Weekly update – 18th January 2024

This week’s action was all over the country as it was a busy weekend for those racing through the mud for the club. We had a double header on Saturday as both the men’s and women’s teams were in action at the same venue and then it was the turn of the younger brigade twenty-four hours later.

The action got underway at a surprisingly dry Warley Woods where the ladies were first off covering a two-lap course around parkland, through wooded sections and criss-crossing up and down hills, a great course for spectators, not so much for those running. Both races were pumped up by the number of additional runners from the universities who used the race as a qualifier for the BUCS championships, and with Birmingham Uni hosting, their red vests were very much to the fore.

Beth Tabor was mixing it with the university girls coming home in 21st place in 24.41, Isabelle Price was not far behind in 25th in 24.59, Ella Semple was 30th in 25.15 and Lucy Calrow completed the A team scorers in 66th place in 26.45. Sabrina Thomas was 88th in 27.42, Hannah Creamer placed 111th in 28.43, Emily Simmonds was 136th in 30.10 and Danni Braine placed 176th in 33.44. This was good enough to place the club 4th on the day behind the might of Birmingham University, Loughborough and Tipton Harriers.

The men were off an hour later covering an additional lap of the same course and again, were missing some of the big guns. Jack Bonser brought the club home in 43rd place in 30.26, Louie Lambeth was 65th in 31.23, Luke Maskew was 109th in 32.42, Dan Maskew was 114th in 32.52, Ben Foster came home in 125th in 33.05 and Dan Vaughan completed the A team scorers finishing in 178th place in 35.43. Joe St Quinton was first home for the B team in 185th place in 36.24, Derrick Milligan was 188th in 36.46, Dave Newport was 196th in 37.22, Dave Norman was 220th in 40.00, Mark Illidge finished in 41.19 to take 227th place, Andy Dyall was 233rd in 43.07, Paul Dean 236th in 43.33, Lee Partridge 239th in 44.22, Rob Edwards 245th in 45.22 and Russ Blair finished in 47.06 in 250th place.

The club were 15th of 16 on the day, less than 150 points behind Rugby & Northants and Gloucester, just confirming that two or three of the big players would have made a massive difference, but we did the best we could with what we’d got. This means we go into the final fixture at Northampton in 13th place, 4th from bottom and looking over our shoulders at the three clubs below us in the relegation spots. We have a healthy lead on Rugby & Northampton who are a place behind, but we need to make sure all our big guns are firing in that final fixture.

It was the turn of the clubs’ younger athletes on Sunday with the fourth fixture in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League at Nuneaton. There was a 1st and 2nd in the U17 ladies race with Isobelle Jones taking the win in 15.09, chased home by Megan White who was runner up in 16.04. Scarlett Willoughby placed 15th in 17.44, Jessica Yang was 19th in 17.50, Millie Williams 27th in 18.41, Ruby Buggins 32nd in 19.06 and Zena Asbury 34th in 19.13. This was enough to place them 1st in their age group. There was another victory for the club in the U11 boys race with Seb Palmer leading the field home in 7.03, George Nicholls was 7th in 7.28, Cameron Guest placed 17th in 7.44, Edison Bowden 50th in 8.28, Evan Nash 56th in 8.33, Frankie Mason 86th in 9.33, and George Hines 100th in 10.25. The club placed 3rd in the age group. Oliver Cresswell was first back for the U17 men in 3rd place in 16.59. There was another 1st and 2nd finish in the U11 girls race with Lila Pearce crossing the line in 1st place in 7.10, closely followed by Alba Jones in 7.18, Biba Guest placed 5th in 8.07, Adelaide Southall was 13th in 8.15, Chloe Cashmore-Jones 19th in 8.21, Hero Johnson-Woods 92nd in 9.52, Isla Gaunt 97th in 10.02. The club, not surprisingly, placing 1st in the age group. 

In the U15 boys race there was a 5th place finish for Sam Thursfield in 11.57, Jack Stockton was 6th in 12.02, Will Hughes was 9th in 12.22, Samuel Southall placed 17th in 13.09, Aryan Kumar Pal 33rd in 13.50, with the club finishing 1st. There was another win in the girls U13 race with Kiki Guest claiming victory in 9.39, Alice Cattell was 28th in 11.06, Erin-Mia Nash was 39th in 11.19, Kaleah Moulder 42nd in 11.21, Gracie Billett 44th in 11.21, Amira Moulder 45th in the same time, Evelyn Haines was 49th in 11.26, Phoebe Bridgen 53rd in 11.34, Amiyah Kumar Pal 71st in 12.06, Clara Butler-Montero 72nd in 12.08, Beatrice Simpson 90th in 12.52, with the club placing 6th in the age group. Rocco Hawley placed 2nd in the U13 boys race, just 5 seconds behind the winner, Theo Ulfig was 7th in 9.22, Jonathan Yang 9th in 9.26, Aaron Guest 52nd in 11.00, again placing the club in 6th. And in the U15 girls race Grace Hendy placed 14th in 14.21, Lucy Horton 31stin 15.39, Mary Read 60th in 18.07, placing 11th in the age group. 

The overall standings on the day placed the club in 4thplace behind Rugby & Northampton, Stratford upon Avon and RSCAC, but still 3rd overall after 4 fixtures with one still to play.

Dave Norman

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