Leamington C&AC well placed after a brutal opening to Midland campaign

Runners tackle a descent at the Midland Women's Cross-Country League event at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. Pictures: Lou Smith
Runners tackle a descent at the Midland Women's Cross-Country League event at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. Pictures: Lou Smith

Leamington C&AC’s women sit an impressive fifth in Division One after the opening race of the Midland Women’s Cross-Country League at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park.

An already saturated course was made even more treacherous by steady rain, with the combination of hills, mud and camber making for a true test of runners’ cross-country abilities.

Emma Ford was first home for Kenilworth Runners.

Emma Ford was first home for Kenilworth Runners.

Thirteen C&AC ladies lined up on the start line and they were again led home by Kelly Edwards.

Despite taking time to warm up on the two-lap 6.4k course, she finished just inside the top ten and second master in 28min 28sec.

Newcomer to cross-country Hannah Thorne was not put off by the harsh conditions, finishing 19th in 29:35 with Natalie Bhangal 24th in 30:07.

Zara Hadfield (31:05) completed the scoring team in 37th position.

Runners set out at the start of the Birmingham League Division Two race.

Runners set out at the start of the Birmingham League Division Two race.

Fiona Ferguson (30:34) produced a fine run for host club Spa Striders to come home in 29th.

Claire Davidson (45th in 31:35), Laura Peake (47th in 31:36) and Alice Bourne (56th in 32:14) completed the scorers for Spa who finished in eighth.

Charlotte Everard (32:37), Melissa Venables (33:08), Kate Gadsby (33:50) provided good back-up.

Emma Ford ran well to lead Kenilworth Runners home in 29:33 for 17th place.

She was joined in the scoring four by Laura Pettifer (71st in 32:46), Kelly Burnett-Nicholl (79th in 33:30) and Jenny Vaughan (80th in 33:32) as Kenilworth finished 11th of the 17 teams.

Division Two of the Birmingham & District Cross-Country League followed, with the men taking on three laps of the already churned-up course.

Kenilworth Runners had a few runners absent but managed to secure fourth team out of 14, with Ben Taylor (17th in 40:01), George Crawford (32nd in 40:55), Kev Hope(33rd in 41:07), Dewi Williams (38th in 41:44), Oliver Flippance (41st in 42:13) and Matt Dyer (60th in 43:45) scoring and gaining good support from Felix Lunn (65 in 43:59) and Ryan Baker (89 in 45:13).

The Kenilworth B team finished second out of 11 teams.

The results were marred, by an injury to Richard Clarke, however, who fell during the race and broke an ankle.

Taking a break from his organisational duties, Chris Mckeown led Spa Striders home in 39:59 (16th).

He was followed by Neil Smith (39th in 41:49), Steven Taylor (42nd in 42:13 ), Simon Ludford (49th in 42:54), Richard Spear (62nd in 43:49) and Tim Beresford (90th in 45:16) as Striders finished in eighth.

Pete Teevan (46:25), John-Paul Hunt (46:33), Chris Wilson (49:42), Ben Parkinson (49:50), Richard Sykes (50:32), Jason Hemming (50:59) made up the tenth-placed B team.

Despite a late venue change, Leamington C&AC managed to field 19 men at a very cold, wet and muddy Coundon Hall Park in Coventry for the first race of the Birmingham League Division One campaign.

Injuries and unavailability led to a weakened team finishing 14th of the 16 teams, with the B team eighth of 13.

Callum Hanlon was the first man back for the red, white and blues, completing the three-and-a-bit lap, 9k course in 34th (32:27).

A welcome return to the club saw Guy Allen finish 95th in 34:51, with club captain Phil Gould 106th in 35:18.

The in-form Charlie Staveley was 114th in 35:38, with Dean Mawby (117th in 35:41) and 18-year-old debutant Frazer Knowles (124th in 35:50) completing the scoring six.

The B team were made up of Pierre Le Marquer (143rd in 36:61), Jack Savage (148th in 36:38), Iain McLaughlin, who was just a place and a second back, Ray Charlton (181st in 38:30), Steve Hundal (193rd in 39:14) and Brian Miller (199th in 40:03).