Leamington edge away from Birmingham League drop zone

Leamington C&AC's ladies at Trentham.
Leamington C&AC's ladies at Trentham.

Leamington C&AC’s men edged further away from the Birmingham Cross-Country League Division One drop zone after another strong performance in the third round at Abington Park in Northampton on Saturday.

Despite illness and injuries, Leamington fielded 27 runners, finishing 12th on the day, to lift themselves to 12th overall of the 16 teams, with the bottom three to be relegated after the final race of the season at Newbold Comyn.

Spa Striders' ladies.

Spa Striders' ladies.

Dom Priest and Andy Savery, making their first appearances this season, set the A team up with 49th (35min 4sec) and 73rd (36:29), respectively over the undulating 10k course.

Isaac Rothman was 87th in 36:55, with Henry Morton 94th in 37:16 and captain Phil Gould 99th in 37:35.

With six to score for the team it required someone to step up on the day and Jack Savage, running one of his best races for some time, closed the team in 120th in 38:26.

C&AC showed their strength in depth, with their B team (finishers 7-12) within 40 positions of each other led by Frazer Knowles (129th in 39:00).

Kenilworth Runners at Trentham.

Kenilworth Runners at Trentham.

Debutant Chris Rawcliffe was pleased with 131st, just six seconds adrift.

Dean Mawby (142nd in 39:25), Scott Thomas (148th in 39:44), Ray Charlton (161st in 40:21) and Steve Hundal (169th in 40:49) completed the B team, who finished eighth on the day to move up to fifth for the season.

Kenilworth Runners bolstered their hopes of joining Leamington in the top flight next season after a strong performance at Coombe Abbey lifted them to within 20 points of Newcastle (Staffs) AC in the final promotion place in Division Two.

Kev Hope battled the mud and errant sheep to lead the team home in 34:32 for 20th place.

Ben Taylor (21st in 34:33) and Andy Crabtree (25th in 34:50) were in close attendance.

Oliver Flippance was 36th in 36:00 for fourth junior, with Dewi Williams (45th in 36:21) and Jonathan Harrison (58 in 27:01) completing the Kenilworth counters.

Spa Striders were also out in full force to take on the 5.4 miles, with the A team coming in sixth place and the B team in third.

Ian Allen led them home in third place overall in 32:42, with Chris McKeown finishing 12th in 33;58.

Steve Taylor (36:29) was next in, followed closely by Pete Soley (36:34), Simon Ludford (37:00) and Tim Beresford (37:02).

The race was won by Shaun Evans of Royal Sutton Coldfield in 31:30 and there were 237 finishers.

In only her third cross-country race, Leamington C&AC’s Hannah Thorne finished tenth in the latest instalment of the Midland Women’s Cross Country League.

Thorne finished the hilly 4.4 mile course at Park Hall Country Park, Trentham in an impressive 28:01.

Thorne was joined by another eight Leamington C&AC ladies, with Zara Hadfield (33rd in 33:10), Jenny Jeeves (52nd in 31:24) and Courtney Depala (88th in 34:29) completing the ninth-placed ladies’ team.

Jeeves, Depala and Judith Hanlon (110th in 37:53 ) completed a depleted masters’ team.

A small Spa Striders contingent were 12th overall, with the masters’ team coming in in third place.

Mairi Walker was first home for them in 43rd (30:53) and was followed home by the masters’ trio of Mel Venables (51st in 31:22), Claire Davidson (54th in 31:32)and Laura Peake (61st in 32:00).

Kenilworth Runners’ leading pair exchanged places from the previous fixture with Marie Matthews first home on this occasion in 29:48 (26th) with Emma Ford in 30:29 (37th) joining her in the seniors’ category.

The duo were followed by a trio of masters runners, with Rachel Miller 57th in 31:46, Laura Pettifer 60th in31:58 and Kelly Burnett Nicholl 81st in 34:04.

The result placed Kenilworth Runners eighth overall on the day which is their highest team position of the season.

There were 141 finishers with Niamh Brown from Birmingham University winning in 25:50.

Kenilworth’s young runners were also in action at the weekend, with Erin Cassidy enjoying her first top-20 finish and Vittoria Launchbury improving her finish time by nearly two-and-a-half minutes on the previous race.

Meanwhile, Kenilworth Runners’ Louise Andrews finished eighth lady and third in category at the Cannock Chase Trig Race.

The tough challenge covers 16 miles and 1,500ft of climb, with Andrews completing it alongside partner Neil Sheward in 2:25;53 for 53rd overall. Sheward was fourth in his age category.