Jonathan Thewlis returns to retain county title at Lightwater Valley

Ilkley's Tom Adams.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Ilkley's Tom Adams. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
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Jonathan Thewlis retained his senior title at the Yorkshire Cross Country Championships at Lightwater Valley, Ripon, on Saturday.

A former Rotherham runner, Thewlis now runs for Notts AC but retains his Yorkshire allegiance.

He made a late decision to defend his title and looked comfortable throughout on the tough course made more difficult by some heavy mud in parts.

With Thewlis going clear, Tom Adams (Ilkley), the West Yorkshire League champion, concentrated his attention on the silver medal and produced a strong second half to get away from Hallamshire’s Steve Bayton, bronze medallist for the second successive year, and Leeds City veteran Alan Buckley, last year’s runner up.

Buckley led Leeds City to a successful defence of their team title, supported by Dominic Easter (7th), Jason Cherriman (8th), Mike Burrett (10th), Josh Woodcock-Shaw (13th) and Michael Salter (19th). Hallamshire gave a spirted performance for second place. With Dave Archer (5th) and Connor Milnes (6th) supporting Bayton well, and with Andy Challenger finishing 14th, the Sheffield club were matching Leeds with four runner home.

Leeds City’s Claire Duck won her first county cross country title in the women’s race with a commanding performance. After Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw had made the early running, Duck stamped her authority on the race. There was a brief spell around the halfway mark when her Leeds team-mate Susan Partridge started to close the gap but Duck was running well within herself and went away to win by 23 seconds with Walshaw isolated in third place.

Rotherham won the team title for the fourth successive year, despite a weakened team. They were led by Sam Johnson (10th) with Jess Fawcett (12th), Emma Parkinson (16th) and Fiona Davies (20th) combining to beat Holmfirth by 14 points.

The under-20 runners started with the seniors but did one lap fewer. Emile Cairess (Leeds City) and Bronwen Owen (Scarborough) were outstanding, winning their races by wide margins and showing that they were well capable of finishing in the medals against the seniors.

The standard in the younger age groups was high. Alice Moore (Barnsley AC) looked particularly impressive in winning the under-17 women’s race whilst National under-13 champion Tommy Dawson (Leeds City) was again outstanding.

There was an upset in the under-15 girls race when previously unbeaten Tilly Simpson (Hallamshire) finished seventh. Harrogate’s Anna Beever went on to win.