The Green, Green Vests Of Heaton Park
October sun brought a carnival atmosphere to Heaton Park for the launch of the 2012/13 Manchester Area Cross-Country League (MACCL) at the weekend. Larger than normal numbers of competitors, spectators, families and the participation of Liverpool AC from this year, added quality, depth and atmosphere and ensured a superb afternoon of cross-country running.
The U13 girls are stronger than they've ever been thanks to their excellent coaching structure and current team spirit. It's rare that the section can complete as many as three teams. They convincingly won over Manchester AC and took the 3rd and 9th places also. Star performer was Aine Cunningham who won the race with team mate Olivia Green in 2nd place. Fantastic packing from Ellie Twite, Claudia Cowan, Frankie Hacker-Davis and Niamh Nugent ensured team victory with the 'B' and 'C' teams well inside the top ten. The U13 boy's were not so glorious largely due to the clash of Altrincham Schools the same afternoon. Finishing eight, watch out how they'll remedy that in future matches.
The U15 girls finished two teams with the quartet of Zara Thompson (3rd), Amber Towns (7th) Flora Whyte (11th) and Georgia Plant (12th) doing all they could to take second place behind a strong Stockport team. Adam Roden also had a good race in the U15 boys event to finish 3rd. He led the team into 2nd place with excellent packing from Euan Gilchrist, Daniel Brint, Andre Yiasuome, Dylan Styanweay and Dylan Burchill.
Newcomers Liverpool AC was totally dominant in the U17 event and took the top two positions. Our lads ran their guts out to finish 5th. Well done to the quartet. Andrew Metcalf, Halid Absiyeh and Jimmy Castle. In the girl's race Megan Davies in 4th place was the 1st Sale finisher with impressive running with Rachel Hibbert also doing well.
The U20's compete alongside the seniors and veterans. Again, thanks to excellent coaching attributable largely to Paul Roden and Norman Poole and with a superb team spirit, this large group in depth and quality has more prospects since the halcyon days of legend Alan Robertshaw. Charlie Hulson and Ryan Moore convincingly took the first two places with Callum Greenwood and Luke Betts making such a formidable quartet they were streets ahead of rivals Stockport. How long ago is it since any club, let alone Sale finished two teams in this category? In the women's event well done also to Misha Nayak- Naylor and Victoria Calderbank who were our only representatives.
Rarely if ever have the senior men finished five teams in this league. A closer than ever cohesion within the endurance groups; larger than ever numbers joining the Crossford Bridge sections; greater all-round team spirit; the formidable junior section and a renewed attitude among the 'elite' about participation in the league, meant the green hooped vests dominated the sharp end in a way not seen for several years. It was a delight to witness six club vests among the first eleven and club teams finishing an unprecedented 1st, 6th, 11th, 19th and 34th among the record 350 finishers and record 44teams. Keep it going lads!
Our women also did a fantastic job to finish an amazing five teams (5, 9.16, 20) and 26), again a tribute to a growing section with an excellent team spirit. Though unable (for the present!) to compete at the sharp end, thanks to the talented ability of Hayley Cavill and Jan Nichols, the progressive return of the likes of Cara O'Brien and Julie Price, the emergence of the likes of Sian Holland , Zoe Gmerek and Louise Robbins and ever reliable Alison Pye with several more talented girls unavailable, the section shows real promise this winter.
Amazingly, about 40% of the senior men's race and about 60% of the women's race field were veterans. Jerry Smith's appeal for a strong turnout meant a great start to the season for the section. The men's 'A' team finished 3rd and the women's A team 4th with equally strong performances from both the 'B' teams. Again, it was a great start to the season! Everyone who took part contributed to the final result. The re-emergence after several years of Paul Green (1st veteran) and Nick Peach (3rd M50) was one of the day's delights. With formidable and talented Ian Weatherall on the men's side and Jan Nicholls and Jackie Cordingley among the women and the progressive emergence of the likes of Steve Gavin, Zoe Gmerek, Helen Reagan, Louise Robbins and others, this section could do better than ever this winter.
As mentioned above, earlier in the morning many of our younger runners represented their schools in the Altrincham School's League. Lizzy Twite had a great run to win the primary girl's race with Beth Thornton 2nd and Tess Mc Hugh 3rd. In the boy's race Charlie Hobson had a comfortable win. Sale also had both winners in the year 7 races with Tia Blissett and Luke Chesters. Ciara Lydon showed a welcome return to form finished runner-up in the year 8/9 race with Alice Bruce 3rd and Mairead Power 4th.
The second of the five monthly matches this winter takes place at Sherdley Park on November 10th. Let's again see a very big turnout. (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick. Photos courtesy http://www.darkstarphotos.com/ and Fechin Mc Cormick.)
Posted 23/10/2012 10:36