YOUTH SPORT: HUNDREDS of youngsters from across the borough braved atrocious weather to compete in the Cheshire Youth Games in Macclesfield on Saturday.

But the wind and rain failed to dampen the spirits of the Ellesmere Port & Neston teams, four of whom returned home victorious.

Each was clutching a shield to honour their outstanding achievements.

The borough's winning teams were Athletics Years 5 & 6, Girls' Cricket, Girls' Football Year 7, and Girls' Football Years 8 & 9 - a quartet who, on the day, displayed skill, passion and commitment in abundance.

The victorious cricket squad consisted of Emma Fearnley, Madeleine Hardy, Charlotte Swanborough, Jenny Stewart, Rebekah Randall and Claire Smith.

And the Athletics Years 5 & 6 team comprised Danielle Bentley, Abby Butler, Sarah Eaglesham, Tracey O'Toole, Sian Clowes, Sophie Hayward, James Artell, Aaron Ash-worth, Josh Walker, Joshua Edge, Liam Mc-Fadden and Thomas Littler.

Ages ranged from 10 to 15 and participants came from the five high schools and 30 primary schools in the town.

About 250 children from across the borough - all sponsored by Shell Stanlow - took part in eight different sports including athletics, basketball, cheerleading and rugby.

It is estimated that 2,500 pupils in total took part in the Games in what is Cheshire's largest multi-sporting event.

Competitions and trials were held throughout the year, with up to 2,000 of the country's best young athletes taking part in the event.

The sporting bonanza was all made possible by about 500 volunteers who gave up their time to be team managers, coaches and site officials.

Aim of the annual event is to provide a high quality sporting experience for young people. It is organised by Sport Cheshire with financial backing from Sport England, Cheshire County Council, local boroughs and sponsors.

Lee Bailey, the borough council's youth sport development officer, said: 'Although the weather was poor throughout the day, it did not dampen the team spirit.

'There were some excellent individual and team performances, notably from the girls' basketball and girls' rugby squads who were competing against older opponents.

'The youngsters had a great time and there was so much enthusiasm. They were supported by numerous parents, teachers, friends and volunteers to make it a memorable day for all concerned. For many, it was their first ever competition outside school.'

He added: 'The girls' football performances were even more remarkable as the squads were chosen only a week before the competition and thanks must go to the organisation and support given by Ellesmere Port Girls' Football Club.

'Thanks must also go to Shell UK which supported the borough squad for a sixth successive year, and all the volunteer team managers and officials who helped make the 2004 competition the best ever.'

For information on youth sports opportunities in the area, call Lee Bailey on 0151 356 6456 or e-mail