The fixture calendar always does this too us; we have fallow weekend where we are scratching around and then we have 48 hours where you can’t move for races. This weekend was very much the former rather than the latter.
The seniors got things underway with both men and women’s teams travelling south down the M5 to Cheltenham for the first fixture of their respective cross country leagues. The ladies got the muddy ball rolling with two laps of the course in Division One of the Midlands Women’s League with Ella Semple bringing the club home in 24th place in 26.45, Hannah Creamer was 89th in 29.12 (although some confusion with the results still has her listed as Beth Dyall), Sabrina Thomas was 118th in 30.45 and Emily Simmonds was 138th in 32.24. This placed them in 16th position in the league of 18 clubs but as the next fixture is a home game, we are hopeful of a stronger team.
An hour later it was the men’s turn to run three laps of the same course around parkland with a water crossing to negotiate. Jack Bonser was first home for the club in 59th in 33.38, Rob Meredith was 71st in 33.54, Jamie Ward placed 83rd in 34.30, Dan Maskew was 92nd in 34.57, Luke Maskew finished in 101st in 35.16 and Dan Turner completed the A team with 35.44 for 116th place. Joe St Quinton brough the B team home in 122nd in 35.54, Ben Foster was 151st in 37.06, Dylan Illidge 169th in 38.05, Garry Palmer travelled from Wolverhampton, via Cardiff where his son was racing, to Cheltenham to finish 175th in 38.30, Dan Vaughan was 177th in 38.36, Dan Brazier 188th in 39.03, Tom Pryor was 195th in 39.41, Chris Apperley placed 205th in 40.29, Derrick Milligan was 214th in 41.05, Dave Newport 221st in 41.25, Tony Cheema made his league debut with a 226th place finish in 41.47, Dave Norman was 240th in 43.41, Lee Partridge finished in 45.35, Mark Illidge was 258th in 46.10 and Russ Blair placed 271st in 55.44. This was good enough to place the club 12th in the Seniors league and 6th in the Masters league.
Talk of Cardiff takes us on to the Cardiff Cross Challenge were the club recorded an outstanding win for Seb Palmer in the U11 Boys race over 1250m, Seb led until just after halfway before being headed but battled back to cross the line in 1st place in 4.36. There was a 10th place finish for Oliver Cresswell in the U17 Mens race over 5560m in a time of 18.14, and Harry Dyall placed 59th in the Seniors Mens race over 9600m, which included some top-class Ugandan, Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes, in a time of 35.12.
Twenty-four hours later it was the turn of the junior squad to do their bit in race two of the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League at Newbold Revel hosted by table topping Rugby & Northampton AC. Isobelle Jones got things underway with a win in the U17 Women’s race coming home in 15.12, Megan White was 4th in 16.20, Jessica Yang placed 20th in 17.54, Scarlett Willoughby was 23rd in 18.00, Zena Asbury 31st in 18.52, and Ruby Buggins 33rd in 18.58 to place the club 2nd in the age group.
There was another win for Seb Palmer in the U11 Boys race in 5.54, Cameron Guest was 19th in 6.46, Evan Nash 38th in 7.08, Edison Bowden 46th in 7.10, and George Hines 104th in 8.23. The team placing 5th. There was only one finisher in the U17 Mens race with Seb McEwan placing 55th in 24.42.
Lila Pearce brough the U11 Girls home in 1st place crossing the line in 5.23, just 10 seconds ahead of Alba Jones who placed 2nd in 5.33. Biba Guest was 6th in 6.02, Adelaide Southall was 17th in 6.19, Hero Johnson Woods was 94th in 7.51, Isla Gaunt 97th in 7.54, putting the club 2nd in the age group.
In the U15 Boys race there was a 5th place finish for Sam Thursfield in 10.31, Jack Stockton was 7th in 10.47, Will Hughes 11th in 11.01, Sam Southall 22nd in 11.34, Jayden Burdish 37th in 12.04, Aryan Kumar Pal 58th in 12.38, again placing the club in 2nd position.
In the U13 Girls race there was a 6th place finish for Kiki Guest in 10.48, Gracie Billett was 19th in 11.34, Erin-Mia Nash was 23rd in 11.45, Heidi Hayes was 30th in 11.53, Alice Cattell was 37th in 12.02, Amira Moulder was 49thin 12.25, Evelyn Haines 51st in 12.28, Phoebe Bridgen 53rd in 12.31, Kaleah Moulder 55th in 12.42, Amiyah Kumar Pal 79th in 13.29, Beatrice Simpson 88th in 13.49, placing the club in 3rd in the age group.
And in the U13 Boys the was a 3rd place finish for Rocco Hawley in 9.42, Jonathan Yang was 8th in 10.07, Theo Ulfig placed 17th in 10.28, Tyla Stephenson 49th in 11.20, Aaron Guest 69th in 12.34, placing the club 4th. In the U15 Girls race Grace Hendy placed 14th in 12.46, Ronni Read was 19th in 12.58, Lucy Horton 34th in 13.50, Macy Read 42nd in 14.18, Esther Smith 47th in 14.21, placing them 4th.
Overall, the club dropped a place into 3rd position behind the hosts Rugby & Northampton, and Royal Sutton Coldfield AC but with three races remaining there is still a lot to play for, particularly with the next fixture in December just down the road at Warley Woods.
Finally, to bring things to a close Lee Pearson took part in the Weston Park 10k placing 2nd in a time of 39.48, Peter McCullagh was 52nd in 53.05, claiming 2nd M60.