Athletics: Hallamshire stumble but it’s silver for Rotherham at Northern Cross Country Championships

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Hallamshire had too many key runners missing to get among the medals in the senior events at the Northern Cross Country Championships at Knowsley on Saturday but Rotherham were excellent value for team silver in the women’s race.

Individually Hatti Archer had a great run to finish runner up to Leeds City’s Claire Duck. A former winner of this event, this was possibly Archer’s best performance since her break from top competition to have her first child but Duck stole a march on her at the start and the Hallamshire runner was never able to get on terms.

Hallamshire, with Zanthe Wray (13th) and Nicola Squires, 35th, were sixth in the team race. Although not at full strength, Rotherham excelled to finish runners up behind Leeds City. They were led by recent recruit Sophie Cowper, 11th with Zara Knappy, 24th, Emma Parkinson, 28th and Natasha Hatswell, 30th.

In the men’s race, won by Derby’s Ben Connor, Hallamshire were seventh with Steve Bayton, 7th, Dave Archer, 15th and Rob Little, 22nd, running particularly well whilst Rotherham were ninth.

Condition underfoot were difficult, to put it mildly, with heavy mud and very little fast running.

At junior (under 20) level, Joe Massingham (Rotherham) was an excellent sixth in the men’s race whilst Imani Wilson (Hallamshire) was 12th in the women’s and there was even better news for South Yorkshire athletes in the under 17 age group. Yorkshire champion Mya Taylor confirmed her outstanding form in the women’s race with a gritty performance which saw her outsprint the runner up in the tightest finish of the day. It was all the more praiseworthy because Taylor is at the bottom end of the age group.

The under 17 men’s event City of Sheffield and Dearne won the team race. Connor Henderson led them home in eighth place and he was well supported by Joseph Newman-Billington 11th, Alfie Manthorpe, 20th and Matthew Fuller, 39th to give them a good cushion over Liverpool Pembroke.

In the under 15 girls race Hallamshire took the silver medals through Jodie Hill, 11, Eve Crownshaw, 19, Laura Trusk, 21 and Holly Booker, 54, whilst in the boys race Barnsley’s Scott Nutter was 14th.

It was no surprise to see Hallamshire win the under 13 girls race. They have an outstanding squad and were led in Saturday’s race by Ruby Simpson, 5th. With Ella Shipley, 10th, Georgia Robertson, 13th and Zena Hartley, 32nd they finished comfortably clear of Sale.

In the under 13 boys race Joseph Currie (Chesterfield) was fourth and Jed Darley (Hallamshire), 12th.

Liam Ramsay (City of Sheffield and Dearne) finished eighth in the heptathlon competing for team GB in an international meeting in Prague over the weekend. Competing against athletes from Poland, France, Spain and the Czech Republic,he scored 5618 points. Aiden Davies (Doncaster) finished eleventh with 5512, a personal best.

John Lane (City of Sheffield) was selected for team GB but had to pull out due to injury.

In the junior competition, Joe Hobson (City of Sheffield) finished 12th with 4893