ON Saturday all three teams from Ermysted’s Grammar School ran in this year’s final of the English Schools’ Cross-Country Cup, almost on home soil, as they only had the short trip to the Grammar School at Leeds.

Over 2000 teams from more than 600 Schools had entered this year’s competition, where Ermysted’s had set out in October in the North Yorkshire Preliminary Round. All three teams had won at Giggleswick to become unofficial county champions. They then ran in Middlesbrough in one of 9 Regional semi-finals where the top three teams progressed to the final. In those races all three of the school’s teams were runners-up with individuals George Marsh being runner up in the Junior event and Tom Hooper winning the Intermediate race.

George Marsh is running well, at the moment, having recently won the Harrogate & Craven Area Championships and a recent West Yorkshire League event for his club. He was a little caught out by the cavalry charge start but after the start lap had joined at the back of of the chasing group as the eventual winner had already stolen a march on the field. The Juniors only ran one large lap so there was little time for George to get back in contention but he had a fine run to do just that. Approaching the finish he was up into 5th and only about 15 yards off third place. His sprint nearly caught them on the line but he had to settle for an outstanding 5th place in the national final with the same time as third place.

Will Pease was next home in a very creditable 45th of the 162 runners in the final but their team-mates were badly affected by illness. Their usual next counters were both off school during the week and instead of being up with Will were outside the top 100. Will Oakden was next home in 118th and their final scorer was 119th giving the team total of 287 points only good enough for 20th of the 27 schools in the final. This was a little disappointing for the lads who knew that on a good day they would have been well inside the top ten. The non-scorers were Isaac Reeday 124th and Seth Box 132nd. It was hard to take on the day but they know age is on their side and hopefully their time will come.

Ermysted’s Intermediate team had 2 individuals hoping to challenge at the sharp end of the race. Tom Hooper who had won at Middlesbrough and Ewen Wilkinson who had been third in the previous round. Tom and Ewen both had a decent start and were at the tail end of a large leading group as they set off on the start of their two-lap race. Tom kept pushing and as the runners were ending the first lap he had moved up into third place. Tom was leading what was still a big group and was overtaken by a few on the second lap but still held on for an impressive 11th place with Ewen battling on for 28th. Next home was Matthew Snowden 100th and completing their team was Oliver Goodwin in 119th. Their team total of 258 points gave them 17th team. Their non-scorers were Lucas Smith 130th and Seth Linacre 137th.

The strength of Ermysted’s Senior team is their packing. Only 6 places separated their four scorers at Middlesbrough and they literally came home in procession at the recent Harrogate & Craven Championships. As in those events Sam Bentham led the challenge with 41st place, closely followed by Lachlan Wills 43rd, Dougie Segger-Staveley 55th and Samesh Chotai 86th. Their total of just 225 points was excellent and gained them a coveted top ten place as they were 9th of the 27 teams in the final. Their non-scorers were Oscar Smyth 114th and Nathan Hird 121st.