West Yorkshire League Report

Race 1 – Thornes Park, Wakefield

Stephen Robson fighting it out with Ewan Cochrane and Danny Chan

Stephen Robson fighting it out with Ewan Cochrane and Danny Chan

The first race was the October club run so there were a couple of new faces who were trying out some cross country for the first time. They were treated to a lovely warm october day with no sight of any mud.

In the Ladies we had Nik Vogan leading the team home in 18th place followed by Liz Matthews 57th, Louise King 70th, Sam Lyth 79th and Kate Murdoch 80th with the team finishing in 7th.

The men, depleted due to the Fell Relays being on the same day, still managed to field a team. Kim Critchley was an impressive 3rd overall with the rest of the team counters being Darren Hendley, Danny Chan, Ewan Cochrane, Stephen Robson and Pete Downes. The team finished 11th overall.

Race 2 – West Park, Leeds

Kim Critchley

Kim Critchley

A strong performance in the Ladies by Andrea Lancaster in 26th backed up by Caroline Warrington 45th, Louise King 99th and Kate Murdoch 107th meant the ladies finished 13th overall.

The men’s team were bolstered by a few returning runners with Kim Critchley 6th, Simon Collins 57th, Barry Atkinson 62nd, Danny Chan 105th, Mark Clough 165th and Ian Bithell 177th. The team finished in 12th.

Race 3 – Keighley

Ian Bithell

Ian Bithell

Nobody knew quite what to expect as we headed to Keighley, Barry thought he had run here before but once we arrived it was a different course entirely. It was short at only 4 miles for the men but each of the 4 laps featured a hill that was more at home in a fell race than a cross country one. A tricky muddy cambered traverse followed that even in spikes was difficult to maintain your balance on.

The ladies were first to have a crack and they all ran well with Andrea Lancaster 13th, Cassie Holmes 18th, Caroline Warrington 37th and Liz Matthews 74th.

The men were not so fortunate, with only five of us there we were one short of the required six to complete a team. Despite some encouragement, team manager Andy Neale could not be persuaded to don a pair of spikes and shorts. In the end it proved to be immaterial as early on Barry went over on his dodgy ankle and had to retire from the race. Chris Roberts was first over the line in 40th, followed by Rich Tarrega 123rd, Mark Clough 126th and Ian Bithell 137th.

Race 4 – Nunroyd Park, Guiseley

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

The last race of the series was a return to normality with a trip to Nunroyd Park. There were a few course changes due to some contstruction work in the middle of the park but the course was roughly the same as usual. The back end of the course was the standard mudfest which the ladies would only have to navigate once whilst the men would be forced to wade through it four times.

Both teams would have their best results of the series. The ladies were again led home by Andrea Lancaster in 17th then came Cassie Holmes 24th, Nik Vogan 31st and Caroline Warrington 42nd with the team finishing 4th.

The men were again led home by Kim Critchley in 2nd place. Things could have been better however if Kim had counted correctly and not run down the finish funnel a lap too early. In doing so he surrendered the race lead but he managed to hold off City of York’s Tom Bean in a tight finish for the remaining podium places. Kim was supported by Chris Roberts 27th, Simon Collins 41st, Barry Atkinson 54th, Rory Henderson 67th and Darren Hendley 98th with the team in 5th place.

In the final series standings we had a couple of category winners with Andrea Lancaster taking the L40 and Kim Critchley the M40. Also there were other notable strong performances with Caroline Warrington 4th L35, Liz Matthews 5th L50 and Ian Bithell 2nd M65. Others to complete the series were Rich Tarrega 18th and Mark Clough 21st in the Senior Men and Danny Chan 18th M40.

The Ladies team had its best performance in years taking 4th overall and hopefully we can build on this in the upcoming championships races.

Unfortunately for the second year running the Men’s team did not manage to complete the series.

In the combined team event we finished first in the John Smiths Challenge Trophy which is a competition for those clubs who have not placed in the top 3 in either the Men’s or Ladies team competitions in the last two years. This is a great result and shows that as a club we are moving in the right direction.

Photos courtesy of Woodentops and Holmfirth Harriers

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