Athletes from Wolverhampton & Bilston AC didn’t have to go far for some action at the weekend, although some found far-flung European destinations to be far more attractive than running around fields within the site of our own stadium or making the short trip to Smethwick.
The action got underway early on Saturday morning as the club hosted the second race of the Birmingham Cross Country League for the men around the fields at Aldersley. With plenty of marking out and roping to be done before the start, car parking to organize, officiating tasks to carry out, marshalling duties to attend to and racing later in the afternoon there was plenty going on.
With some of the bigger players back for this one after missing the first fixture the club were hopeful of climbing up the league a little and they were not disappointed. Tyler Hawley led the club home in 49th place in 34.29, Louie Lambeth was 62nd in 35.18, Dan Turner 65th in 35.34, Jamie Ward 67th in 35.42, Harry Dyall 78th in 36.07 and Ben Foster completed the A team scorers in 94th place in 36.41. With all 6 scorers coming home in the first 100 places this was a great effort from all concerned and placed the club 10th on the day with 415 points, over 200 points better off than in the first fixture. This placed them 11th in the table out of 16 clubs, just over 100 points behind Rugby & Northampton AC.
Joe St Quinton led home the B team in 114th with 37.39, Dylan Illidge was 123rd in 38.00, Anthony Parkes was 151st in 39.09. There was a race within a race for Dave Smith in 160th in 39.42, Dan Vaughan a place and 5 seconds behind and Rich Amor-Wilkes only 2 seconds behind Dan in 162nd place. Paul Marson was chasing them hard in 164th in 39.57. Dave Newport was 177th in 40.39, Paul Dean made his cross country debut for the club in 184th place in 41.08, Darren Owen-Jones was 187th in 41.14, Pete Hood placed 209th in 43.51 having another battle, similar to their Warley Woods tussle from last season, with Jay Patel who was 211st in 44.03, Simon Calrow was 225th in 45.12, Lee Partridge 231st in 45.53, Rob Edwards 233rd in 46.06, Andy Dyall 239th in 46.52, Mark Illidge 242nd in 47.16 and Ivan Fletcher made the brave decision to drop out after two laps due to hamstring issues having made his club debut.
The ladies made the journey to Stratford upon Avon to tackle the hilly course at Clopton Park. With depleted numbers due to injury, lack of fitness, other commitments and regional call ups the club struggled to get numbers together to make up a team and had to put a plea out to ensure a full team assembled at the start line. Of the four that answered the call Beth Rawlinson was 10th in 26.12, Lucy Calrow was 23rd in 27.01, Holly Baddeley was 81stin 30.56 and Emily Simmonds finished in 99th in 31.54. Unfortunately, there is no league table to accompany the results at the moment, but they would suggest the club is tucked in just behind the university girls and big guns within the division and hopeful of better numbers for the next fixture at Warley Woods in January.
Talking of Warley Woods this was the venue for round 3 in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League where the club were hoping to maintain their strong league position. In the U1 girls race Lila Pearce was 3rd in 7.31, Heidi Hayes was 14th in 8.12, Evelyn Haines 23rd in 8.26, Gracie Billett was 25th in 8.29, Biba Guest 29th in 8.32, Jade Brindley 44th in 8.53, Amiyah Pal 48th in 8.58, Lucy Manning 64th in 9.18, Lily-Mae Whitfield 65th in 9.19 and Matilda Berry 82nd in 9.57. It was a procession for the club in the U11 boys race with Seb Palmer crossing the line in 1st place in 6.59, Rocco Hawley was 2nd in 7.00, Harry Bunn 4th in 7.05, Jonathan Yang 6th in 7.10, Theo Ulfig 16th in 7.36, Frankie Mason 64th in 8.54, Elias Thomason 80th in 9.19, Nathan Tierney 86th in 9.35 and Lewis Neilson 100th in 10.50.
In the U13 girls event Grace Hendy followed up a day helping out on Saturday with 2nd place in 10.54 on Sunday for the club, the same applied for Lucy Horton who was 6th in 11.31, Kiki Guest was 17th in 12.03, Amira Moulder 27th in 12.35, Alice Cattell 39th in 13.08, Belle Willoughby 50th in 13.50, Esther Smith 54th in 14.00, Clara Butler-Montero 58th in 14.08, Beatrice Simpson 62nd in 14.20, Maisie Evans 70th in 14.45 and Kaleah Moulder 76th in 15.01. In the U13 boys race there was another victory for Fred Jones who led the field home in 9.13, Will Hughes was 6th in 10.30, Isaac Danbury 16th in 11.11 and Seth Carrington 71st in 14.15.
In the U15 girls race Megan White was 7th in 13.58, Ronni Read 10th in 14.21, Scarlett Willoughby 14th in 14.35, Eleanor Simpson 15th in 14.39, Ruby Buggins 21st in 14.59, Macy Read 51st in 17.32, Harriet Evans 54th in 17.58 and Tabitha Rollins 61st in 19.04. There was another win for the club in the U15 boys race with Owen Ulfig claiming victory in 11.33, Oscar Davis chased him home in 4th in 11.53, Sam Thursfield was 5th in 12.13, Bohdi Finn Shields 6th in 12.16, Jayden Burdish 43rd in 14.05, Kane Carrington 52nd in 14.26 and Aryan Pal 59th in 15.06.
Finally, the U17 age group, in the ladies race there was a 1st place finish for Isobelle Jones in 16.05, Jessica Yang was 20th in 20.26 and Millie Williams placed 23rd in 20.50. And in the mens race James Neilson finished a solid 2nd in 17.37, Theo Palmer was 38th in 20.35 and Jared Richards came home in 21.55 in 45th place.
This was another consistent effort across all age groups which placed the club in 2nd place on the day on 6469 points just behind Rugby & Northampton who topped the table on the day with 6498. The overall table overturns those positions with Wolverhampton & Bilston on top of the pile on 19863 points from Rugby & Northampton on 19517. With two fixtures this leaves the Wolfpack in a great position.
In more sunnier climes although I’m not sure it was that sunny Hannah Corns took part in the St Nikolauslauf 10k in Munich covering two 5k laps of the Olympic Park and finishing in a sparkling new PB of 44.16 which placed her 23rd lady and 9th in her Alterklasse, which I think means age group. Sarah Thurley took part in the far sunnier La Panoramica in Sorrento covering the 27k distance in 2.15.04. And Ceri Card (registered as Gran Bretana and Wolverhampton & Bilston with a nice little Union flag next to her name) took part in the Lanzarote Half Marathon crossing the line in 1.45.51 placing 174th overall, 17thfemale and 5th in her age group, I think if I have worked that out correctly from the Spanish results.