OXFORDSHIRE’S Beth Swords was inspired by the memory of her late grandmother as she finished sixth at the Aviva ESAA English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Manchester – earning an international call-up in the process.

The 15-year-old from Headington School experienced an emotional run-up to the intermediate girls’ race at a muddy Heaton Park with her grandmother, Sonia Goodwin, dying just three days before the event.

But spurred on by her memory, she produced one of her best performances to finish sixth in 13mins 37secs over 4km of the rolling parkland course in heavy going following persistent rain.

Essex’s Jessica Judd took gold in 13mins exactly.

It earned her a place in the England team for the AVIVA SIAB Schools’ International against Scotland, Wales and Ireland at Truro School in Cornwall today.

And Swords’ superb run also led the way as Oxon’s girls claimed a brace of trophies.

The intermediate girls lifted the Wigan Trophy, awarded to the team with the highest-placed eighth runner, excluding the first three teams.

Cordelia Parker (St Helen & St Katharine, Abingdon) had the honour of clinching the cup for Oxon, with her 197th place proving decisive.

Further up the 334 finishers, Lauren Hawtin (Gosford Hill, Kidlington) finished a highly-creditable 22nd in 14.08, while Connie McMillan (Warriner, Bloxham) was 62nd in 14.44.

Oxfordshire girls’ second cup triumph saw them capture the R Brown Trophy in the aggregate girls’ points competition for those counties with a school population of less than 60,000.

The two cups were Oxfordshire’s first team triumphs since the county won the boys’ aggregate prize in 1979.

Gosford Hill’s Melissa Hawtin produced Oxfordshire’s second-best individual performance with eighth place in the senior girls’ race.

She completed the 4.5km course in 15.52, with Kent’s Grace Nicholls striking gold in 15.04.

Gemma Bridge (St Helen & St Katharine, Abingdon) ran well to come 70th of the 277 finishers in 17.22.

Beth Hawtin was Oxfordshire’s first runner home in the junior girls’ race in 68th place, recording 10.51 for the 3km course.

Christian von Eitzen (European, Culham) finished a very respectable 33rd in the junior boys’ race, completing the 4km course in 13.15.

And he had the satisfaction of finishing two places in front of Surrey’s Tom Holden, who pipped him when they were first and second in the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships in Birmingham a week earlier.

There was also a fine effort from Matthieu Marshall (Cherwell, Oxford), who was 50th in 13.23.

Abingdon’s Alistair Duff was Oxfordshire’s first runner home in the intermediate boys’ race over 5.5k, coming 42nd in 20.13.

And schoolmate Alex Muir led the way for Oxon in the senior boys’ race over 7k, finishing 52nd in 25.25.


Senior: 52 A Muir (Abingdon) 25.25, 114 T Watkins (Abingdon) 26.27, 130 G Miller (Cokethorpe), 191 M Baumgart (Abingdon) 27.30, 216 J Ridley (Abingdon) 27.50, 236 E Nesbitt (Wallingford) 28.15, 276 R Veale (Abingdon) 29.29, 277 A Veale (Abingdon) 29.29. Team: 31 Oxon 939.

Intermediate: 42 A Duff (Abingdon) 20.13, 157 J Bennington (Magdalen College School) 21.16, 170 L Terry (Abingdon) 21.24, 245 R Meredith (Lord Williams’s) 21.59, 248 S Jones (Abingdon) 22.00, 261 G Adams (Bloxham) 22.06, 265 J Purcell-Lacey (Chltern Edge) 22.10. Team: 34 Oxon 1,123pts.

Junior: 33 C von Eitzen (European) 13.15, 50 M Marshall (Cherwell) 13.23, 179 7 T Binnie (Magdalen College School), 187 C Deer (European) 14.03, 241 J Tack (Lord Williams’s) 14.20, 263 O Moreton (Gillotts) 263, 275 8 S Humphreys (Chipping Norton), 298 N Meredith (Gillotts). Team: 27 Oxon 953pts.

Aggregate boys (for counties with a school population of less than 60,000): 6 Oxon 3,015pts.


Senior: 8 M Hawtin (Gosford Hill) 15.52, 70 G Bridge (St Helen & St Katharine) 17.22, 127 L Berg (Oxford High) 18.23, 141 F Warren (Bloxham) 18.32, 195 S Stanley (Cokethorpe) 19.15, 239 M Frykfors (Wallingford) 20.15, 266 K Smith (Henry Box) 21.44, 275 C Knighton (Cherwell) 23.40. Team: 21 Oxon 780pts.

Intermediate: 6 B Swords (Headington) 13.37, 22 L Hawtin (Gosford Hill) 14.08, 62 C McMillan (Warriner) 14.44, 107 I Kempton (St Helen & St Katharine) 15.04, 144 J Walker (Cheney) 15.22, 148 R Byren (Rye At Antony) 15.23, 158 B Warne (Oxford High) 15.26, 197 C Parker (St Helen & St Katharine) 15.42. Team: 8 Oxon 489pts (Oxon win Wigan Trophy as team with highest-placed 8th runner excluding the top three teams).

Junior: 68 B Hawtin (Gosford Hill) 10.51, 113 V Mobley (Tudor Hall) 11.09, 148 E Clark (Gosford Hill) 11.18, 207 F Loake (Headington) 11.34, 217 S Lloyd (King Alfred’s) 11.37, 220 R James (Our Ladys) 11.38, 243 L McKean (St Helen & St Katharine) 11.45, 332 C Clarke (Marlborough) 12.30. Team: 27 Oxon 973pts.

Aggregate girls (for counties with a school population of less than 60,000): 1 Oxon 2,242pts.