Ferndown Upper School, Dorset
Saturday 3rd February 2001
Dorset Schools hosted the annual South West Counties Cross Country Championships at Ferndown Upper School. Excellent preparation by Andy Ogilvie, Head of P.E. at the school, meant that athletes were able to enjoy a well marked and testing course, despite the fact that the going was mostly flat. The soft ground and the pace of the runners meant that all involved "knew that they had been in a race" by the time they finished. With a team of expert s from Bournemouth Athletic Club to look after starting, timing and judging there was little chance of error. Thanks are also due to the many teachers who gave up their Saturday to help in marking the course, providing a results service, filling out certificates, helping at the finish funnel, to the Red Cross and to the Ferndown Leisure Centre for allowing the use of the Sports Hall as a team base, refreshment point and presentation area.
Dorset had two individual winners: in the Minor Girls race, Amanda Bailey (Twynham) finished more than half a minute ahead of her nearest rival, Mila Gordon-Creed (Sherborne Girls). There was no official team race for this age group, but had there been one, Dorset would have won comfortably, with Sarah-Jane Trehane (Castle Court) also finishing in the top ten.
In the Junior Girls race, Natalie Real (Parkstone Grammar)
was an impressive winner, though a very good performance was also posted by
Leila Francis-Coleman (Hanford) in 12th place. St. Michael's Laura Dixon ran
above herself to finish 19th. The
team finished third.
A solid run by Gemma Rose (Thomas Hardye) in 12th place in
the Inter Girls race enabled the Dorset team to finish 4th of the seven
counties. Laura King (Budmouth)
improved significantly on her run in the county championships to finish 21st
while Harriet Balme (Bryanston) was Dorset's third finisher in 26th place.
With three runners in the top eleven, the Senior Girls have
much to be pleased about. A very creditable third place in the team race was
largely due to Laura Bale (Beaminster) who finished in fifth place, preventing a
clean sweep of the top seven places by an impressive squad from Avon.
She was supported by Kelly Borthwick (Weymouth College) in 9th and
Kirsten Pakes (Thomas Hardye) in 11th.
In the Minor Boys race, Luke Greenwood (Colfox) disputed
the lead with his rival from Gloucestershire for most of the race but was forced
to settle for second place. Andrew
Mapstone (Beaminster) finished in 6th place and the team were unofficially
The Junior Race saw Craig Bravington (Winton) bravely hang
on to the furious pace set by the nationally high-ranking Alex Felce from
Gloucestershire. Though ultimately
forced to let him go, he finished in an excellent second place and was followed
in by Dorset's second scorer, Sean Hogan (Corfe Hills).
Andrew Borthwick (Wey Valley) was Dorset's third runner home. The team
In the Inter Boys race, Colin McCourt (Portchester) ran
brilliantly for second place. With
Chris Hillier (Bryanston) in 10th place, the team finished 4th. Richard Beasley ( Thomas Hardye) improved greatly on his
county performance, finishing 18th and third Dorset runner home.
In terms of the team results, the best was saved for last.
With seven runners in the first fifteen finishers, the team title was never in
doubt, and this was without the county champion who was struck down with flu two
days before the race. St. Peter's provided the first two Dorset runners: Chris
Parr worked through the field to finish an excellent 6th, while one place
behind, Tom Oliver began to show the kind of form of which he is capable.
Will Pearson (Corfe Hills) and Joe Lane (Poole Grammar) followed in quick
succession in 9th and 10th while only 14 seconds covered Christian Clement (Bournemouth
College), Tom Hayball (Colfox) and Laurie Copper (Milton Abbey) in 13th, 14th
and 15 positions.
Overall, Dorset finished 3rd county of the seven participants, beaten only by the much larger Devon and Avon (both of whom are larger B category counties). Somerset, Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire were left well behind. This was one of the best overall performances of recent years and most of these athletes will be representing their county in the National Schools Championships in Chelmsford early next month.