TWO budding boxers saw their National Championship dreams dashed at the final hurdle in Manchester.
Hartlepool pair Ryan Brown and Adam Cope had made it all the way to the last two of the schoolboy competition in their respective age groups.
But the Gus Robinson Development ABC duo came up against strong London opposition and returned to the North East with runners-up medals.
Brown, a schoolboy champion 12 months ago, came up against undefeated West Ham Boys BC boxer Viddal Riley in the U57-kilo class-two final.
But the East London fighter, who had won all of his previous 20 bouts, stopped the 13-year-old from Hesleden in the final round.
Coach Wayne Short explained: “Ryan was up against a lad who was just a lot stronger.
“He’s had 20 fights and stopped his opponent in 14 of them so we knew it was going to be tough.
“Nonetheless Ryan gave a great show and did very well in the first round.
“After that the other lad’s strength started to show through and it was stopped in the last round.
“It was disappointing but Ryan can be proud of what he’s achieved this year.
“He’s had a great run to the final and has beaten some very good boxers along the way.”
Cope, meanwhile, went down to an 18-15 points decision against Hooks ABC’s Harry Connolly in the U40-kilo class-three final, coaches Short and Tony Martin believing he should have got the nod.
And Short added: “I thought Adam had definitely done enough to win and we were surprised when the points decision went against him.
“He was three down after the first round, which was fair enough, and through the whole fight he didn’t box as well as he has done.
“But he came back into it after the first round and we really thought he’d won it.
“Because of that it’s disappointing and I know Adam was upset afterwards.
“But he’ll bounce back and, like Ryan, he’s a had a great run to the final and can be very proud of what he’s achieved.”
As a result of their success, the pair have been chosen to represent England at the forthcoming Four Nations Championships.
“It’s a fantastic achievement to get chosen for your country,” said trainer Short.
“They’ve both got a lot to look forward to and still have plenty of time to develop into very good fighters – this is just the start for them really.”