Allen romps to history-making victory in Division Two clash at Clopton Park

Claire Davidson and Emma Ford battle it out early on at Clopton Park.
Claire Davidson and Emma Ford battle it out early on at Clopton Park.

Spa Striders’ Ian Allen claimed a superb victory in Division Two of the Birmingham & District Cross Country League on Saturday.

Allen made Striders history by crossing the line first at Clopton Park in 36min 27sec.

Ben Taylor in action for Kenilworth Runners.

Ben Taylor in action for Kenilworth Runners.

Chris McKeown moved up the field from the first league race to finish 13th in 38:00.

Striders A team finished joint fourth, with Neil Smith (20th in 39:06), Steve Taylor (32nd in 39:46), Chris Liddle (48th in 41:14) and Adam Notley (63rd in 42:36) completing their scoring six.

Kenilworth Runners put themselves back in the promotion mix with a runners-up spot on the day lifting them to fourth overall after two races.

Andy Crabtree was first home for Kenilworth Runners in 16th position with a time of 38:22, with Kev Hope close behind him in 38:58 for 19th.

Spa Striders line up ahead of race two of the Midland Women's Cross Country League.

Spa Striders line up ahead of race two of the Midland Women's Cross Country League.

Oliver Flippance came home in 39:08 for 21st overall and third in the junior category, with Ben Taylor 26th in 39:27.

Dewi Williams (40th in 40:29), Oliver Lunn (42nd in 40:38) and Matt Dyer (53rd in 42:00) were their remaining scorers.

Saturday also saw Clopton Park playing hosts to the second round of the Midland Women’s Cross Country League, with the ladies facing two challenging laps of the Welcombe Hills.

Hannah Thorne of Leamington C&AC continued her impressive introduction to cross-country, finishing 15th in 28:02.

Kenilworth Runners' youthful cross-country contingent.

Kenilworth Runners' youthful cross-country contingent.

Clubmate Zara Hadfield crossed the line 30th in 29:27, with Jenny Jeeves, returning from injury, 62nd in 31:01.

Aneta Radaczewska was the fourth counter for an under-strength C&AC, crossing the line 70th 31:56 which left the club 11th on the day.

Eighteen women ran for Kenilworth Runners who finished a place ahead of Leamington in tenth.

Emma Ford led them home in 17th in 28:18, with Marie Matthews (25th in 29:01) also well placed.

Spa Striders placed eighth overall and third masters’ team, with Claire Davidson fifth master in 29:31.

She was joined in the scoring four by Mairi Walker, Fiona Ferguson and Laura Peake.

There were 165 finishers with Sophie Tarver from Loughborough Students winning in 25:17.

Leamington C&AC moved out of the relegation zone in Birmingham League Division One after an improved performance at Betley Court Park, near Crewe.

After finishing 14th of the 16 teams in the opening round, Leamington, bolstered by the inclusion of Callum Hanlon who had driven down from Barrow, came home tenth overall to climb to 13th at the half-way stage of the season.

Conditions were surprisingly dry and mild for the three-lap, undulating course of approximately six miles.

Hanlon led Leamington home in 18th spot, with his time of 32min 31sec less than two minutes behind University of Birmingham winner Michael Ward (30:49).

Hanlon was well supported by junior Bal Kandola (37th in 33:26), with captain Phil Gould (69th in 35:09) one of four tightly packed men alongside Henry Morton (77th in 35:25), Paul (83rd in 35:29) and debutant Shannon Frick (86th in 35:35).

Leamington’s strength in depth was illustrated as the B team (7th to 12th team members) pushed other club’s runners down the placings by finishing fourth on the day.

Dean Mawby was 104th in 36:17, with Vassilis Andreoulakis (111th in 36:47), Jack Savage (117th in 37:03), Scott Thomas (136th in 38:03), Ray Charlton (140th in 38.25) and Charlie Staveley (151st in 39:11) making up the B team.

Leamington C&AC’s youngsters travelled to Perry Park on Sunday to compete in the West Midlands Young Athlete Cross Country League in the shadow of the rubble of Alexandra Stadium.

The under-17 girls were again out in force, packing together to claim a fine fifth place.

Milly Minshull was first home for C&AC, in 17th place, with Ana Lovett crossing the line a place behind.

Rose Cale was 22nd, with Emily Lovett and Lucy Green crossing the line in 29th and 30th, respectively.

Rositsa Gugutkova and Saffie Chuba were also tightly packed, in 33rd and 34th.

The only other full team to be fielded was in the under-11 boys’, where Leamington were ninth overall courtesy of Archie Lane (15th), Louis Proctor 25th and brothers Ishan (33rd) and Nimal Carson (57th).

The highest finisher for the club was Caitlin French who came home seventh in the under-11 girls’ race.

Team-mate Rosa Wetherall improved on her placing from the previous round to finish 22nd.

Ila Lane was the sole runner in the under-13 girls’ race, coming home 54th, while a battle in the under-13 boys’ race between Oliver Wetherall (34th) and James Gould (45th) was cut short when Gould got his watch tangled in the race tape, losing him valuable seconds and places.

Three under-15 boys took part, with Ruaric Winston 35th, Harry Bailey 52nd and Sam Morrey, who has not raced anything further than 200m since the start of the 2019, 65th.

In the last race of the day, Mel Gould and Eva Fitzpatrick finished 46th and 67th, respectively in the under-15 girls’.