City under-15s can leave rivals trailing and take winter by storm

City of Portsmouth finished the road season strongly and have made a bright start to the cross-country season. Picture: Paul Smith
City of Portsmouth finished the road season strongly and have made a bright start to the cross-country season. Picture: Paul Smith

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VINCE STAMP is predicting a great winter for City of Portsmouth’s talented squad of under-15 girls.

They started as they mean to go on with a big performance in the first Hampshire Cross Country League match of the winter on Saturday.

Saffron Moore. Picture: Paul Smith

Saffron Moore. Picture: Paul Smith

With Saffron Moore, fifth in 17min 26sec, Matilda Atkins, ninth in 17.49, and Bo Sansom, 17th in 18.33, they won the team category at Farley Mount, Winchester.

And individual victory went to Ellie Farrow as a non-scorer.

She is in the process of switching to City of Portsmouth from Havant.

Her time of 16.52 saw her well clear of Southampton’s Isabel Richardson who was second in 17.04.

Mia Billings also ran strongly, while Nicole Ainsworth, who was hit by illness on Saturday, is a national champion City will be able to call on.

They also have Sussex duo Olivia Wiseman and Charlotte Bullard to add to the squad for the next league match.

Wiseman won the first race of the Sussex League, with Bullard in eighth place on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Lachlan Wellington stormed to victory in the under-17 boys’ race with a time of 15.58.

He was 15 seconds clear of his nearest rival, while Jacob O’Hara finished seventh in 16.51 and Steven Cross was 12th in 17.15.

The trio are all bottom years along with Adam Kimber (18.44) and Harry Moore (19.23) who also ran well.

City coach Stamp is looking forward to a big winter from a squad packed with talented athletes.

He said: ‘The under-15 girls are going to take some stopping this winter.

‘Ellie Farrow has switched from Havant and we’re just waiting for that to go through so she was a non-scorer on Saturday.

‘Mike Williams her coach at Havant has backed her transfer.

‘Saffron had a really outstanding run on Saturday.

‘She is a bottom year and finished second last summer in the national 1,500m race in the under-13 age group, while Nicole Ainsworth moved up as national under-13 cross country champion.’

‘We’ve got Olivia and Charlotte to come into the team for the next match while Matilda Atkins has only raced for us three times so far after moving to the area from Kent and is getting better each time.’

Eloise O’Neill led the under-13 girls’ squad as she finished eighth (12.58).

Anya Pigden (21.14) and Eleanor Purdue (21.16) both recorded top-10 finishes in the under-17 women’s race.

Emma Montiel finished fifth vet and was 31st overall in a high-quality senior women’s race.

And City’s England international Alex Teuten finished third in the senior men’s race (32.24).

City’s talented youngsters also ended the road season strongly good performances in the national road relays in Sutton Coldfield and the southern road relays in Bedford.

Wellington, 15, finished his spectacular road season with the fastest under-17 leg at the southerns as a bottom year. He also ended the summer top of the rankings for 5k at under-15 level (15.26).