the first four races, the latest coming in the year 4 girls with their scoring athletes finishing at the top end of the field (39). In what was becoming a close battle, Y Dderwen again competed well to win silver (51) and Rhys Pritchard got their first set of medals in bronze (52).

Year 5 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 5: 1 Aron Hedd Jones (Y Dderwen) 3:59, 2 Liam Upton-Boorman (Johnstown) 4:00, 3 Macsen Toogood (Teilo Sant) 4:07, 4 Rhodri Roberts (Iau Llangennech) 4:08, 5 Max Williams (Ffwrnes) 4:08, 6 Cynyr McRae (Y Ddwylan) 4:09, 7 Alex Coles (Rhys Pritchard) 4:13, 8 Ely Sear (Parc Y Tywyn) 4:14, 9 George Thomas (Griffith Jones) 4:15, 10 Sion Davies (Parc Y Tywyn) 4:16

A strong team effort from Griffith Jones saw them able to field an A and B team for this, with the A team winning by a margain (42) while Iau Llangennech and Y Dderwen were both tied on 61 points. It was the latter who were announced in second as they had a better third individual scorer.

Year 5 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 5: 1 Mared Jones (Y Dderwen) 4:26, 2 Casi Gregson (Carreg Hirfaen) 4:28, 3 Ella Glynn (Y Dderwen) 4:31, 4 Daisie Webb-Asher (Llandeilo) 4:32, 5 Tia Davies (Parc Waun Dew) 4:36; 6 Marged Jones (Y Dderwen) 4:39; 7 Megan Jones (Y Dderwen) 4:40, 8 Lily Ela Jones (Llanddarog) 4:42, 9 Grace Owen (Pembrey) 4:43, 10 Elsie Taylor (Y Bedol) 4:44

A race clearly dominated by the local Carmarthen school – Y Dderwen easily won the year 5 girls title with their three scorer’s all coming in the top 10 – 1st, 3rd and 6th. Two schools having already got on the podium earlier – Rhys Pritchard and Iau Llangennech enjoyed more good results with 48 and 60 points respectively.

Year 6 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 6: 1 Ifan Bowen (Y Dderwen) 3:38, 2 Iwan Thomas (Parc Y Tywyn) 3:50, 3 Cai Prenderville (Iau Llangennech) 3:51, 4 Jake Lynock (Rhys Pritchard) 3:53, 5 Sion Jones (Llangadog) 3:59, 6 Gruff Owen (Y Dderwen) 4:00, 7 Alfie Cuthell (Iau Llangennech) 4:01, 8 Jake Etheridge (Bynea) 4:02, 9 Jac Jones (Llanddarog) 4:02, 10 Gwion Williams (Peniel) 4:03

In a field of 125 athletes, Iau Llangennech got their first win of the day with an impressive team score (23). Helped by individual silver, Parc Y Tywyn’s trio won silver (59) and Model School were the next different school to make the podium (62).

Year 6 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 6: 1 Erin Fflur Morgan (Y Dderwen) 3:49, 2 Bessy Hill (Y Ddwylan) 4:03, 3 Frances Mackie (Y Castell) 4:12, 4 Efa Gwenllian Vardill (Y Dderwen) 4:26, 5 Nel Davies (Ffairfach) 4:30, 6 Catrin Hughes (Dewi Sant) 4:31, 7 Mari Collier (Teilo Sant) 4:32, 8 Fflur Thompson (Y Dderwen) 4:36, 9 Madi Jones (Y Dderwen) 4:38, 10 Georgia Pedler (Brynteg) 4:39

In the final race of the day as sunset started to arrive over the venue, Y Dderwen won their third team title of the afternoon scoring 13 points. Dewi Sant and Teilo Sant, having already medalled ensured that they left with one more before the end thanks to their low scores of 31 and 40 points.

This is just the start of a busy few months for athletes, coaches, teachers and schools in the Dyfed and Afan Nedd Tawe districts. For the secondary schools in Swansea, their winter campaigns get underway next Wednesday afternoon (27th September) at Pontarddulais Secondary School, where the Afan Nedd Tawe Schools & Collages Cross Country Development Race is being held. The timetable begins at 4.00pm with the year 7 girls, going up to the pupils in sixth form and collages. 25 of the district’s schools have been invited to attend and the event will take place on the field of the school. There will also be plenty of opportunities for primary school children to get involved in the various league matches.

In Dyfed, Pembrokeshire will also host a primary event for year 3 to 6 children in the area with this taking place at Oakwood theme park next month (October). Last year, it saw close to 1,000 youngsters involved and it is hoped that these numbers will be matched again in 2017. Other events due to take place throughout the winter include: Brianne & Pembrokeshire Schools Cross Country League, Dyfed Cross Country Championships and Sportshall events for all ages at Carmarthen Leisure Centre.

The Dyfed Primary Schools Cross Country Championships will head back to the United Counties Showground next year where all three counties will be invited to take part (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire). This is likely to be held during March 2018.

Report by Nathan Jones (Carmarthen Harriers).

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