Taylor title win on tough course
JOEL Taylor clinched the U17 Men’s Red Rose cross country title on Saturday at Todmorden after an epic battle with club mate Max Cunningham over a course that some observers have described as even tougher than Marl Pits.
Several wet days during the week and constant rain on the day made the Centre Vale Park course very wet and muddy underfoot and that, combined with the hilly terrain made for challenging conditions that suited Joel rather than Max on the day.
Having said that, just five seconds separated the lads after 19mins 30secs of running.
The tough course obviously suited Kurtis Mitton, who had his best run of the season to finish in fourth place, which easily completed the winning team, something that the Harriers have done consistently throughout the season.
U11 Daniel Cunningham had his best run of the season, finishing in 11th place from 84 runners, which secured 12th place overall for the series.
Lily Edmondson in tenth place was the best of the girls, who finished in fourth place thanks to Daisy Halewood, 19th, and Ava Colohan, 23rd but it wasn’t enough to put them into a medal position for the series as they finished in fifth place, but only a few points off second.
Rhys Dunn has been the find of the season and on Saturday, in only his third league race, he overcame the tough conditions to finish in second place in the U13 Boy’s race and just eight seconds behind Chorley’s Jack Lamb.
Joe Ormrod struggled on the day but managed seventh pace, which was enough to confirm him as Red Rose Champion, and Bryn Lawrence, 13th, in his first outing in a Rossendale vest, completed the winning team on the day.
However it wasn’t quite enough to clinch the overall title as they finished just one point behind Trawden but the lads show great promise for the future.
The U13 Girls didn’t fare quite so well in the team stakes but consistent performances throughout the season mean that Evie Taylor, fifth on Saturday, clinched second place in the series, a just reward for an excellent season so far.
Consistency has also been the key for Joe Hopley who finished fifth on Saturday in the U15 Boy’s race and, together with his two fourth places at Bolton and Rossendale, mean that he will finish the series in fourth spot overall. Joe led his team of Jack Smith, 11th and Dominic Mitton, 13th to equal first on the day and tied over the season for second spot with Clayton Harriers, although Horwich are clearly overall champions.
Isobel Cunningham finished the Red Rose season in sixth place overall but fifth on the day leading her team to fourth on Saturday but in overall bronze medal position.
Lauryn Gregg missed out on first place to Horwich’s Charlotte Edwards at Todmorden for the second time this season but her victories in the first two fixtures mean that the title will be officially decided by the league committee on overall time over the four fixtures.
Unofficially, it looks like the Harriers’s England Fell International will be confirmed as champion.
Lily Haygarth and Lucy Pick in seventh and 13th places respectively edged Clayton into second place on the day and, with a healthy points margin over their rivals, they are also league champions.
Emily Morgan has been up against a very good Leigh Harrier, Olivia Stones but she has acquitted herself well in her first serious cross country season and on Saturday her second place in the U20 category was enough to confirm overall silver.
Emily has also emerged as Rossendale’s leading cross country runner this season, illustrated by the fact that she hasn’t finished outside of the top ten in a the senior women’s races.
Her seventh place on a very tough course after 23mins 41secs of running was also enough to place her in fifth spot in the overall senior standings and she will do very well in the county championships should she choose to race in January at Witton Park.
Rob Webb couldn’t quite claim a win in his second outing of the season on the country, just losing out to Bury’s Oliver Makinson by 20 seconds after 37mins 55secs for the four lap 9.3K course but beating Blackburn’s Tim Raynes, whose fourth place will be enough to confirm him as Red Rose champion.
Rossendale’s senior men haven’t turned out their best squad in any of the fixtures so will have to settle for third placed team overall.
Fourth team on the day was earned by Rob, Mark Barrett, who had a promising run for 21st spot, Alan Lundburg-Bury, who is now MV55 champion, Andy Preston, Michael Hunt and Matthew Clawson.
The veteran team of Barrett, Lundburg-Bury, Hunt and Craig Stansfield were second on the day and will be confirmed as second overall for the series behind champions Todmorden.
● Rob Webb was narrowly edged into second place