AN intriguing battle between long-time training partners was edged by Joe Buckley as he won his first Cheshire Cross Country Championships club title on Saturday.

The Warrington Athletics Club endurance starlet finished 14 seconds clear of his pal Jordan Jones in the under 17s race at Birchwood Forest Park on Saturday.

> VIEW: Marshall hails his thrilling sprint finish

> VIDEO: How the men’s race was won

> WATCH: Youngsters tackle the Cheshire Cross Country Championships

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> VIEW: 180 pictures in our gallery of Saturday’s event

> FOOTAGE: See the women’s race unfold

> VIDEO: Under 15s girls reflect on team silver

Jones had won the title for the first time 12 months earlier at Delamere Forest, while Buckley was second and Jones third when they raced off at under 15s level in Birchwood in 2017.

Warrington Guardian:

Joe Buckley on the finishing straight at Birchwood Forest Park. Picture: Mike Boden

"It went well. I got a good lead at the start, pushed on and kept pushing," said Buckley from Great Sankey, a sixth-form student at Barrow Hall College.

"Jordan and I push each other hard in training and races as well, though he’s been doing more indoor running this season."

The pair were joined by Warrington AC clubmate Ben Webb, who was seventh, in securing the team gold.

Warrington Guardian:

Buckley feels he has earned this success and is looking to continue his form in the coming weeks.

"I trained hard between September and the new year because I’ve got a lot of big races coming up," he said.

"I’ve got the northerns in a couple of weeks’ time, and then when February and March comes I’ve got the English Schools, the nationals and inter-counties. They’re all big races I want to do well in.

"So the Cheshire Championships is a good indicator of how I could perform in those races."

Warrington Guardian:

Buckley, who is studying maths and science at A level, manages to squeeze in watching Liverpool FC games between his athletics commitments.

He wants to go far in the sport and represent his country.

"I want to become an international runner, Great Britain and England, that’s the dream," he said.

"It’s going to take a lot of hard work and discipline."

He said he is grateful for the help he has around him.

"I get good coaching and good support from my parents, my coach Phil Hicken, Jordan and his dad Nick Jones at the club too."