HOPES are high for Vale Royal athletes in the National Cross Country Relay Championships in Mansfield next month after glorious successes at the weekend.

Medals were secured by four of the club's teams at the Northern Cross Country Relay Championships at hilly Graves Park in Sheffield on Saturday.

Two of them came in the same under 17s women's race in the cool and windy conditions.

Backing up the recent win in the national road relays, Hope Smith, Holly Weedall and Grace Roberts won gold.

Northwich Guardian: Vale Royal Athletics Club's under 17s golden girls, from left, Hope Smith, Holly Weedall, Grace RobertsVale Royal Athletics Club's under 17s golden girls, from left, Hope Smith, Holly Weedall, Grace Roberts

And the 'B' team of Issy Ashcroft, Ellie Bushill and Alice Gale secured bronze.

Smith led out the 'A' team, coming to the handover in second place 16 seconds behind Rotherham.

Sir John Deane’s College student Weedall charged away and soon caught the leader, going on to establish a 15-second lead at the handover.

Fellow SJD student Roberts pushed on to take the win by 62 seconds.

Roberts, Weedall and Smith ran the second, third and fourth fastest legs respectively, while Ashcroft was eighth fastest over the 2,300m course.

Great expectations of the under 15s boys' team were fulfilled by Weaverham High School pupil Rhys Bowden, Hartford High School’s Robbie Price and Tom Taylor as they took the win.

Bowden came in eighth, Taylor maintained the position 28 seconds down on the leaders. But magnificently and majestically, Price worked his way through the field to win by 13 seconds while running the fastest 2,000m leg overall. Bowden ran the 10th fastest 2000m leg.

Perhaps the most unexpected performance of the day came from the club's under 20s men as they won bronze in the senior men's 4x2 mile relay.

Will Ashfield was fifth on the first leg, Raif Serif improved the team to third, Aaron Doyle, suffering from a heavy cold, dropped a place before Ed Pettitt quickly regained the third position.

Ashfield and Serif shared the sixth fastest legs overall with 10.26 clockings.