Senior men consolidate fourth in Area League

By David Barnes

THE cross-country season is in full flow and Horwich put out 28 seniors in the two fixtures in the Red Rose League at Leverhulme Park and in the Manchester Area League. The Red Rose fixture also saw 38 Horwich juniors taking part – a great turnout and they all did themselves and the club proud. The senior men are targeting the Manchester League title and after the first round last month the club was sitting fourth out of 10 clubs in Division One.

This week, at the University playing fields, the men were fourth to consolidate their position. James Kevan, who was second in the first round, led the team home in seventh place in a record field of 526 runners. Nick Leigh was third V40 and Sam Wardle was third under-20. The vets team have improved their lead in Division Two with first place in the division on Saturday.

At Leverhulme Park, there was a double triumph in the u15s as Georgia Heath and Lucas Milliken had clear victories, with Heath 41 seconds ahead of the second-place runner while Milliken won by a margin of 27 seconds. Isaac Battye and Matthew Flatters joined him in winning the u15 team boys’ competition. The u11 boys’ team of Harrison Stokes, Sam Bradley and Marty Arnot-Smith had a great result too, finishing second out of 14 teams, with Harrison third individual finisher.

Horwich put out their strongest women’s cross country team for some time and were rewarded with sixth place out of 19 teams. Lindsey Brindle led the six-strong contingent home with a fine third individual result and was joined by Kimberley Chadderton and Gemma Stokes for the team result.

The vets did well at Leverhulme Park. James Titmuss was the top runner for the men, finishing 26th in a field of 211 runners, the turnout reflecting renewed enthusiasm for cross-country racing. Titmuss was second V40 and was joined by David Purnell (V50), Stephen Williams (V60) and John Parker (V75) – all in second place in their age category. Tony Hesketh broke the pattern by winning his V70 age category yet again. The men were eighth out of 18 teams and in the vets’ competition, Horwich were sixth out of 18 teams.

On the breezy roads of Lytham St Anne’s, six Harriers took on the Windmill 10k. Gareth Booth was fourth and had also been first the previous day at Preston parkrun. Neil Wilkes and Geoff Leech, of the runners’ group, enjoy a friendly rivalry and this week Wilkes came out on top. Andrew Storey also had a good run out at Lytham after a parkrun the previous day, while Lesley Davidson and Lynn Smith sacrificed their usual Pennington Flash parkrun and enjoyed good runs on a bright day at Lytham.

There were also first places in parkrun for Joe Mercer at Aldenham, Isabella Merritt at the Queens Park junior parkrun and Suzanne Budgett as first woman at Witton. Nigel Clementson had one of his highest ever finishes with third on his second appearance at Pennington Flash.

Horwich RMI Harriers results: Manchester Area Cross Country League – 7th James Kevan 31:41, 22nd Nick Leigh 33:26, 27th Sam Wardle 34:03, 30th Richard Howarth 34:09, 42nd Alex Fowler 34:38, 49th Alastair Murray 34:45, 95th Andrew Lloyd 36:09, 131st Andrew Crickmore 37:13, 156th Daniel Gilbert 37:54, 478th Lawrence Pinnell 49:26; Red Rose Cross Country League – (men) – 26th James Titmuss 39:00, 48th David Purnell 40:44, 55th Mark Walsh 41:42, 73rd Ian Collings 42:55, 110th Stephen Williams 45:57, 120th Jason Middleton 46:39, 134th David Barnes 48:17, 151st Tony Hesketh 49:55, 162nd Gareth Webb 51:02, 188th Gordon Stone 55:09, 202nd John Parker 57:00, 203rd Stephen Jackson 57:32; (women) – 3rd Lindsey Brindle 21:03, 20th Kimberley Chadderton 23:44, 52nd Gemma Stokes 26:28, 58th Beth Hall 26:44, 68th Rowen Pymm 27:41, 120th Emma Collings 32:42; Windmill Remembrance Day 10k road race – 4th Gareth Booth 34:54, 99th Neil Wilkes 45:37, 117th Geoff Leech 46:09, 255th Andrew Storey 50:52, 834th Lesley Davidson 1:04:43, 837th Lynn Smith 1:04:45.