School pupils chance to shine in Llandeilo & Neath - Districts Round-Up! Print
Written by Nathan Jones   
Friday, 16 February 2018 19:15

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The true meaning of "cross country running" was clearly demonstrated at Parc Dinefwr, Llandeilo and Gnoll Estate Park, Neath earlier this week (February 13-14) as we headed to both Dyfed and Afan Nedd Tawe Districts Cross Country Championships in the space of 24 hours. With the deadline for entering teams and the main competition quickly approaching...this midweek double-header of action got the go ahead despite the weather forecasts experienced at the beginning of the week.

Dangosir gwir ystyr "rhedeg traws gwlad" ym Mharc Dinefwr, Llandeilo a Pharc Ystad y Gnoll, Castell Nedd yn gynharach yr wythnos (Chwefror 13-14) hon wrth i ni mynychu Bencampwriaethau Traws Gwlad Ysgolion Dyfed ac Afan Nedd Tawe o fewn 24 awr.

Everything you would expect in cross country was found at both locations - mud, rain, tough courses, water, smiling faces, close competition and a chance to promote the sport on Welsh TV!

Both events were selection races ahead of the upcoming Welsh Schools National Cross Country Championships, to be held at Penlan Arena, Brecon on Wednesday 7th March 2018.


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The Dyfed Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships was the first to set off on Tuesday (13th February) sponsored by our friends at the Masonic Province of West Wales, returning to Parc Dinefwr again in 2018. More than 25 secondary schools from across Brianne, Pembrokeshire, Llanelli and Ceredigion made their way to the magnificent venue and attracted a large number of visitors and spectators. It's a venue that is now used to hosting big matches especially after the Welsh Championships and SIAB Schools International having already been there in the last four years.

Most of the athletes that would have taken part here competed in the area championships a week earlier involving the 28 schools. Pembrokeshire was the first to hold their event at Haverfordwest Racecourse and was followed 24 hours later with the Brianne edition at the Old Tregib School in Llandeilo. The weather was the winner up in Llangrannog, resulting in the Ceredigion schools event being called off; however the snowy conditions and freezing temperatures didn't stop the six Llanelli schools making the short journey to make use of the fantastic facilities at Pembrey Country Park.

During the morning, there were races for Years 7, Year 8/9, Year 10/11 and Year 12/13 for boys and girls. As you would expect, the underfoot elements worsened at the races went on, resulting in the senior pupils having to experience the worst of it. The course was set up on the field in front of the excellent Newton House at the park.


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Schools involved on the day were: Y Strade, Bro Gwaun, Bro Pedr, Emlyn, Greenhill, Penweddig, Y Preseli, Coedcae, QE High, Dyffryn Taf, Bro Dinefwr, Tasker Milward, Bro Myrddin, Maes Y Gwendraeth, STP, Pembroke, Bryngwyn, Penglais, St John Lloyd, Aberaeron, Henry Richard, Glan-Y-Môr, Dyffryn Aman, Aberteifi, Llandovery College, St Michaels and Pembrokeshire College

Despite the course being in good condition the evening ahead of the races, overnight rain affected the course and was turned into a pool of water. Several athletes commented after the race saying that it was a difficult course to run on but pleased to have crossed the finish line after splashing around the route. Following heavy rain for most of the early morning, athletes were welcomed to drier interludes with a few showers for the duration of the races.


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A day later on Wednesday (14th February) east up the M4 motorway, it was the turn of the Afan Nedd Tawe Secondary Schools & Colleges Cross Country Trial to take centre stage, held at a different venue to past occasions - Gnoll Estate Country Park in Neath. During the afternoon, there were races for Years 7, Year 8/9 and Year 10/11/12/13/14 for boys and girls.

There was no change in terms of conditions athletes had to battle through, in fact it was even worse! From the moment the set up team arrived to set up the course to the moment it all came to an end, the rain and wind continued to come down in Neath.

A championship that has been held over recent years at Margam Park at Port Talbot, the Apollo Teaching Services Afan Nedd Tawe Schools & Colleges Trial made a move up the road to the facilities at Gnoll Estate Park fields.


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Despite the continued elements, the fixture was well supported as usual by school pupils and teachers alike with over 300 in attendance. Those taking part were faced with a small lap and large lap distance over two fields with the finish located near the car park. Mud was more of a factor in this one with a number of the runners sliding along the course, but all seeming to enjoy the experience!

Schools involved on the day were: Gwyr, Ystalyfera, Cwmtawe, Bae Baglan, Cefn Saeson, Olchfa, Morriston, Gowerton, Penyrheol, Bryntawe, Pontarddulais, Dyffryn, Bishop Gore, Bishop Vaughan, Llangatwg, Birchgrove, St Josephs and Dwr Y Felin

With teams of six and four to score in the junior and senior age groups respectively, there were wins for Cwmtawe x2, YG Gwyr, Bishopston, Olchfa and Bae Baglan.


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ON THE TV...We were joined by S4C's weeknight evening programme "Heno" at Llandeilo on Tuesday, who came over to film the cross country action. The programme's reporter Rhodri Gomer got the opportunity also to interview some of the organisers, teachers and the athletes themselves! you might find some familiar faces; see link below:

WATCH HERE Starting at 8 minutes 10 seconds/ GWYLIWCH YMA yn dechrau ar 8 munud 10 eiliad


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Thank you to all the officials, volunteers, organisers, venues and sponsors who helped in any way at Llandeilo and Neath this week! Both districts will start looking forward to the track and field season which is fast approaching in April and May onwards.

A big well done to everyone who took part in this midweek double-header in some of the worst conditions possible in cross country! Congratulations to those who have gained selection for the Welsh Schools championships in Brecon on March 7th!

Da iawn i bawb gymerodd rhan dros y ddwy digwyddiad wythnos yma yn rhai o'r amodau gwaethaf posib ar gyfer traws gwlad! Llongyfarchiadau i'r rhai sydd wedi cael ei dewis i gynhrychioli Dyfed ac Afan Nedd Tawe ym Mhencampwriaeth Traws Gwlad Ysgolion Cymru ar Mawrth 7fed yn Aberhonddu!

All photos and write up by Nathan Jones