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Aldershot, Farnham and District AC

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AFD Ladies retain National Cross Country Relays Title

Mike Neighbour

Aldershot Farnham & District’s runners retained the senior women’s title in the English Cross Country Relay Championships at Mansfield on Saturday. Emelia Gorecka put them ahead, having taken over from Katie Bingle who was seven seconds off the lead when third on the first leg. One place and thirteen seconds behind Bingle was Claire Duck, last season’s national bronze medallist, for Leeds City whose Stevie Stockton (37th in the World championships of 2011) followed Gorecka through to the silver-medal position, although ending up a further nineteen seconds back. Leeds were nearly a minute down after Emily Hosker-Thornhill had anchored AFD to their victory. The B team of Phily Bowden, Jo Harvey and Laura Gent was seventh.

The club’s under-17 men also moved from third to first on the second leg before securing the gold medals. Luke van Oudtshoorn took over from Marcus Shantry and handed over to Max Heyden who finished seventeen seconds clear of runners-up Cambridge & Coleridge. AFD’s two wins were augmented by a couple of near misses. Their senior men were put into second by Ellis Cross, following legs by Josh Grace and Gus Cockle, but Jonny Hay’s duel with Chris Olley, a fellow GB international, resulted in gold for Tonbridge and a set of silver medals for AFD. The club’s B team of Ben Bradley, Macgregor Cox, Ricky Harvie and Dane Blomquist came eighth.

Ethan Scott set off on the anchor leg of the u13 boys’ event in sixth place and caught James Bowen who had taken Kendal into the lead but the latter, third in the opening UK cross challenge meeting last month, counter-attacked for a winning margin of one second and AFD, whose trio also comprised Daniel Shattock and Rudi Morrell, had to settle for silver. There were no bronze medals for the club but the junior women (Maisie Grice, Eugenie Cockle and Niamh Brown) were fifth, the u15 boys (Ed Henderson, Ryan Martin and Dylan Spencer) sixth and the u15 girls (Ruby Horton, Alice Garner and Pippa Roessler) seventh.