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Anglian Trophy Success for Harriers

The Harriers enjoyed a superb Anglian Trophy, with 12 of the squad securing qualification to the most prestigious Cross Country race of the season, English Schools Championships being held for the second successive year at Temple Newsam Park in Leeds. The completion against some strong teams comprising of the best athletes from Lincs, Cambs, Suffolk and Norfolk is used as the final selection opportunity for the Northants Schools team for Junior (U15), Intermediate (U17), and Senior (U19) age groups, and was held at a bitterly cold Abington Park over a challenging & tricky course with frozen patches in places. With the top 7 Northants finishers guaranteed qualification, and 8th place open to consideration from any appeals there was a great incentive to battle for an automatic place.

The Harriers squad of 22 who qualified from County Schools 2 weeks earlier acquitted themselves well in the conditions with x2 medallist, U19 Emily Williams who secured a fine Silver medal & U15 Alice Bates who continued her terrific start to the year with a Bronze medal, the two standout performances of the day.

Emily Williams enjoyed a much better performance than the Midland Counties a week earlier with a very strong performance which saw her complete the 4.2km course in 15:30 for a Superb Silver medal. Williams who was again a class apart in the County competition, was in battle with Cambs Shannon Flockhart who have enjoyed some titanic battles over the years, with England International Flockhart just proving too strong on this occasion and taking the title in 14:59. Williams was happy with her performance in the final race before the upcoming x3 National Championships which start in 3 weeks time and will see out the Cross Country season. Also running in the senior girls race were Jen Robinson & Olivia Knibb who finished in 48th &57th place respectively.

Emily Williams top finisher on the day with a superb Silver Medal in the U19G race

Alice Bates has been in terrific form in 2019 and she enjoyed a superb race to secure a Bronze medal, her highest ever placing in this competition. Bates enjoyed a fine battle with Suffolk’s Ruby Vinton, the eventual winner, and Norfolk’s Hattie Reynolds over the 3.4km course and finished strongly to secure her Northants top position for English Schools in 13:00 dead. Soon to be club colleague Alice Bennett, a bottom year in the age group, put in a battelling performance despite enduring a race long stitch to finish in a fine 15th place (4th Northants) in 14:29 to secure her first qualification for English Schools. Josie Crick, a late reserve for Northants, ran well in 63rd place.

Alice Bates with her best finish in the Anglian Trophy, a fine Bronze medal

In the senior boys race triathlete Flynn Batkin, only back in training for 2 weeks following a broken arm incurred from a fall on his bike, showed he has been working hard to maintain fitness with a terrific run to finish in 4th place over the 6.7km course in 21:05, and top score for Northants. Josh Cannell ran well to finish in 39th place in 23:46 as 8th Northants scorer, and will have to wait to see if he has made the team.

There were three Harriers securing ES qualification in the Inter Boys U17 race over a tough 5.9km course. Dylan Bowley put in a great performance to finish in 10th place overall (2nd Northants) in 20:39 with bottom year Idayi Jumbe enjoying a fine race to finish in a very respectable 23rd overall, (4th Northants scorer) in 21:12 and in what was perhaps one of the grittiest performances of the day Josh Geddes put in a magnificent last effort over the final km to move from 10th place in the Northants race to 6th place and auto qualification, to finish the race in 40th place overall in 21:48. Callum Cox put in a fine performance to finish in 45th place (21:59) and 8th Northants finisher and will have to anxiously wait to see if there is an appeal from County Schools champion Fergus Scott? Josh Clutton didn’t enjoy his best race of the season and struggled to get going to finish in 62nd in 22:36.

U17B automatic qualifiers Idayi Jumbe (from 2nd right) Josh Geddes & Dylan Bowley

There were also three Harriers securing their first English Schools selection in the Junior boys race which saw them taking the first three positions with all three locked in battle at the finish and all recording an identical time of 15:33, Luke Cole top scoring over the 4.2km course with a terrific run in 22nd place, with Ben Brooker and Rio Carr also putting in a great performance in 23rd & 24th respectively. Unfortunately two bottom year Harriers did not secure qualification places, but Lucas Rogers & George Separovic put in respectable performances for 62nd & 63rd place respectively.

The final Harrier to secure automatic qualification for ES was bottom year U17 Freya Batkin who enjoyed a fine run over the 3.8km course to finish in a very respectable 36th place in 16:21, securing 6th automatic Northants qualification place.

The much improved Dylan White produced perhaps his best XC performance in the Minor Boys (U13) race with a brilliant run over the 2.9km course to finish in 8th place overall. White finished strongly over the last km, and especially in the finishing straight to close down the lead Northants athlete Arthur Tilt to just 2 seconds.

There was just one Harrier in the Minor girls race (U13) with bottom year Maggie Gancheva running a great race to finish in a very respectable 27th place.

Well done to all the Harriers competing.