ALL-rounder Rory Howorth’s victory in the Wiltshire Schools’ Cross Country Championships completed a remarkable seven days for the 15-year-old St Augustine’s College student, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Howorth is rarely seen on the country these days and just the previous weekend was competing at the Cardiff Met Indoor Grand Prix where, among other events, he clocked a personal best of 7.72secs in the 60m sprint.

Switching to a 5k cross country race over mud and in constant drizzle couldn’t be a greater contrast – it is extremely doubtful that any other of his 60m competitors from Cardiff were doing likewise – but it seems Howorth is a man for all surfaces these days as he claimed an impressive win in the inter boys’ age group.

“I had no idea what to expect as I have only done one other cross country race and that was the West Wilts event which I also won,” said Howorth.

“I have stopped endurance specific training now as I am concentrating on multi events so winning this race came as a bit of a surprise to be honest.

“I had almost forgotten how to run a cross country race and started way too quickly and felt that towards the end.”

Howorth didn’t quite explode out of the blocks like he did at Cardiff over 60m the previous weekend but maybe that quick start intimidated his rivals into thinking that his track speed – not to mention his newly acquired hurdling, long jump and shot-putting skills – gave him an unbeatable advantage.

“It was nice to test my endurance but I won’t be doing any more cross country this season as I much prefer the indoors now and have lots of competitions coming up,” added Howorth.

“It is a lot drier and warmer indoors as well – I’m sticking to that.”

Not so Corsham School’s Jade Littlechild, who really thrives on the country. Stepping up into the senior girls’ age group for the first time the 17-year-old was involved in the best race of the day with defending champion Molly Gibbins, of Marlborough College, as the two slugged it out over the Sheldon School course.

“We ran together the whole way and it was a real battle,” said Littlechild.

“I kept surging but couldn’t shake her off until we reached the last 400 metres when I kicked hard to get clear. It was such a close race and really hard work the whole way with Molly always on my shoulder.

“But that made it really exciting and I was delighted to eventually win the race. It is probably my most satisfying win ever – and one of my most painful!”

It was Littlechild’s second successive county title – following four years as runner-up - and underlines just how much she has improved since making her debut in the minor girls’ age group in 2013.

There was another close battle in the senior boys’ race which produced a breakthrough victory for John of Gaunt student Niall Thorne.

A year ago Thorne, who is a member of Avon Valley Runners, finished eighth in the inter boys’ race but he has made huge strides since then culminating in this victory, arguably the best of his career to date.

The Howorth twins, Robert and John plus Corsham School’s Otto Copping started gold medal favourites but Thorne showed great determination and no little skill in edging out the latter to win by two seconds with Robert Howorth third.

St Mary’s Calne student Susannah Hirst clearly likes the Sheldon School venue as she repeated her victory of 12 months ago, only this time she has moved up into the inter girls’ age group.

Running with great confidence Hirst held off Jessica Davies, of St Laurence School, with another much improved runner, Megan Wright of Hardenhuish, third.

There was also a victory for St Mary’s in the minor girls’ race with the talented Harriet Hillman racing away from the field.

The other three titles went to the south of the county with the Bishop Wordsworth pair of Robert Jones (juniors) and William Taverner (minors) victorious and Bea Wood of South Wilts Grammar winning the junior girls’ title.

Wiltshire Schools’ Cross Country Championships, Sheldon School

Senior boys: 1 Niall Thorne (JG) 23:27; 2 Otto Copping (CS) 23:29; 3 Robert Howorth (SA) 23:42; 4 John Howorth (SA) 24:00; 5 James Wright (H) 24:12; 6 Dan Davis (SJ) 24:27; 7 Rohan Archer (H) 24:31; 8 Ethan Pierce (A) 24:33; 9 Dan Patel (SJ) 25:41; 10 Josh Evans (D) 27:30.

Teams: 1 West Wilts 19; 2 North Wilts 22.

Senior boys: 1 Niall Thorne (JG) 23:27; 2 Otto Copping (CS) 23:29; 3 Robert Howorth (SA) 23:42; 4 John Howorth (SA) 24:00; 5 James Wright (H) 24:12; 6 Dan Davis (SJ) 24:27; 7 Rohan Archer (H) 24:31; 8 Ethan Pierce (A) 24:33; 9 Dan Patel (SJ) 25:41; 10 Josh Evans (D) 27:30.

Teams: 1 West Wilts 19; 2 North Wilts 22.

Inter boys: 1 Rory Howorth (SA) 16:42; 2 Max Sockett (RWB) 16:52; 3 Bertie Pettit (TT) 16:57; 4 Harry Webb (JG: 17:01; 5 Ollie Campbell (M) 17:01; 6 Will Morris (D) 17:12; 7 Patrick Mochan (LP) 17:17; 8 Oscar Palmer (D) 17:24; 9 Ellery Cole (A) 17:34; 10 Jack Latus (RWB) 17:41.

Teams: 1 North Wilts 61; 2 Salisbury 82; 3 West Wilts 87; 4 Swindon 118.

Junior boys: 1 Robert Jones (B) 13:57; 2 Lukas Bailey (B) 14:00; 3 Jack Gunning 14:48 (C ); 4 Rian Clarke (Hi) 14:52; 5 Jay Cant (S) 14:52; 6 Jack Pawson (B) 14:58; 7 Max Hopcraft (SL) 14:59; 8 Ollie Phillips (B) 15:00; 9 Charles Hall (S) 15:02; 10 Takuma Yokoyama (BF) 15:12.

Teams: 1 Salisbury 62; 2 North Wilts 73; 3 Swindon 89; 4 West Wilts 103; 5 Kennet 155.

Minor boys: 1 William Taverner (B); 2 Joe Andrews (SA); 3 Asher Jones (H); 4 Otto Jenner (B); 5 Ryan Griffiths (WL); 6 Lewis Seaward (B); 7 Harvey Swain (DE); 8 Henri Cotineau (H);9 Tom Campbell-Barnard; 10 Ben Lewis (S).

Senior girls: 1 Jade Littlechild (CS); 2 Molly Gibbins (MC); 3 Lucy Fitzpatrick (SM); 4 Caroline Brenchley (SM); 5 Catriona Edington (D); 6 Alice Sullivan (G); 7 Tasha Mundell (SWG); 8 Lily Battersby (SWG); 9 Becky Service (SWG); 10 Alice Uloth (SWG).

Teams: 1 Salisbury 30; 2 West Wilts 50.

Inter girls: 1 Susannah Hirst (SM); 2 Jessica Davies (SL); 3 Megan Wright (H); 4 Katie Robinson (SL); 5 Isobel Horsfield (G); 6 Fenella Challinor (SM); 7 Maddie George (D); 8 Lara Smith-Osbourne (SM); 9 Eleanor Bourne (SM); 10 Amy Richards (CS).

Teams: 1 North Wilts 37.

Junior girls: 1 Bea Wood (SWG); 2 Isabella Wolsey (SWG); 3 Olivia Roderick (TT); 4 Tilda Norman (MC); 5 Orli Cranston (K); 6 Freya Buglass (SA); 7 Lilly Jones (SWG); 8 Imogen Tanner (L); 9 Anna Payne (W); 10 Molly Jones (MC).

Teams: 1 Salisbury 32; 2 North Wilts 104; 3 West Wilts 106; 4 Swindon 140; 5 Kennet 176.

Minor girls: 1 Harriet Hillman (SM); 2 Aggie Robb (G); 3 Rebecca Heaps (RWB); 4 Hannah Browning (ST); 5 Naryani Costa-Jafrate; 6 Katie New (K); 7 Emily Fowles (SE); 8 Kaitlyn Heard (WL; 9 April Cruttenden; 10 Erica Dunstone (S).

Teams: 1 North Wilts 56; 2 Salisbury 78; 3 West Wilts 85; 4 Kennet 122; 5 Swindon 163.

KEY: Chippenham A=Abbeyfield; B=Bishop Wordsworth; BF=Bradon Forest; C=Commonweal; CS-Corsham School; D=Dauntsey’s; G=Godolphin; DE=Devizes; H=Hardenhuish; JG=John of Gaunt; HI=Highworth; MC=Marlborough College; K=Kingdown; L=Leehurst; R=Ridgeway; RWB=Royal Wotton Bassett; S=Sheldon; SA=St Augustine’s; SE=St Edmund’s; SJ=St John’s; SL=St Laurence; SM=St Mary’s Calne; ST=Stonar; SWG=South Wilts Grammar; TT=The Trafalgar; W=Warminster;WL=Wellington