- Phil Pape
Kent XC Champs – Juniors
Matthew Francis and Tom Simpson came home first and second in the U15 boys race to top some outstanding performances for the club’s junior members.
The day got off to an encouraging start with Ailbhe Barnes finishing 4th in the U13 girls. Backed up by Anna Blincoe 38th and Hannah Hopper 39 the team finished 5th. In the U13 boys Alex Macheath was unlucky to get spiked half way round when lying 8th. He gamely fought the pain to come home 34th just behind debutant Ethan Fiore, who only turned 11 at the end of December, with Freddy Nordgren not far behind in 43rd.
Lilly Newton put her Kent League troubles behind her to finish 4th in the U15 girls with Lara Atkinson not far behind in 11th. With Renay Thomas 28th the team were 5th. Matthew Francis dominated the U15 boys race staying in the leading pack until just before half distance then taking off and going away stylishly to his first county title. Tom Simpson had a harder job to hold off James Stoney of Tonbridge for second with a strong finish. Nicholas Jordan ran well for 44th.
In the U17 girls race Ella Newton matched her sister position with 4th, followed in by Ciara Mitchell in 24th and Sophie Fenner 25th for 4th team. Noah Armitage-Hookes returning to his best came 5th in the U17 boys after a good tussle with James Puxty. An improving Reece Miles was 24th, Kieran Harmsworth 38th and John Christopher 40th saw the team in 4th. In the U20 mens race Roderick Cookey was 20th.