Czura’s City pride after England call-up

City of Portsmouth ace Josie Czura
City of Portsmouth ace Josie Czura

ENGLAND ARE calling Josie Czura as she makes her international bow today.

The City of Portsmouth starlet is celebrating her call-up to take part in the Schools’ International in Bolton.

Czura is part of an eight-strong junior girls’ squad that will take on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

That follows an outstanding showing at the English Schools’ Cross Country Championship in Leicestershire last weekend.

The distance prodigy came home second at Donnington Park at under-13 level.

Czura clocked a time of 10min 18sec to finish runner-up – just three seconds off winner Saskia Millard.

With the 13-year-old sent out to run with the pressure off and enjoy herself, she delivered in emphatic style.

Coach Gerry North lauded her performance and heaped praise on the starlet.

Czura will now go out and compete as a bottom year in her age group on the international stage.

There’s a poignancy to the event taking place in Lancashire – the same county her respected coach ran for when he was a dominant force in the sport.

North said: ‘I’m so pleased with Josie. It was an excellent performance by her in Leicestershire and a great achievement to do so well at that level. She has worked hard and got her rewards.’

Czura again stood out as she competed for the Rochdale Trophy in the national schools’ event.

But there were also a string of outstanding displays from her City team-mates as they represented Hampshire.

Elizabeth Hedley gained plaudits as she came home 25th (10.49) – also in the junior girls’ race.

Elizabeth Rose was 68th home in 11.13 in a reversal of the UK Inter-County Cross Country Championships.

Meanwhile, Maisie Grice was 165th (11.44) as City supplied four of the six scoring Hampshire team.

Their efforts drew plaudits from City coach Vince Stamp, who is delighted with the progress the girls are making.

Stamp said: ‘It was a strong effort from the girls. Libby (Hedley) was really impressive and turned the tables on what happened the previous week. But Lizzy (Rose) was still less than a minute behind the winner.

‘With Maisie also helping her team out, it was a good race for our club.’

The feel-good vibe continued for City in the junior boys’ race as they supplied two members of the winning Hampshire team.

Ted Yeates proved a powerhouse in that side as he ran superbly to finish in 26th (15.01).

And Lachlan Wellington cemented his promising standing by coming home in 51st (15.23).

In the intermediate boys’ race, Ethan Bevis was also part of the Hants scoring team with a 39th-placed effort (20.24).

And in the inter girls, Ellie Czura was 280th in 15.43 as she represented her county on the big stage.

The widespread creditable displays from the travelling City team were recognised by Stamp

He added: ‘All the athletes did well in the different age groupings. We were really pleased with everyone.’