By Pete Morris

TWENTY-SEVEN pupils from six secondary schools in the Vale were included in the 93 strong team which represented Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan district at the 58th Welsh Schools’ national cross-country championships.

The event has been held on the playing fields of Brecon High School since 2002, and, given the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the recent event may be the last Welsh Schools’ competition for some months.

Four of the Vale pupils claimed individual medals while eleven gained gold or silver team medals.

The top individual performance was set by Bethan Hardman. The Cowbridge year 9 shared the lead in the juniors girls’ race (for pupils in years 8 & 9) in the early stages with Cardiff & the Vale team-mate Sophie Knoyle (YG Plasmawr) before easing away to a comfortable 13 second win, her first ever Welsh Schools’ win.

There was a second medal for the Hardman family when Bethan’s older brother, Rhys (Cowbridge, year 11), prevented Dyfed from claiming a clean sweep of the individual medals in the final race of the afternoon – for middle boys in years 10 & 11 – by taking second place, thirteen seconds down on the winner Adam Beer.

The middle girls’ race was dominated by the defending champion, Samia Jones (Eryri), who finished nearly a minute ahead of her nearest rival, but pupils from Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg took the silver and bronze individual medals.

Last year, Gwenno Goode won the junior girls’ race at this event. On her debut in the middle section, she was no match for Samia but she did end up in a battle with her own year 11 school-mate Moli Lyons. Only one second separated the duo at the finish with Gwenno taking second, ahead of Moli.

In the team competitions, the Cardiff & the Vale teams won all all four girls’ sections – seniors (sixth form), middles, juniors and year 7 – for the second consecutive years.

There were no Vale pupils in the senior or year 7 girls’ teams but they made a significant contribution to the victories in the middle and junior sections.

Behind Bethan’s individual win in the junior race, Sophie Knoyle finished fifth and Iona Roderick (YG Glantaf, year 8) was eighth while Cowbridge pupils filled the final three scoring positions with Tara Nathan (year 9) and the year 8 duo of Hollie Lewis and Mali MacDuff finishing 10th, 11th and 13th respectively.

There were two other Vale pupils in this race. Late replacement Neve Jones (YG Bro Morgannwg, year 8) narrowly missed out on a team medal in finishing 17th while a fifth Cowbridge pupil, year 8 Alice Davies, was 38th – both were fine runs in a field of 78 finishers. This was the fourth consecutive time that Cardiff & the Vale have won this section – and the fifth time in six years.

In the middle girls’ race, Gwenno and Moli were well supported by year 11 pupils Fiona Bostock (Howell’s) and Alanah Hill (Radyr) – both pupils are Welsh Schools’ internationals and they finished seventh and eighth in this race – but perhaps the most remarkable performance came from Manon Pearce.

The Bro Morgannwg year 10 only came into the team as a late replacement for Evie Watkins (Cowbridge) but had a fine run to finish eleventh and was the district’s fifth scorer.

Lola Osmond (Cardiff High, year 10) was the final scorer, finishing 13th, which meant that Rebecca George (Stanwell, year 11) missed out on a team edal even though she finished 15th. There were three other Cowbridge girls in this race. Year 10 Philippa Allen finished 25th with Tegan Tedder (year 11) 26th while year 10 Erin Andrews was unable to finish the race.

The Cardiff & the Vale boys’ squads gained medals in the senior and middle sections, with both teams finishing second.

Rhys Hardman added a team silver to his individual second place in the middle boys’ race and he was joined in the scoring six by the Bro Morgannwg duo of Charlie Hurdman (year 10, 13th) and Ben Ray (year 11, 35th).

In the senior boys’ race, year 12 Cian Davies (YG Bro Morgannwg) had another encouraging run to finish 21st – he was fourth scorer – while a second year 12, Cian Ralphs (Whitmore), gained valuable experience in finishing 38th on his debut at the event having come into the team as a late replacement.

In the junior boys’ race, the year 9 trio of Loui Camilleri (St Cyres, 10th), Ifan Sion (YG Bro Morgannwg, 19th) and Scott Bown (Stanwell, 23rd) were the first three scorers for the district team, which finished fourth, while late replacement Rhys McNabb (YG Bro Morgannwg, year 9) was 62nd on his debut at the event.

Because of the heavy rainfall in the week’s leading up to these championships, the planned courses had to be altered on the day before the event.

For the year 7 races, the course distance was shortened by a significant amount and the boys representing Cardiff & the Vale found it difficult to cope with the pace of the leading runners.

Five Vale boys competed with Alfie Osborne (Pencoedtre) the highest placed in 42nd position in a field of 78 finishers. Late replacement Jed Osborne (Bro Morgannwg) ran strongly to finish 51st while Harry Osborne (Pencoedtre) was 55th, Elian Davies (Bro Morgannwg, another late replacement) 60th and Tomos Provis (Bro Morgannwg) 64th. The team finished fifth.

Congratulations to all 27 pupils who competed!

In addition to the individual and team competitions, there is an overall points competition.

Cardiff and the Vale district gained 60 points from the four girls’ team wins and a further 51 points from the boys’ teams (two seconds, a fouth and a fifth|) to total 111 points out of a possible 120.

This was seventeen points better than second placed Dyfed (94) and means that Cardiff & the Vale have now won the points competitions at the Welsh Schools’ summer track & field championships and winter cross-country championships for the last three years.

SIAB Schools under 15 and under 17 cross-country international

From performances at the championships, Welsh Schools selected pupils finishing in the top ten positions in the middle and junior races to represent Wales at the SIAB Schools international which was to be hosted by Scottish Schools at Falkirk on March 21st.

Sadly, because of the coronavirus pandemic, that international has been cancelled. It will be the first time since 2001 that the event has not been held.

Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan Schools summer track & field programme,

After receiving advice from UK Athletics and Welsh Athletics, Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan Schools’ Athletics Association has cancelled its senior & middle track & field championships, which were to have been held at Cardiff International Sports Campus on Wednesday, April 29th.

Championships for junior boys (years 8 & 9, May 13th) and girls (May 20th) are planned plus six fixtures in June but there is a real possibility that all eight fixtures may have to be cancelled.

Results of Vale pupils at the 58th Welsh Schools national cross-country championships

Senior Boys – sixth form

21 Cian Davies (YG Bro Morgannwg) 25:17; 38 Cian Ralphs (Whitmore) 27:00


2 Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan 93

Middle Boys – years 10 & 11

2 Rhys Hardman (Cowbridge) 18:25; 13 Charlie Hurdman (YG Bro Morgannwg) 19:31; 35 Ben Ray (YG Bro Morgannwg) 21:12


2 Cardiff & the Vale of the Glamorgan 111

Junior Boys – years 8 & 9

10 Loui Camilleri (St Cyres) 18:04; 19 Ifan Sion (YG Bro Morgannwg) 18:48; 23 Scott Bown (Stanwell) 19:01; 62 Rhys McNabb (YG Bro Morgannwg) 20:28


4 Cardiff & the Vale of the Glamorgan 164

Year 7 Boys

42 Alfie Osborne (Pencoedtre) 09:00; 51 Jed Osborne (YG Bro Morganwg) 09:07; 55 Harry Osborne (Pencoedtre) 09:11; 60 Elian Davies (YG Bro Morgannwg) 09:14; 64 Tomos Provis (YG Bro Morgannwg) 09:19


5 Cardiff & the Vale of the Glamorgan 172

Middle Girls – years 10 & 11

2 Gwenno Goode (YG Bro Morgannwg) 19:37; 3 Moli Lyons (YG Bro Morgannwg) 19:38; 11 Manon Pearce (YG Bro Morgannwg) 21:11; 15 Rebecca George (Stanwell) 21:36; 25 Philippa Allen (Cowbridge) 22:30; 26 Tegan Tedder (Cowbridge) 22:45; dnf Erin Andrews (Cowbridge)


1 Cardiff & the Vale of the Glamorgan44

Junior Girls – years 8 & 9

1 Bethan Hardman (Cowbridge) 12:44; 10 Tara Nathan (Cowbridge) 13:38; 11 Hollie Lewis (Cowbridge) 13:40; 13 Mali MacDuff (Cowbridge) 13:48; 17 Neve Jones (YG Bro Morganwg) 14:04; 38 Alice Davies (Cowbridge) 14:46


1 Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan 48

Photographs – all taken by Mr Rhys Beynon

(1) Bethan Hardman (Cowbridge, 201) – winner of the Junior Girls’ race

(2) Cian Ralphs (Whitmore, 267) – debut in the senior boys’ race

(3) Gwenno Goode (YG Bro Morgannwg, 276) – 2nd in the middle girls

(4) Loui Camilleri (St Cyres) – leading junior boy

(5) Manon Pearce (YG Bro Morgannwg, 278) – fifth counter for the middle girls’ team

(6) Rebecca George (Stanwell, 275) – 15th in the middlr girls’ race

(7) Rhys Hardman (Cowbridge, 285) – up with the leaders early in the middle boys’ race