GRACE Roberts is the new Northern Counties Cross Country Champion at girls' under 15s level.

On a brilliant day for Vale Royal Athletics Club, Jake Wilson collected silver for the boys in the same age group - while three team medals were also hard earned.

Roberts' gold medal topped the lot as 2000 athletes descended on the Camp Hill Estate in Kirklington, Bedale, North Yorkshire.

Northwich Guardian:

Grace Roberts on her way to victory. Pictures: Robert Brown

Over a distance of 4600m on a fairly flat course with deep muddy patches, she started off steadily and worked her way through the field before taking the lead at the halfway point and pushing on to an 11 second win.

Teammate Holly Weedall was just pipped on the run-in to finish a fantastic fourth.

With Hope Smith and Isobel Ashcroft crossing the line in 13th and 21st places respectively, the four-girl team totalled just 39 points – some 115 points clear of their nearest rivals, Sale Harriers, as the team gold was secured.

Northwich Guardian:

The under 15s gold medal winning team, from left, Isobel Ashcroft, Hope Smith, Holly Weedall and Grace Roberts with their medals and trophy

Also competing for Vale Royal were Alice Gale, 31st, Ellie Bushill, 41st, Ellie Hudson, 57th, Thea Smith, 137th and Molly Roberts 150th.

Wilson also made a steady start on his way to the silver.

Again he worked his way through the packed field to end up closing on the eventual winner, Chris Perkins of Birtley AC, by the finish line.

Northwich Guardian:

Jake Wilson

Teammates Dylan Carney, Josh Williamson and Harry Godwin finished 74th, 124th and 133rd respectively.

Vale Royal's under 17s men also won a team gold medal, with Raif Serif coming home in sixth place, Ed Pettitt 10th, Will Ashfield 11th and Sam Stephens 63rd.

Northwich Guardian:

The under 17s men gold-medal winning team, from left, Sam Stephens, Ed Pettitt, Raif Serif and Will Ashfield

Upping the distance to 8000m, the junior men's race yielded a bronze team medal for the Vale Royal trio of Alex Doyle (12th), Harry Dexter (19th) and Arun Dight (29th).

Northwich Guardian:

The junior men's bronze medal winning team, from left, Harry Dexter, Alex Doyle and Arun Dight

John Humphries finished 35th and Alex' brother Aaron came 39th.

In the senior women's race, Amelia Pettitt was first home for Vale Royal in 13th place. Chloe Dooley, Helen Smith Claire Thompson and Carole Williams finished 62nd, 95th, 137th and 345th respectively.

Stuart Doyle got home in 82nd place in the senior men's race, while Mark Crabtree crossed the line in 120th, Gareth Williams 300th and 75-year-old Colin Rathbone was 582nd.

The next club event to look forward to is the 2020 Saucony English National Cross Country Championship which takes place for the third time at Wollaton Park, Nottingham, on Saturday, February 22.