A SKIPTON school's juniors team qualified for the national final of the English Schools’ Cross-Country Cup.

Ermysted’s junior team came a close third at the North East England round at Middlesbrough’s Stewart Park and qualified for the national final, which will take place at Spinkhill Academy, Derbyshire, in December.

The Ermysted's team had won at Queen Margaret’s School, Escrick, but with quite a high points score they were going to have to run well to confirm a place in the final.

The team was well placed after the cavalry charge start, with Sam Bentham well to the fore and Tom Hooper and Ewen Wilkinson inside the top ten.

There was then a gap to Joe Greening and Lachlan Wills, who were just outside the top 20.

On the second of the two laps, Sam Bentham ran on well for fifth, whilst Wilkinson continued his excellent recent form to finish eighth, which was one place higher than he managed in the previous round.

Tom Hooper lost a few places at the end for 14th but Joe Greening ran on well in 21st. Their team total of 48 points meant comfortable qualification, but slight disappointment as they were just four points behind the winners and two adrift of second place.

Wills in 25th finished well and Finlay Petrucci ran on to come 37th of the 57 finishers.

In the juniors girls race, both South Craven and Skipton Girls teams had made it Middlesbrough and both had outside chances of making the final.

The South Craven trio of Layla Kirkley, Olivia Aldham and Alice O’Sullivan all battled around the top ten on the first lap and ran on well to finish ninth, 12th and 15th, respectively.

Their final counter was Mollie Smith in 47th for a good total of 83 points, but heartbreakingly for the school third team had just one point less and so the girls just missed out on a national final.

Skipton Girls Grammar School had Lucille Pickles spearheading their challenge and she had a great run as she came fifth, no mean achievement as a Year 7 in a Year 8 and 9 age group.

Her teammates battled hard with Megan Wilkinson and Hannah Robinson inside the top 20 and Chloe Boothman about 30th.

Unfortunately for the girls, Robinson had to drop out on the second lap with a knee injury. Wilkinson finished strongly in 17th, Boothman was 31st and Jessica Fox 39th for a total of 92 points, but they too missed out on the final.

SGHS non-scorer was Ava Onoszko in 50th, and bearing in mind all but Wilkinson in this team were Y7 runners they should have a great chance of making the final next year.

The last race saw the Ermysted Inter Boys in action. Their team is strong without having any superstars and they started on the first of their three laps with Donnabhan Rudden, Dougie Segger-Staveley and Andrew Robinson all around 20th with Freddie Marsh about ten places back.

A score of 70 or lower is usually needed to reach the final and they were going to miss out unless they could all make a few places.

Over the last two laps, Rudden and Segger-Staveley hung on well to finish 19th and 21st.

Robinson showed improving stamina to hold on to 28th, with Marsh 33rd and non-scorer Oscar Smyth came a creditable 40th of the 60 runners.

Their total was too many to qualify for the final, but like SGHS’s juniors, most of this team have another chance next year when they will be top of their age group.