Hallamshire athletes tipped to be ‘second best’

Team man: Dave Archer is a key part of the Hallamshire squad tomorrow.            Picture: James Hardisty

Team man: Dave Archer is a key part of the Hallamshire squad tomorrow. Picture: James Hardisty

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South Yorkshire teams will be looking for team and individual medals at tomorrow’s Northern Cross Country Championships at Pontefract.

In the men’s race Hallamshire were silver medallists last year and have every chance of a repeat performance. Whilst unlikely to challenge Leeds City, they have a strong squad who will compete fiercely to get into the counting six.

Rob Little, Andy Thake, Rob Baker, Tom Jenkins, Dave Archer and Andy Challenger were the counting six in the team that finished second to Leeds in the recent Yorkshire Championships and all are expected to line up at Pontefract along with Joe Gratton who was third in the Derbyshire Championships.

It is a full strength Hallamshire line up apart from Andy Heyes who is in America and John Rocke who is injured.

Hatti Dean misses the race due to a UK Athletics training camp in Kenya but Hallamshire could still challenge for medals in the women’s race. They expect to have Lizzie Adams who is in good enough form to challenge for an individual medal whilst Nicola Squires is also running well.

Rotherham, led by Jade Allen, were silver medallists in the Yorkshire Championships and should do well again.

Yorkshire under 17 champion Tom Bains (Hallamshire) and Joshua Naisbitt (City of Sheffield) will be looking to add Northern success to their Yorkshire wins.

Yorkshire runner up Calli Thackery (Hallamshire) is expected to be among the leaders in the junior (under 20) women’s race. Hallamshire’s Fiona Bell, third in last year’s under 17 race, is in the same age group again.

She may find her biggest challenge coming from her Hallamshire team mate Natalia Hackett, in her first year in the age group.

Hackett was forced to miss the Yorkshire Championship due to illness.

In the youngest age group, the under 13s, Imani Wilson (Hallamshire) is a strong contender.

With team mates Mary McCarthy and Maddie Pearce also likely to be highly placed, Hallamshire have a great chance of a team victory.

City of Sheffield are Yorkshire team champions in the under 17 women and under 15 boys sections and will be looking for more medals at Northern level.

Jessica Ennis has confirmed that she won’t be competing for Great Britain at this weekend’s international match in Glasgow against the USA, Russia, Germany and the Bahamas.

Ennis, aged 26, will return to action next weekend at Sheffield’s English Institue of Sport for the UK Indoor Championships and World Indoor Championship trials as she prepares for the World Indoors in March.

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