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13 December 2018

Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships Report

After several days of rain, the course for the Greater Manchester Cross Country Championships at the aptly-named Boggart Hole Clough was very muddy.
With selections for the County team being made largely on the results of these championships, most of the top local athletes were taking part.
First off were the Under 13 Boys. Led home, as usual, by Charlie Atkiss in 6th place, the other two counters of Sonny Wilson (12th) and James Walton (15th) were unlucky to miss out on the team medals by one point. Josh Watson (21st), Ralf Syrett (22nd), Joseph Daly (23rd), Albie Durance (28th) and Zack Watson (28th) all packed well behind them.
Three Trafford girls took part in the Under 13 Girls race. Finding the conditions very tough, Freya Griffiths finished in 34th place, just ahead of Cleo Bentall (36th) and Olivia Russell (46th). They were 9th A team.
A shortage of athletes, combined with injuries and illnesses, once again meant we were unable to field a complete Under 15 boys team. However, Jonny Stock (15th) and Ned Silvey (20th) tackled the very heavy course successfully.
The Under 15 Girls fared better. They had hoped to get among the medals, but were unlucky to finish as 4th A team. A great run by Caitlin Doohan brought her home in 9th place. The other 4 girls then had their own private battle with Neve Davenport finishing 21st, Lila Wainwright 23rd, Olivia Russell 24th and Sinead O'Driscoll 26th.
The best Trafford team performance, once again, went to the Under 17 men. They won the team title for the 7th time in 8 years. Cynog Williams gained his first county title in winning the race, just ahead of Joe Bentall in 2nd. With Alex Bailey 6th, they equalled the lowest ever score in the history of these championships. The other natable factor was that Trafford finished 10 runners in an age group which often suffers from a drop-off in numbers. Our other finishers were Lewis Royle (11th), Theo Symons Treacher (12th), Harry Sinclair (13th), Alfie Vesey-Barnes (17th), Joe Mangan (19th), Andy Hill (21st) and Seb Patrick (23rd).
In the equivalent girls age group, we had Rebecca Young once again 'flying the flag' in a solid 12th place.
The final junior race with a Trafford involvement was the Under 20 men. Even though this was the longest race of the young athletes events, it had the closest and most exciting finish. After more than 4 miles of deep mud and heavy rain, Mac O'Malley managed to retain his title by a matter of inches, being awarded the same time as the 2nd placed athlete. Trafford's other athlete in this race, Jack Wilkinson, finished in 6th place after a heavy fall in the woods, but managed to set up a record as the first athlete ever to make the county team for 7 consecutive years.
Most of the athletes will now enter a period of hard training over the festive season in preparation for several more championship races in the New Year.
Neil Canham

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