Windy Whitland welcomes the return of the Brianne Schools League with 2017/2018 season opener...Report PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nathan Jones   
Monday, 16 October 2017 18:12

Nathan travelled down the A40 on Monday to join the Brianne Secondary Schools for the first schools' cross country match of the 2017/2018 season...adroddiad a lluniau o Hendy Gwyn o brynhawn Dydd Llun.


October 16th saw the Brianne Schools Cross Country League get going again for another season, starting at its usual venue of Ysgol Dyffryn Taf, Whitland.

With Storm Ophelia sweeping the west of the country during the day, the first date was in doubt and it was only with 2 hours to go that the race got the go ahead from the host school. This was, despite around 20 miles down the road, schools across Pembrokeshire were forced to close early for the rest of the day because of the worsening weather conditions.



At Whitland, the wind was certainly a factor for athletes but at least it was a dry afternoon with the sun breaking through. The ground was difficult on parts of the course affected over previous days - soft and muddy with the finish area re-positioned further down the bank away from the worse areas.

The Brianne Schools Cross Country League (and other leagues in West Wales) has become a popular grassroots event for secondary schools in the Carmarthenshire area having been organised over the years by Sharon Leech and Joanne Phillips (we thank them for their hard work during the past seasons). Phil Bowen and Talfan Davies at Dyffryn Aman take over the organisation of the league during this year. The league races are open to those in years 7, 8, 9 and 10. This is the opening opportunity for those stepping up to secondary level to try out cross country and to compete with and against their friends from the various schools.



Pembrokeshire is the other county in Dyfed to put on these races during this time of year and two matches have been arranged in Haverfordwest and Milford Haven (17th October and 24th October). Llanelli and Ceredigion schools host their championships in January before joining up with the rest of the district for the Dyfed championships in February.

The seven secondary schools in Brianne are: Ysgol Dyffryn Aman - Ammanford, Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth - Cefneithin, Ysgol Bro Dinefwr - Llandeilo, Ysgol Bro Myrddin - Carmarthen, Queen Elizabeth School - Carmarthen, Ysgol Dyffryn Taf - Whitland and Llandovery College - Llandovery. The event always has trophies up for grabs for those finishing in the top 3 after the four matches as well as crowning the overall school champion. Ysgol Dyffryn Aman won the title for a successive year in 2016 after a great battle on the last day with the Whitland school - all schools look strong this year so it could be anyone's when it comes down to the final fixture next March!



The normal course map applied to those taking part as in previous year. The Year 7 Girls were the first to set off at 1pm doing 1 and a half laps and this was followed by the Year 7 Boys (2 laps) Year 8 Girls (2 laps) Year 8 Boys (2.5 laps) Year 9 & 10 Girls (2.5 laps) and Year 9 & 10 Boys (3 laps). The races took place around the perimeter of the school sports field.

All those year 7 athletes competing attended the Brianne league for the very first time having jumped up from primary school races. There was plenty of talent out within this category and we hope you enjoyed yourselves and look forward to the upcoming months on the cross country field and the athletics track!

The dry weather, if not the wind helped attract a large number of pupils from each school to the opening fixture with a total of around 270 at the series opener in Dyffryn Taf. Coming as no surprise, the biggest number of finishers came from the year 7 girls and year 7 boys races with (60) and (53) finishers crossing the line respectively.



Here's a round-up from the races on Monday - Crynhondeb o'r rasys Dydd Llun:

Year 7 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 7: It was hard to pick out any favourites for the opening two races with new faces making their debuts in the league and their school. It was Keira Carmody (QE High) who took the first win of the season just ahead of her school teammate Amy Greatrick (QE High) in second to confirm a one-two position. Megan Roberts (Maes Y Gwendraeth) got her school off to a good start while Milly John (Bro Myrddin) had a fine run to finish in fourth just ahead of the fast finishing pack behind. All four are under 13 athletes at the local club, Carmarthen Harriers. The year 7 girls saw the largest number of the six races on the start line - 60 in total.

Year 7 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 7: Again, it was the first chance at this level for pupils to impress the teachers on the big competition school stage. Jack Thomas (QE High) having impressed at club level during the summer confirmed a double win for his school in the year 7 category, stretching out in the end to win by a fine margin. Having produced excellent results at primary school races, the Dyffryn Aman duo Sion Davies and Tiaan Sparrow continued their fine form to complete the top three and with their third scorer finishing 5th, they scored valuable points. Steffan Davies (Bro Myrddin) led the team in fourth position.



Year 8 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 8: It was Maes Y Gwendraeth who took the win in this one securing third too. Carys Hughes (Dyffryn Taf) and Awen Roberts (Maes Y Gwendraeth) were neck and neck entering the finishing straight with the latter just moving ahead to claim victory by a second. Roberts' fellow competitor Caitlin Jones (Maes Y Gwendraeth) secured a two in the top three for the Cefneithin school.

Year 8 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 8: With the distance increasing to 2.5 laps, it was important to pace the race right. Perhaps some went off a little too fast at the start looking to take control. Frank Morgan's (Bro Myrddin) experience over the years showed as he took over at the correct time. Morgan pulled away on the final lap to win comfortably and got his year off to a good start, having won the year 7 title last time out. His Harriers cross country teammates were the next two in ahead of the rest of the field - Ioan Cressey-Rodgers (Bro Myrddin) and Scott Price (Bro Dinefwr). Morgan Lloyd's (Bro Myrddin) fourth place secured three in the top 4 for Bro Myrddin's three runners.



Year 9 & 10 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 9 a 10: Several of the athletes in action here had moved up an age group to join with the year 10 pupils. The leading pack quickly came down to two and it was last year's top two friends out in front. Coming as no surprise, Daisy Thompson (Bro Myrddin) and Phoebe Davis (Bro Dinefwr) moved ahead in a ding-dong battle with Thompson having the edge to win. Davis led the Bro Dinefwr girls home with Siwan Jones-Evans following in fourth. Third position overall went to Deryn Cressey-Rodgers, also from Bro Myrddin. Llandovery College' Kasia Cook was not too far behind in fifth.

Year 9 & 10 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 9 a 10: A total of 38 runners contested the final race of the afternoon - the combined year 9 and 10 boys. Carmarthen Harriers and Bro Myrddin again had further success. As in the respective girls age group, Liam Edwards and Dafydd Jones were both clearly out in front with Edwards gaining his first win of the league campaign. Nearly a minute separated Jones in second and Jac Chapman (Dyffryn Aman) who enjoyed a fine third place and was the first school athlete over the line in a big team effort. The trio (also under 15 Carmarthen athletes) were way out in front with the next six runners finishing within a few seconds of each other in a close battle.




All Brianne Schools Cross Country League reports will be found also in the press - Carmarthen Journal & Carmarthenshire Herald Newspapers throughout the four fixtures.

A great opening day for 2017/2018. Well done / Da iawn to everyone who took part. Race 2 of 4 moves from Whitland to Carmarthen and to Ysgol Bro Myrddin comprehensive school. They will be looking to have a strong team out on home soil when they host on Tuesday 21st November, starting at 1pm.

Upcoming School Fixtures before the end of the year: November 10th - Carmarthenshire Primary Schools Indoor Sportshall Athletics Competition (Carmarthen Leisure Centre); November 13th - Carmarthenshire Secondary Schools (years 7 and 8) Indoor Sportshall Athletics Competition (Carmarthen Leisure Centre); November 18th - Welsh Inter Schools & Colleges Cross Country Championships (Brecon Leisure Centre); November 21st - Brianne Schools Cross Country League 3 (Bro Myrddin)




Part 2 of Monday's double-header was due to see the Gwendraeth Valley Primary Schools Cross Country Competition take place at the Drefach campus following its success in 2015. The event, organised by the Harriers coach Carol Jones and other teachers, were open to those in years 3, 4, 5 and 6 for children who attend primary schools in the Gwendraeth Valley. Unfortunately, with the weather conditions worsening during the latter part of the afternoon, the decision was made at lunchtime to postpone the event. It will now take place on a re-arranged date during the spring.