Rossendale Free Press
Harriers make most of home advantage
THE final fixture of the Red Rose Cross League took place on home turf for the Harriers at Marl Pits on Saturday and, for the senior men, their home advantage proved to be crucial as they took their first team win of the season.
Marl Pits is notorious for its tough courses and muddy conditions underfoot but on Saturday all the competitors faced bitingly cold winds and heavy rain which contributed to one of the toughest fixtures there for several years.
The U11 Boys were also winners, their first of the season, thanks to Harry Hopkinson in sixth place, Charlie Dobson just three seconds behind in seventh and Jacob Stacey in 15th.
Arthur Grenfell and and Cole Marsden were separated by one second for 20th and 21st positions respectively.
U11 Alice Carr ended her Red Rose season with another excellent run to take second place on the day and third overall in the league, after a remarkable debut year in cross country.
The consistent Holly Nicholls in 8th place and Evie Halliwell in seventeenth place completed the team for third on the day and ended the season in overall third place.
It was a great turnout for the girls with Iona Bell, Bo Dawson, Amelia Smith, Rosie Bacon and Millie Ellison also finishing.
Isaac Snape in eighth place led his U13 team of Francis Vidler, 11th and Alfie Walker, 15th to third team on the day but finished outside of the overall medals in fourth position. Henry Sagar, Thomas Smith, Elliott Webster Joshua Clowes and Toby Steel also ran.
For the girls, Matilda Duffy, running in only her second league race of the season, made light work of the conditions to take fourth place and, together with Xara Lewis in 12th and Ruby Cleaver in 17th, led her team to third on the day but sadly well out of the medals for the season.
The U15 Harriers were thin on the ground but a fine run by Daisy Halewood, her best of the season placed her in fifth place and likewise Evie Hargreaves in seventh place. Peter Williams and James Boyd ran for the boys.
Will Curry will finish in fifth place for the season but he wasn’t well on the day and the conditions and a lost shoe on the first lap put paid to his race on Saturday and he didn’t finish, a great shame as he was in fine form.
However Joe Ormrod relished the tough course and, although not back to his very best, he ran the
U17 champions William Walker pretty close to take second place on Saturday and into third place overall.
Oliver Webster finished in sixth place.
It’s been a tough season for the senior ladies but their sixth team place from ten in total was their best so far and on Saturday Natalie Murphy showed what a tough competitor she is to lead the team home finishing in 21st from 73 runners.
Joanne Cleaver in 27th, Karen Goldswain, 47th and Hena Chaudry, 49th completed the team and Sara Steel and Christine Smith also ran.
The senior men finally chalked up a team win on the day after a fascinating three lap race. Blackburn’s Luke Betts, a surprise winner, led from the start but had to put in his best run of the season to shake off Blackpool’s Adam Hartley before crossing the finish line with a 34 second advantage.
Joe Hopley, the 2019 U17 Men’s champion, had his best run, not only of the season, but his young career to finish in fifth place and first U20, a remarkable performance in his first senior year.
Sean Greenwood also made light of the atrocious conditions to claim his first top ten placing in eighth place, another fine run and, with Jon Cleaver, Michael Corbishley, Chris
Snell and Matthew Clawson completing the team it resulted in a narrow win for the men over Bury.
It wasn’t Ben Kirkman’s day as he finished in 26th place and out of the team placings but he will find solace in the fact that he will end the season in third place overall and the first U20 man.
The veterans just missed out on first team but Jon Cleaver should finish the season as veteran champion as well as second senior once the provisional results have been confirmed and Mervyn Keys will also join the ranks of the award winners as MV60 champion as he once again finished the day as first in his category.