Matt Shirling retains senior boys’ title at Castle Donington

Liverpool Harrier Matthew Shirling successfully defended his senior boys’ title at the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Castle Donington in Leicestershire on Saturday, writes Ian Dovaston.

The 18-year-old overcame a strong challenge from last year’s intermediate champion Zak Miller and will hope to use his victory as a springboard to the World Junior Championships this year.

“I felt very good,” he said. “My confidence is very high.”

Leicestershire’s Amy Griffiths provided a popular senior girls’ victory in her home county, the Wigston runner winning by six seconds from runner-up Lydia Turner of Durham.

Triathlete Ben Dijkstra also provided a victory on home territory, the 15-year-old from Burton-on-the-Wold in Leicestershire winning the intermediate boys’ race a year after his triumph in the junior boys’ event.

Warrington’s Harriet Knowles-Jones – running for Greater Manchester – won the intermediate girls’ race.

The junior boys’ champion is Cheshire’s Matthew Willis, while the junior girls’ race was won by 13-year-old Saskia Millard from Wandsworth in London.

» See next week’s AW, out March 20, for in-depth reports, pictures and results from Castle Donington