Joy for James as mens and ladies teams also win
THERE was a race win for Dom James as Cheltenham Harriers mens and ladies teams enjoyed victories at the opening fixture of the Gloucestershire Cross Country League at Old Down Country Park.
The 22 year old placed himself in the lead pack early on, before following University of Bath athlete Alex Lawrence who took the pair clear of the chasing pack on the second of the four laps.
On the third circuit James pushed the pace on and established a small gap of about 30 metres over his rival, before realising that he wasn’t on his final lap and easing back as Lawrence again drew level.
The two athletes then remained locked together on the final lap before James won the sprint for the line by two seconds.
Eliot Taylor ran well for fifth place as he finished four seconds and two places clear of the rejuvenated James Bingham who was the first veteran home.
The battle between the next four Harriers was a close affair, with positions constantly changing through the race as Dave Aubrey paced it perfectly for 11th place.
Alex Lindfield ran well for 13th before Dave Tomlin completed the scoring six as he finished as first V45 athlete in 14th position.
Bidding for a 10th consecutive league title, this gave the Harriers a 33rd consecutive league win as their score of 51 gave them a 46 point margin over rivals Team Bath.
The Harriers B team then packed well with Jamie Harper (16th), debutant Chris Booth (24th), Nick Brown (29th), veteran Dan Minors (34th), Iain Devlin (49th) and Simon Critchley (51st) combining for a score of 203 that earned them third place, two points clear of Team Bath B.
Dave Rantell (56th) completed the four-man veteran team that which also enjoyed an emphatic 137-point team win before Martin Soakell (64th), Ian Giles (66th) and second V60 runner home Mike Ede (120th) completed the 16-strong squad.
The Cheltenham ladies were also starting the defence of their league title and like the men they began with a win.
By the end of the first of three laps Jessica Gibbon (University of Bath) had established a huge lead at the head of the field, whilst Naomi Eaton and Hilary Mott moved through to second and third place respectively. As
Eaton ran a lonely race, Mott looked as though she was under threat from behind before she rallied and reduced the gap to her teammate to just 12 seconds by the finishing line as the positions remained unchanged.
Hannah D’ambrosio ran a well paced race to complete the winning team in 13th place as a team score of 18 gave them an eight-point margin over second placed Team Bath.
Rachel See (16th), Nicola Whiteman (29th) and Joan Shaw (66th) ensured the B team finished 12th whilst the veteran team of Whiteman, Shaw and Christina See (133rd) also claimed 12th place in their competition.