Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dom to Lead Young Guns

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Dom to Lead Young Guns

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bill McGuirk

Defending Inter-Counties Cross-Country champion Dominic Bannister returns to the scene of his triumph later this month.

Bannister heads a relatively young North East team for the trip to Wollaton Park, Nottingham, on February 24.

Since settling in the region over a decade ago, Bannister has been a regular member of the squad, and in 1999 and 2001 helped the North East to team success.

Now based in Durham, Bannister has continued to compete for the Shaftesbury Barnet club, but the allegiance with his adopted region will hopefully rub off on to the four young men making their senior debuts in the championships.

North East team manager John Stevenson would love to see Bannister retain his individual title and lead his charges to another team success.

"Dominic has been a loyal member of the North East team and it was fantastic to be at Nottingham and see him win last year," said Stevenson.

"We have a relatively young team around him this year, but I'm hopeful they will perform well.

"North East champion Mark Hood has been in good form and will expect to improve on his 22nd place when he was our second counter last year.

"However, it will be interesting to see how the four new faces in the team perform.

"Ryan McLeod, Chris Parr and Patrick Martin have all picked up representative honours at junior level, while Jonathon Powell has been running well of late.

"I'm confident they won't return home empty-handed."

The region is taking a full complement of athletes to contest the 10-race programme which will be broadcast live on Sky TV.

And, it's not just the senior event that Stevenson thinks the region can claim some glory.

"We have some excellent athletes in all age groups but it's the junior men's team which looks the strongest," he added.

"Once again this race is being used as the trials for the World Championships and it would be great if we could repeat, or better still, improve on last year's race, when we managed to get two athletes into the GB team. …

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