Bristol & West's women take team title at Budleigh Salterton meeting
AS far as Bristol & West AC team manager Mike Down was concerned it was mission accomplished at the 2013 South West Club & Inter County Cross Country Championships.
"We came here to make a statement by winning both the men's and women's team events and we have done just that," said a delighted Down.
"And we have also done that not on our home patch but here in Devon. We wanted to prove that we are the top cross country club in the South West and I think the results speak for themselves."
The club certainly stamped their authority on the senior men's race as they not only beat Taunton AC by 38 points, but also provided the overall winner in Tom Merson and runner-up with Owain Jones, the recently-crowned Avon champion.
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"I am really chuffed to win my first England Athletics gold medal and I have to be really happy with that," said Merson.
"It was very hard and I am feeling pretty tired. That is my first race on the country for a while (since the English Relays in November 2011) so I wasn't sure what to expect but I like this course and I knew if I reached the final hill in the lead I would be okay."
Proving support for the top two were Andy Chambers in seventh, Daniel Edmund an excellent 15th in a rare outing on the country and finally junior Kieran Young in 23rd, just ahead of top veteran Phil Parry.
In the women's race, Bristol & West's winning team was led by Jenny Jagger, who ran an excellent tactical race to come through strongly for fourth overall and third senior women just behind Wiltshire junior Imogen Wolsey.
"I have done a few off-road races but that's my first cross country race of the season, so I am really pleased with that," said Jagger."It is also brilliant that we have won the women's team prize as well."
Jagger was given solid support by Marie Kirton, Julia Belyavin and Viv McConnell to give Bristol & West a narrow three points advantage over Taunton AC.
Also in the senior women's race, there was a fine run by Westbury Harriers' Emma D'Alton in fifth while North Somerset AC's Flo Dannah continued her fine season with seventh place.
Finally, the Bristol & West men also won the Mob Match title for the club with the first 12 runners across the finish line scoring 311 points to finish well clear of Wells City Harriers (672 points) and Exmouth Harriers (1,003). Sadly, the women were left one runner shy of the eight otherwise would have easily beaten Exmouth Harriers.
"Overall it was an excellent day," added Down.
England Athletics South West Club & Inter County Cross Country Championships, Bicton College, Budleigh Salterton east Devon: Senior men: 1 Tom Merson (B&W) 26:59; 2 Owain Jones (B&W) 27:03 3 Nathan Young (Wells) 27:15; 4 Rowan Preece (Taun, U20) 27:36; 5 Luke Scott (Taun) 27:40; 6 Steve Gallienne (Bide) 27:43; 7 Andy Chambers (B&W) 27:56; 8 James Denne (Exe) 27:57; 9 Jim Cole (Tavi) 28:3; 10 Jamie Coles (Taun, U20) 28:07. Teams – clubs: 1 Bristol & West AC 48; 2 Taunton AC 86; 3 Exeter Harriers 110. Counties: 1 Devon 57; 2 Somerset 60; 3 Dorset 137. Mob match (12 to score); 1 B&W 311; 2 Wells 717; 3 Exmouth 994. Under-20 men: 1 Preece; 2 Coles; 3 Alex Hill (TBAC) 28:15. Counties: 1 Somerset 18; 2 Cornwall 36; 3 Devon 54. Senior women: 1 Emma Stepto (CAC, W35) 25:15; 2 Catherine Blew (Taun) 25:28 3 Imogen Wolsey (TBAC, U20) 25:36; 4 Jenny Jagger (B&W) 25:48; 5 Emma D'Alton (WH, W35) 26:02; 6 Beccy Tipping (B,ham Uni) 26:07; 7 Flo Dannah (NSAC, W35) 26:13; 8 Ami Yetton (Ply H) 26:37; 9 Sian Thomas (Chiltern) 26:43; 10 Rachel Langbein (Taun, U20) 26:46. Teams – clubs: 1 Bristol & West AC 50; 2 Taunton AC 53; 3 Cornwall AC 77. Counties: 1 Cornwall 28; 2 Devon 36; 3 Wiltshire 55. Mob match (8 to score): 1 Exmouth Harriers 456. Under-20 women: 1 Wolsey; 2 Langbein; 3 Naomi Webber (TBAC) 27:46.