The second fixture of the Wessex Cross Country League took place in the magnificent grounds of Bryanston School, Blandford on Sunday 30 October, and the first fixture of the Hampshire Cross Country League went ahead at Aldershot on Saturday 12 November. 

The Wessex fixture also doubled as the County Cross Country Championship, although it had been necessary for athletes to enter the championship separately from the league, with the result that many who ran at Bryanston, who hadn’t entered, didn’t count for the championship. There had been heavy rain earlier in the day, which fortunately more or less stopped for the races, and the rain didn’t have too much of an impact on the going, which remained reasonably firm.

BAC’s ladies – Debbie Lennon, Elissa Clark, Jayne Wade, Kirsty Drewett and Helen Ambrosen


There were some outstanding results amongst the 36 BAC athletes who competed, but credit must go to everyone who attended and and ran and flew the BAC flag, and also to the coaches, parents, etc., especially Simon Hearn and Simon Saunders, who once again came along with the BAC tent, providing a base and a refuge, without which the whole experience of cross country running would be very much diminished.  Thanks, too, to Debbie Lennon and Jayne Wade, who provided delicious cakes to look forward to whilst running!

Seb Crowe in full flight

There were wins, second and third places in virtually all of the younger age group races, with Finley Hurst Atkins third U11B, Isla May second U11G and Seni Purnell and Albha O’Brien first and second U13Gs respectively with one second separating them!  Combining her second place with her win at the first fixture at Canford, Albha is now leading the aggregate U13G league table.  Amy Betts, who was fifth at Bryanston, is second aggregate in the table.  In addition, Seni and Albha both took the trouble to enter the County Championship, which earned them County Gold and Silver Medals respectively – well done Seni and Albha Isabel Cherrett was second U15G and, combining this with her result at Canford, Isabel is top of the U15G aggregate table.  BAC fielded a very strong U17M team, with Hugo Richardson finishing second and Seb Crowe fourth.  Seb also had entered the County Championship, and earned himself a bronze medal.  The U17M team was completed by Sam Brewer (with Nathan Mearns close behind just in case) and the team not only won on the day, but is first aggregate in the table.  There were no fewer than 9 BAC athletes competing in the senior/veteran mens’ race, which is unusual for this league – long may it continue!  Although a guest runner was the first over the line, not counting in the results, the first, second and third athletes in the race itself were all BAC, in the form of Rob McTaggart, Szymon Chojnacki and Richard Brawn, so that BAC would be the winning team on the day was beyond question.  BAC‘s veteran mens’ team, consisting of Szymon, Richard and Chris O’Brien, was also the winning veteran team on the day.  BAC‘s senior and veteran women were no less impressive, with Debbie Lennon finishing second and Kirsty Drewett fourth in their race.  Elissa Clark completed the senior womens’ team – the winning team on the day.  The veteran womens’ team of Debbie and Kirsty, completed by Helen Ambrosen was also the winning team on the day.  Debbie and Kirsty are first and second aggregate respectively in the league table after two races, and both had entered the County Championship, earning themselves gold and silver medals – well done!

Rob McTaggart on his way to victory

So it can be said to have been a successful day for BAC, and hopefully the momentum can be maintained for the final fixture at Canford School on 18 December.

Richard Brawn completing BAC’s winning team

Full BAC results at Bryanston are as follows: U11B: 3. Finley Hurst Atkins 6.47, 13. Aiden Blagden 7.50, 15. Edward King 7.59; U11G: 2. Isla May 7.22, 5. Mabel Jundi 7.40; U13B: 4. Austin Riley 11.17; U13G: 1. Seni Purnell 11.11, 2. Albha O’Brien 11.12, 5. Amy Betts 11.55, 6. Clodagh O’Brien 11.57, 12. Constance King 12.37; U15B: 6. Harry Butcher 13.37, 9. Oliver Thompson 14.16; U15G: 2. Isabel Cherrett 13.55, 10. Matilde Blagden 15.25, 14. Elizabeth Davie, 16. Laras McKenna 16.15; U17M: 2. Hugo Richardson 15.03, 4. Seb Crowe 15.20, 6. Sam Brewer 16.37, 8. Nathan Mearns 17.32; U17W: 7. Emily Coltman 18.59, 12. Mariah Marshall 21.17; S/VM: 1. Rob McTaggart, 2. Szymon Chojnacki 31.41, 3. Richard Brawn 32.26, 13. George Biggs 34.57, 15. Patrick McCalister 35.57, 19. Chris O’Brien 37.27, 32. Jud Kirk 40.07, 40. Geoffrey Newton 43.46, 47. Ian Graham 51.39; S/VW: 2. Debbie Lennon, 4. Kirsty Drewett 29.18, 14. Elissa Clark, 20. Helen Ambrosen 35.16, 23. Jayne Wade 39.42.

Chris O’Brien ensures that BAC’s VM team wins

Helen Ambrosen – one lap to go

Jud Kirk – is it a smile or a grimace?

Jayne Wade starts her last lap

Geoffrey Newton totally belies his years

The Hampshire Cross Country League fixture at Aldershot was unusual in that the weather was warm and sunny, and the going firm, as opposed to the pouring rain and mud everywhere which normally applies at this venue.  A total of 22 BAC athletes competed in age groups ranging from U11 to senior/veteran, with a number of outstanding runs.  In the U13 girls’ race Constance King was 17th in a field of 54, and Connor Grocott was 12th of 56 U13 boys. Hugo Richardson is in very good form at the moment, as was clear from his 10th position in the U17 mens’ race in which BAC fielded a full team, with Massimo Lawson, Harry Dolman and Nathan Mearns supporting Hugo.  The team finished 7th of 8 complete teams, but it is worth remembering that the vast majority of competing clubs did not manage to produce a team at all.  Another athlete in good form is Rob McTaggart, who finished an astonishing 27th (of 296), leading a senior mens’ team of Stuart Nicholas, Craig Palmer, Richard Brawn and Barry Dolman, the team placing 8th of 10 teams in Division 1 of the league. Richard and Barry also scored for the veteran mens’ team, which was completed by Patrick Kingston and was placed 10th of 19 complete veteran teams.  So it was a reasonable start to the Hampshire Cross Country season, but hopefully there will be stronger BAC representation at subsequent fixtures, particularly the next one, a home fixture at Kings Park on 3 December.

Full BAC results at Aldershot are as follows: U11B: 28. Ted Fewings 7.06; U13B: 12. Connor Grocott 11.49; U13G: 17. Constance King 13.03; U15B: 44. Scott Grocott 18.35, 47. James Davie 19.25; U15G: 29. Matilde Blagden 19.23, 31. Elizabeth Davie 19.36; U17M: 10. Hugo Richardson 21.58, 31. Massimo Lawson 24.00, 34. Harry Dolman 24.47, 35. Nathan Mearns 24.56; S/VM: 27. Rob McTaggart 33.52, 59. Stuart Nicholas 35.29, 62. Craig Palmer 35.57, 101. (14th veteran) Richard Brawn 37.39, 140. (31st veteran) Barry Dolman 39.11, 189. George Biggs 41.15, 200. (62nd veteran) Patrick Kingston 41.46, 257. (105th veteran) Jud Kirk 46.12, 284. (128th veteran) Tim Hughes 51.11; S/VW: 115. (30th veteran) Kirsty Drewett 29.10, 180. (71st veteran) Jayne Wade 38.05.

Nathan Mearns, Hugo Richardson and Massimo Lawson

Kirsty Drewett enjoys the unusually balmy conditions at Aldershot

Jayne Wade – ever present supporting her club at cross country

Jud Kirk and Tim Hughes smiling after his first XC