ERMYSTED'S Grammar School and Skipton Girls High School had both of their teams qualify for the final of the English Schools’ Cross-Country Cup.

More than 1,500 teams from 500 schools entered the competition in October.

Each of the schools had managed to get both of their teams into the last 27 with SGHS inters team being crowned champions of the North East Region.

As well as team aspirations, the girls also had high hopes for Alice Jones who – like Ermysted’s Alex Thompson – had won the North Yorkshire and North East of England qualifiers.

The final sees the best three school teams of six runners, from each of nine geographical regions, compete on the day.

Thompson set off amongst the 162 runners in the cavalry charge start. As they got to the hilly section on the first of two laps he was one of the front-runners and looked comfortable on each of the climbs as the leaders were whittled down to a group of six.

As they returned to the hilly section on the second lap he made his bid for glory. Thompson ran superbly to win by a full 12 seconds.

His team-mates didn’t have the best of runs with Jath Lee coming 75th, Ben Rees 95th and Donnabhan Rudden 114th for a team total good enough for 20th of the 27 teams.

However, it is important to note that without their efforts and those of non-scorers Hamish Wills (135th) and Andrew Robinson (143rd), Thompson wouldn’t have competed in the final.

Skipton Girls’ intermediate team had two chances as both Jones and the team had won at Middlesbrough.

Jones was leading the way round the first lap. The decisive action at the head of the race was again on the hilly section of lap two when three runners pulled away with Jones eventually finishing third.

Lilli Carr helped set up Skipton Girls’ team for a great score as she worked her way up to sixth place.

The team of four was completed when Harisah Ghafoor and Emma Peel returned. They too had come through the field to finish well up the runners in 40th and 46th place respectively for a great total of just 95 points.

A score under 100 can win in a final but on this occasion there were three schools ahead of them. Non-scorers Mia Petrucci (97th) and Hannah Jackson (125th) can also be pleased with their efforts.

Each of the younger teams had done well to get to the final, coming third in their respective regional rounds.

Ermysted’s had Freddie Marsh spearheading their challenge. He won the previous Thursday in a local school race but it showed the standard of the final as he came back in 64th, with Oscar Smyth 69th, Finlay Petrucci 111th, Sam Bentham 115th, Aryaan Ghafoor 119th and Lachlan Wills 152nd.

Skipton Girls had a similar experience in their race as Hannah Robinson came back in 108th, Megan Wilkinson 129th, Elsa Birch 130th, Emily Butcher 155th and Kate Boumphrey 157th.