The final fixture of the 2016-17 Gwent League was hosted in the fantastic location of Pembury Country Park. The course had something for everyone including long fast straights, sand dunes, hills and of course the wind and rain to contend with. Going into the last fixture North Somerset AC had a number of individuals and teams that were in medal contention after the previous four rounds. The breadth of clubs within this league is demonstrated by the number of miles the club have travelled to compete this year totalling nearly 600 miles from Bridgend to Brecon to Bristol to Newport and then finally Carmenthenshire.
The success of the club this year was led by the boys with three individual league winners in Joe Gentry in the under 20’s, Callum Smith in the under 17’s and Sam Gentry in the under 15’s. Joe also led the under 20’s to a second place in the team competition. There was disappointment for both the under 17 boys and under 13 girls who lost out to a bronze medal both finishing in fourth place.
19 athletes made the near five hour round trip with many having their best runs of the season, In the under 11 boys race Sam Holloway (43rd), Jacob Forsbrook (54) and Elliott Jeston (58) raced well in a very fast paced race. In the girls race Keira Devereux maintained her performances from throughout the season to finish in 8th which left her in the top ten individuals over the season, She led home Poppy Adams (25) with the potential for more from all five of these under 11’s.
Just one under 13 boy made the trek with Louis Brunsdon finishing in 35th. In the girls race six athletes girls made the journey with Ella Johnston leading them home in 13th followed by Steph Brooks (19), Holly Avery (36), Alysha Forsbrook (37), Isabella Clark (40) and Connie Ballentine (41).
Sam Gentry maintained his recent excellent performance with a victory, which left him level on points with his rival from Westbury Harriers for the individual competition with the result being based on their positions in this race gave Same the title, with Jack Wilkinson running well to finish in 7th. Just two girls also competed with Meg McCrum finishing in 7 leaving her in the same position in the individual competition, Ruth Day followed her home in 14th.
Callum Smith finished in 7th position in the under 17’s but this was good enough to give him the overall title. Just two under 20 men made the journey with Dave Warnes finishing in 3rd place enough to leave in the 6th individual for the season just beating Joe Gentry who did enough to secure the title.
No senior men competed in this fixture but the club had enough points secured from the previous four fixtures and maintained their second place which should secure them promotion to Division 2 for next season.
With just the Inter-counties and English Schools to be completed in this has been a successful season for the cross country teams and it is exciting to see what these performances can be transferred onto the track during the 2017 season.