Superb result as ladies take Midlands League third place
CHELTENHAM Harriers ladies team produced their best ever Midland Women’s Cross Country League result as they finished third at the division one fixture in Stratford.
Elsewhere, the men enjoyed a fine third place finish in their Birmingham League division one fixture at Warley Woods.
Having won the division two title last year, the ladies finished ninth in the opening match of the season, but with a stronger squad available they were hoping to break into the top half of the 15-team division.
Naomi Eaton again excelled on the challenging terrain and with new recruit Rachel Underhill and Laura Smith not far behind the trio remained in relatively close proximity for race.
Eaton came home in an excellent 13th, with Underhill one place and nine seconds adrift as she finished four seconds clear of 16th-placed Smith.
Loughborough (33) and Birmingham (44) were heading the team standings and the battle for third team was coming down to the fourth scorer in a close three-way battle.
Wolverhampton had their fourth lady home in 38th place to score 81, before Fee Maycock crossed the line in 36th to give the Cheltenham team a score of 79 ahead of Birchfield whose fourth runner gave them an aggregate of 80.
The result moved the team up into sixth in the overall standings.
Leah Hopton and Roxanne Jones provided vital backup in 96th and 106th respectively, although the day was tainted by Kathryn Morton taking a nasty fall and fracturing her shoulder in the early stages of the race.
The men were hoping to consolidate their top five position in the Birmingham League fixture.
Dom James found himself in 13th place at the end of the first of the three large laps then moved into ninth with a lap to go before passing two more athletes on the final circuit to lead the team home in an excellent seventh place.
Luke Pollard moved through from around 20th at halfway to cross the line in 17th and the battle to be third Harrier home was a close affair, with Richard de-camps and Dan Owen running side by side.
Owen kicked three seconds clear in the final straight as they finished in 28th and 29th respectively.
Jacob Pickering was 39th and Doug Wight followed two seconds and three places later to complete the six man scoring team.
With a total of 162 the Cheltenham squad claimed third place behind Birchfield (48) and Birmingham University (112), whilst finishing clear of rivals Tipton (169) and Loughborough University (214) in the 16-strong division.
The result means the club remains fifth in the overall standings at the halfway point.
The B team were led home by Marcus England in 56th position before George Watson and
James Bingham crossed the line together 10 seconds later for 62nd and 63rd respectively.
Alex Lee then followed in 68th before Dave Aubrey in 78th and Dan Thomas in 80 th completed the team.
Their cumulative score of 406 earned third place behind Birmingham University and Birchfield, as they also retained third position in the overall standings. Outside the scoring teams, but providing great support in a field of 293 finishers were Chris Booth (113th), Andy Gore (130th), Dan Schofield (187th) and debutant Phil Brush (188th). Caroline Cotterell and Nick Holliday competed in the Bromham Pudding 10km road race where Cotterell had her best run for more than six years finishing as sixth lady and first LV45 runner in 43:51 whilst Holliday finished as second V60 runner with 40:42. There were parkrun first places for Liam Roarty (17:03) at the Malahide event in Dublin, Alex Doherty (17:21) in Evesham and Dave Tomiln (18:43) in Newent. Kaitlyn Sheppard (20:28) was first lady and fourth overall in Tewkesbury whilst there were second places for Simon Critchley (18:18) at the Lake Divonne parkrun in Geneva and Gareth Edwards (18:45) at the Gloucester City event. The Cheltenham parkrun in Pittville Park reverted to its four lap winter route where Matt Lambourne (18:38) came home fourth and Oliver Doherty (19:38) had a run out.
The Harriers ladies’ team