WHETHER it was the fear that he might not even last the distance or that he could be beaten by Will Christofi again Alex Carter dug deep to produce an excellent performance to win the senior boys’ race at the Wiltshire Schools’ Cross Country Championships, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The fact that the event had already been twice postponed due to the recent snow and ice certainly gave Carter a fighting chance as the 17-year-old was struggling with a knee injury he suffered when smashing his personal best over 3000m indoors at the start of last month.

The St Laurence School student from Bradford-on-Avon would have certainly missed the championships had it gone ahead as planned but even though he made the start line at Grittleton House School he was hardly bursting with confidence.

“I had this knee problem so I wasn’t even sure I would finish the race on Saturday,” admitted Carter.

“It still wasn’t perfect during the race but it wasn’t too bad either and I got around though I will need further physio treatment.

“I was also up against Will, who beat me in the tri-county championships before Christmas and with the senior boys’ race over a longer course than I am used to I thought it might favour him as he is very strong.”

Fortunately the first half of the race was slow allowing Carter to ease himself into the event and banish any lingering fears that his knee would give way.

“There was a huge bunch of us before Will, Nyle (Clinton) and myself broke away around the 3k mark,” added Carter. “I then pushed on hard with around one-and-a-half kilometres to go and opened a small gap on Will.

“I just then kept going and I am delighted to beat Will for the first time this season. That is really encouraging after the past couple of weeks.”

Carter eventually finished 14 seconds clear of Christofi (Dauntseys) with Swindon New College student Clinton third as the trio finished a minute clear of the field.

Carter’s victory ensured that the powerful West Wiltshire squad enjoyed an impressive clean sweep of all the boys’ races.

Warminster School’s Oliver Shad won the inter boys’ race from team-mate Harry Palmer of St Augustines while in the minor boys’ age group John of Gaunt’s Hayden Atkins just did enough to beat Jonah Veakins of St Augustines.

The most predictable result of the day came in the junior boys’ race with the all-conquering Howorth twins again to the fore.

After dominating the South West and Midland Counties Championships the St Augustines’ School runners were quickly to the fore with John extending his unbeaten start to the year with another gold and Robert just a few strides behind in second.

Cameron Perkins of Hardenhuish did well to make the podium and deny St Augustines a clean sweep with Henry Dixon having to settle for fifth on this occasion.

It was a different story in the girls’ races with three of the titles going to Salisbury runners, namelyAlex Mundell (seniors), Hermoine Seymour (inters) and Fleur Sams (minors).

Representing North Wiltshire it was left to St Mary’s School, Calne, student Yasmin Watling to prevent a clean sweep with the 14-year-old improving from fourth last year.

Team-mate Zoe Wassell (Malmesbury) was runner-up with John O’Gaunt’s Caitlin Wosika third .

In the medals table North Wiltshire and Salisbury finished joint top with seven individual medals each though in terms of quality West Wiltshire’s four golds rate higher.

North Wiltshire also finished top team with six medals including four golds.