Leamington more than hold their own among cross-country elite

Leamington C&AC's fourth-placed ladies' team. Pictures submitted
Leamington C&AC's fourth-placed ladies' team. Pictures submitted

Leamington C&AC’s men’s and women’s teams were not daunted by their step ups to Division One, finishing seventh and fourth on the opening days of their respective cross-country leagues.

The men’s team had not competed in the top flight of the Birmingham League since 2005/06, when they only lasted one season.

Kenilworth Runners' men line up ahead of their first Birmingham League fixture of the season.

Kenilworth Runners' men line up ahead of their first Birmingham League fixture of the season.

However, the 30-strong squad did not look out of place among the region’s elite athletes at Pittville Park in Cheltenham, with Callum Hanlon finishing first for C&AC and 21st overall in a time of 33min 49sec.

He was followed by seasoned cross-country runners Paul Andrew (34:54), Simeon Howson (35:30) and Phil Gould (35:42), with Kieran Chahal (36:19) and Lewis Fagge (36:52) making up the A team.

Chahal and Fagge, along with team-mates Greg West (38:42) and Alex Ibbs (41:46) provided an added boost in their first year as seniors.

West was also fifth counter for the B team which also finished in seventh place.

Spa Striders' ladies team.

Spa Striders' ladies team.

He was supported by Dean Mawby, who had a fantastic race, finishing as first counter for the B team in 36:55.

Dominic Hull (37:53), Richard Merrell (38:00), Jack Savage (38:28) and Gavin Fowler (39:49) completed a strong B line-up.

Other Leamington C&AC runners: John Knibb (40:32); Marc Curtis (40:42); Craig Bower (40:53); Tristan Warren (41:15); Steve Hundal (41:18); Jason Hill (41:31); Jordan King (41:42); James Joyce (43:03); Simon Perkin (43:11); Robert Wilson (43:37); Brian Miller (43:49); Andrew Higgins (45:06); Peter Stockbridge (45:36); Steve Roberts (46:17); Alex Montgomery (49:56); Sagar Depala (50:17); Graham Roberts (54:25)

Also competing in Division One, Kenilworth Runners’ A team finished ninth, while their B team was eighth.

Ben Taylor (35:20) was first home for Kenilworth in 56th position, with Andy Siggers (79th in 35:57), Connor Carson (95th in 36:30), Andy Crabtree (114th in 37:03), Kev Hope (119th in 37:21) and Stuart Hopkins (127th in 37:33) the other team scorers.

Other Kenilworth Runners finishers: Dewi Williams (37:57); Stanley Doxey (38:27); Matt Dyer (39:22); Wayne Briggs (39:55); Nicholas Williams (39:58); Peter Bryan(40:19); Jim Sawle (42:04); Bradlee Tod (42:20); Neil Cressy (44:08); Stewart Underhill (45:39); Michael Williams (46:12); Neil Emsden (52:45); Tom Dable (58:55).

Leamington’s ladies headed to Coundon Park, Coventry for the first fixture of the Midland’s Women’s Cross Country League, which comprised a two-lap course which saw rather boggy conditions for November as well as a challenging wooded section.

Kelly Edwards shrugged off a lack of sleep due to having six-month-old twins and a poorly toddler to run a strong race, finishing 29th overall in 27:23.

Zara Blower (33rd in 27:49), Monica Williamson (34th in 27:57) and Jenny Jeeves (38th in 28:03) packed well to complete the fourth-placed team.

With Edwards, Williamson and Jeeves also being eligible for masters’ status, a 47th-placed finish for Wendy Daniels (28:33) earned Leamington first place on the day.

Other Leamington C&AC runners: Saffia Del Torre (29:59); Courtney Thornberry (30:46); Shamira Naidu-Young (32:24); Eve Walpole (32:35); Sara Atkins (33:17); Laura Gould (33:20); Sara Wills (34:26); Carol Blower (35:16); Wendy Woodhouse (35:19); Judith Hanlon (35:44); Emma Matthews (37:06); Tara Fagge (37:18); Mary Donaldson (37:44); Helen West (38:01); Delia Caruana (38:46); Louise Marsh (40:00).

Kenilworth Ladies, who found themselves back in Division One after league restructuring despite finishing in the bottom three last season, were seventh of the 15 teams and runners-up to Leamington in the masters’ competition.

Frankie Gibbs had an excellent run, finishing 18th overall in 25:44, with Sarah Rose (37th in 28:03), Laura Pettifer (46th in 28:16) and Rachel Miller (75th in 30:05) being the scoring counters.

However it was Kenilworth’s strength in depth that was invaluable with the next five ladies finishing within 60 seconds of each other.

Other Kenilworth Runners finishers: Jane Phillips (30:20); Stef Lunn (30:21); Kelly Burnett Nicholl (30:32); Louise Andrews (30:34); Pamela Grimwade (31:20); Tina Crow (31:54); Jane Kidd (32:11); Bella Doxey (32:14); Shani Samarasekera (32:42); Michelle Oxtoby (33:48); Becky Phagura (34:00); Lucy Williams (34:05); Samantha Starvis (34:09); Linda Fullaway (34:12); Mel Knight (34:13); Elisse Breugelmans (34:13); Sally Hicks (34:31); Kerrie Flippance (35:04); Rachel Armstrong (35:32); Sophie Cookson (35:55); Amanda Holmes (36:57); Susie Blackwell (37:32); Samantha Moffatt (37:58); Pauline Dable (42:48); Kate Wilson (43:57); Fatema El-Wakeel (44:22).

Spa Striders finished 11th out of the 15 teams with their masters’ team coming home in fourth.

Spa Striders runners: Carolyn Wilkinson (29:07); Laura Peake (29:22); Kate Gadsby (29:45); Jo Fleming (30:01); Bethan Gwynn (30:01); Anne Hurrell (30:37); Helene Wright (31:36); Clare Hinton (31:51); Fiona Edwards (31:59); Claudine Piper (33:03;); Ruth Tennant (33:04); Lucy Tugwell (33:06); Amanda Wiggins 34:39; Jude Baum (34:57; Catherine Friggens (35:11); Monika Coleman (35:11); Lucy Marcovitch (35:20); Giada Pizzoni (39:26) and Kathleen McCann (40:53).

Spa Striders men’s squad made the trip to Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Telford to compete for the first time in Division Two after promotion last season.

The A team finished 13th out of 17 teams, while the B team were 12th out of 13 teams.

Sixteen men represented Striders, with Chris McKeown (60th in 33:24,), Paul Edwards (79th in 34:04), Adam Notley (88th in 34:30), Steve Taylor (111th in 35:18), Keith Wilson (114th in 35:25, ) and Jamie Phillips (151st in 36:23) the scoring six.

Other Spa Striders finishers: Simon Parsons (37:45); Chris Wilson (38:02); Gethyn Friswell (38:19); Clive Parpworth (38:41); Rob Thompson (38:43); Paul Quinney (39:24); Rob Egan (39:31); Graham Donaghue (42:39); Doug Rattray (42:58) and Pete Schofield (43:11).