Lady Manners School team races into national cross-country cup final

LADY IS A CHAMP -- the victorious Lady Manners School cross-country team who are heading for the national final, to be held at Beauchamp Middle School in Bedford next week.
LADY IS A CHAMP -- the victorious Lady Manners School cross-country team who are heading for the national final, to be held at Beauchamp Middle School in Bedford next week.

A team of cross-country runners from a school in Bakewell has raced in to the national final of a prestigious event.

The English Schools Athletics Association’s Cross-Country Cup is an annual winter competition between school squads across the country.

And Lady Manners School is celebrating after its junior girls’ team (aged at least 12 but under 14) were crowned champions of the East Midlands region.

Now they are looking forward to the national final, which is to be held at Beauchamp Middle School in Bedford on Saturday, December 5. Parents and fellow pupils are expected to make the trip to cheer the team on.

The Cross-Country Cup begins with preliminary rounds held between teams within each county. The best then progress to one of eight regional finals.

Lady Manners’ team, which included Laura Broadbent, Michaela Dick, Bronwyn Lessiter, Caitlin McCavana, Lizzie Webster and Ellie Wilson, sailed through the county phase.

In their East Midlands regional final, which was held at Tupton Hall School in Chesterfield, they pitted themselves against 11 other school teams from Humberside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and Leicestershire, as well as Derbyshire.

With tight competition against some very strong runners, the Lady Manners girls were hoping to finish in the top three, which would be enough to get them into the national final. And they were paricularly wary of Tapton School, of Sheffield, who had beaten them in the previous round.

However, they surpassed all expectations by finishing first past the post and exacting sweet revenge on Tapton.

The competition took the results of the top four runners in each team. For Lady Manners, these were Michaela Dick, who came home in seventh place, followed by Ellie Wilson in 12th, Lizzie Webster in 13th and Bronwyn Lessiter in 15th.

The quartet’s combined performances earned the school a tally of 47 points, which was six points more than Tapton, who took second spot, even though one of their runners, Jodie Hill, finished second overall. In third were Bourne Grammar School, of Lincolnshire, with 63 points, while fourth went to St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School, of Pontefract, Yorkshire, and fifth were The Ecclesbourne School, of Belper.

The result delighted Rachel Pownall-Jones, who is the head of PE at the Shutts Lane school. She said: “We are very pleased that the junior girls’ cross-country team are East Midlands champions.

“They raced extremely well, and we are very proud of them. They are keenly awaiting the national cup final next week.”

The big day at Bedford will feature all four finals for the different age groups of the competition. The intermediate girls’ final will kick off proceedings at 1 pm, followed by the junior boys’ final at 1.30 pm, the junior girls’ final at 2 pm and the intermediate boys’ final at 2.20 pm. All the presentations will be held at 3.15 pm.

There will also be a stand selling souvenir items, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, so that the runners, family and friends can take home mementoes of their achivements.

Lady Manners School is a foundation school established in 1636 by Grace, Lady Manners, a member of the Duke Of Rutland’s family. With a catchment area encompassing many villages, it is one of the largest in the county, with 1,475 students on roll, including 295 in the sixth form.