DEVIZES School’s Josh Burns continued his fine start to 2020 by leading the Wiltshire junior boys’ squad to the team bronze medals in the South West Schools’ Cross Country Championships, in Bournemouth.

Racing the event for the first time Burns, who last month lifted the Wiltshire title for the first time, dug deep to earn a gutsy 10th place in the 64-strong field representing the top youngsters from seven counties across the West Country.

Hot on his heels just five seconds adrift Hardenhuish School’s Henri Contineau produced the best performance of his young career to finish second county scorer.

In the county championships Contineau, who is a member of Chippenham Harriers, just made the team in seventh place but on Saturday he stepped up several gears to place 14th and earn vital points for the team.

Also, in solid support were Marlborough College’s Philip Monaghan in 20th and Sheldon School’s Harry Maxwell in 29th as Wiltshire beat Somerset by eight points to make the podium.

On a day of slim pickings for the Wiltshire squad the only other team medal came courtesy of the inter girls’ squad.

Salisbury-based Bea Wood of South Wilts Grammar was hot favourite for the inter girls’ race and she duly delivered powering clear of the field to win to win by 24 seconds and earn the county their only individual medallist.

Fellow south Wiltshire runners Daisy Baker (Godolphin) and Isabella Worsley (also SWG) gave solid backing with Commonweal’s Kelly Marie-Marsh 15th.

St Augustine’s Freya Buglass did really well to make the top 20 in 19th and the team was completed by Kingdown, Warminster, student Orli Cranston in 26th.

That left the Wiltshire six just 11 points behind champions Avon and only eight clear of Gloucestershire in third in what proved to be one of the most competitive races of the day.

Making her debut in the event county champion Naryani Costa-Jafrate finished 25th and third scorer in the junior girls’ race while in the senior girls’ race Susanna Hirst of St Mary’s, Calne, placed 31st.

The Abbey Park School pair of Zinia and Zarah Wood placed a creditable 10th and 11th in the minor girls’ age group and leading runner in the minor boys’ race was Dauntney’s Tom Sharples in 23rd.