RORY Howorth’s hopes of ending his season with a medal at the English Schools’ Combined Events Championships were cruelly ended with a freak injury, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The 17-year-old was forced to pull out of the two-day senior boys’ decathlon at the Exeter Arena after badly hurting his ankle in the long jump, which was just the second event of the day.

“It happened on the last jump. I got my left ankle caught under my body so sprained it quite badly,” said Howorth.

“Initially, I thought I might be able to run it off and I was desperate to continue. But my coach made me think about it clearly and the risks I would take in making the injury worse.

“I was quite emotional about it at the time but it was the right call to pull out even though it felt so frustrating, especially as I had a really good jump measuring 6.88m, which was the best in the competition.

“But it was just a freak accident and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. It was such a shame as I had trained really well for this event and both those opening two events had gone so well until that last effort.”

Nonetheless, it was clearly the right thing to do as Howorth woke up on Sunday with his ankle badly swollen and barely able to walk.

He said: “Fortunately, it is the end of the season and now I will take a proper rest to make sure the injury clears up and I am fit and healthy to begin my winter training programme.”

Meanwhile, on the roads, Winsley’s Alex Carter continued his excellent autumn form at the Midland Counties Road Relay Championships in Birmingham.

Just six days after smashing his personal best to finish runner-up in the Bristol half marathon, Carter showed his leg speed hasn’t been too badly dented as he led home the 100-strong plus teams to give Team Bath a surprise lead on the first of the six stages around the Sutton Park circuit.

The former St Laurence School student clocked a time of 18mins 07secs, the sixth fastest of the day overall, to claim the early honours and hand over to Hilperton’s Robert Howorth in first place.

Unfortunately, Howorth was there to be shot at over a distance that is far from his usual challenge and he dropped 30 places before Marshfield’s Themis Bower recovered ground to leave Team Bath 24th at halfway.

John Howorth and Peter Grist continued the recovery to hand over to Aaron Pritchard on the last leg in 15th.

By then, the gaps are pretty significant and even though Pritchard ran the club’s second fastest time of the day he could only claw back another two places to finish in 13th, although that is more than good enough to secure the club a place in the national finals.