Sprint sensation Groves claims Spen awards treble

Natalie Groves scooped three awards at the Spenborough AC presentation evening following an excellent season, which saw the 13-year-old set new records in the sprint events.
Natalie Groves scooped three awards at the Spenborough AC presentation evening following an excellent season, which saw the 13-year-old set new records in the sprint events.

Spenborough’s and District Athletic Club’s sprint sensation Natalie Groves predictably stole the show at the club’s annual awards presentation evening.

A packed Cleckheaton Rugby Club rose to applaud the record breaking 13-year-old as she waltzed off with three trophies to cap a season’s work which has marked her out as a potential international star of the future.

Natalie finished the year ranked number one in the UK at 80, 150 and 200m — the latter distance covered in 26.14 — a time which puts her 17th in the all-time list and faster than the likes of reigning British Senior Champion and current UK 100m and 200m record holder Dina Asha-Smith and fellow Rio Olympian Jodie Williams at the same age.

She also claimed the number two spot in the rankings at 100m, while gaining further recognition for performances Northern and County Championships and a West Yorkshire League record at 150m.

Natalie fittingly received her awards from the club’s senior sprint coach Stuart Hall, who has guided her and many other young athletes along the way.

Fast rising multi-eventers Glenn Aspindle and Charlotte Bell were rewarded for impressing during a season when both youth development teams held their own to remain in the Northern Track and Field League Division Two East.

Aspindle improved his performances in 10 different events, while Bell had to negotiate an increase in equipment weight in most of her throws events but still managed to claim a Yorkshire Championship bronze medal in the 3kg hammer while representing Kirklees at the European Kids Games in Brno, Czech Republic.

Road and cross country runner Joe Sagar scooped five trophies after a season which included victories in the Bradford 10k and Yorkshire 10-mile race in York.

Connor Bell, James Bell, Charlotte Pickard, Joanne Burden and Jackie Carter picked up two trophies each and athletes with ages ranging from 10 to 56 years old claimed awards.

Carter was awarded the Presidents Cup for her contributions outside the athletics arena, while Spenborough stalwart Amanda Pearson, nee Bolland, was awarded life membership for her long services to the club.

Award Winners

Track and Field. Senior Men: Darren Thomas, Junior Men: Glenn Aspindle, Under-17 Men: Mason Smith, U15 Boys: Connor Bell, U13 Boys: Oliver Busfield, U11 Boys: James Bell, Sennior Women: Fiona Thomas, Junior Women: Rosa McKie, U17 Women: Charlotte Bell, U15 Girls: Charlotte Pickard, U13 Girls: Natalie Groves, U11 Girls: Mollie Firth, Earnshaw Trophy (multi-events male): Glenn Aspindle, Sherwood Trophy (multi-events female): Charlotte Bell, Most improved male (track): Alex Rowell, Most improved Female (track): Natalie Groves. Most improved male (field): Connor Bell, Most improved females (field): Charlotte Bell and Chalotte Pickard.

Cross Country - Dransfield Trophy: Joe Sagar, Julian Trophy: Jenni Muston, Best Performance: Joe Sagar, U11 Boys: James Bell, U11 girls: Isobel Tohr, U13 Boys: Harry Brackenridge, U15 Boys: Daniel Kershaw, U15 Girls: Mollie Waring, Junior/Senior mens: Joe Sagar, Junior/Senior Women: Jackie Carter.

Road - Most improved (male): Joe Sagar, Most improved (female): Joanne Burden. Most promising (male): Lee Dolman and Grant Cooper, Most promising (female): Chloe McAliski. Spen 20 Champion: Martin Hall.

Presidents Cup: Jackie Carter

Allat Memorail Trophy (outstanding athlete of the year): Natalie Groves.

Special Awards: Glenn Aspindle, Natalie Groves and Jake Darby.

Life Membership Award: Amanda Pearson.

The fourth and final West Yorkshire Cross Country League fixture of the season was run at Keighley on Sunday.

Spenborough’s senior men finish eighth team on the day and seventh overall.

Joe Sager has run all four races finishing 13th on the day and placing third over the series.

Paul Davis was 11th overall after a 45th place on the day and Tom Dart was 13th overall and 55th on the day.

Other Spen runners were Simon Bolland (59th), Edward Revell (102nd), Gerrard Skippins (108th), Steven Hunt (130th), Dave Bulter (139th) and Grant Cooper (154th) as Daniel Garbutt from Skyrac took his third win of the series.

Natasha Greere was the only Spenborough runner in the women’s race finishing 41st.

Olivia Reah was 25th and Mia Butler 41st in the Under-15 Girls race, while Harry Brackenridge (23rd)and Jack Barraclough (39th) ran in the Under-15 Boys race.

Molly Firth (seventh), Isabel Toher (37th) and Ruby Lawton (53rd) were eighth team in the Under-11 Girls race, while Matthew Dalton recorded a fine third place and finished third overall in the Under-11 Boys event.

James Bell (41st) and Logan Bailey (50th) helped Spen finish ninth on the day.