MACCL – Sherdley Park
The second match of the Manchester Area Cross-Country League (MACCL) took place at Sherdley Park (St. Helen's), the one with the reputation for soggy, zig-zagging undulations that invariably make for a tough, heavy, energy-sapping course especially for those on the larger laps.
This time our U11 boys and girls were part of the day's foray! This age-group's race must be among the largest and strongest in the country. Our girls dominated and had a convincing victory. With their strong squad, they were also able to turn out many youngsters for the Crossford Bridge /Sale Harriers Schools League that took place on the same morning. Congratulations to Lizzie Twite who won the race backed up by her team mates Bethany Thornton and Tess Mc Hugh who finished well up in the top ten. Well done also to Laura Smith, Jessica Spilbury and Clara Parker who finished fifth as the 'B' team, especially that they're all a year young. Unfortunately, the clash with Crossford Bridge's race meant there were no U11 boys to represent the club, a problem that could be repeated with the next match on home territory Wythenshawe Park resulting in the section being unable to possibly medal in this year's league because they cannot complete three of the requisite four matches.
Our U13 girls also comfortably won their race despite a clash with the English Schools Cup (NW Champs). Well done to starlets Aine Cunningham who was the individual winner and to her impressive back-up team - Ellie Twite, Frankie Hacker-Davies, Niamh Hugent and Tia Blissett all who finished in the top ten. Their 'B' team finished an excellent 4th and the 'C' team again highlighted the quality and depth of this section and its little wonder they're the current Northern Relay Champions and National XC Relay runners-up. The U13 boy's also acquitted themselves very well especially with many running the longer course for the first time. Luke Chesters, still a year young, followed up his good performance in last week's National Relays with an excellent 6th place followed by a rapidly improving Harry Boyd. They were ably supported by Andrew Toner, Reece Butterworth, Dillon Walker, Cameron Buchan, Thomas Brown and Khalid Ramadan.
Our U15 girls are also a strong squad despite many also competing in the English Schools Cup (NW Champs). (Congratulations to Loretto Grammar and Altrincham Grammar for qualifying the National finals at Canon Slade School in Bolton in three weeks time). The girls finished 2nd team led home by Zara Thompson in third place followed by Amber Towns, Flora Whyte and Georgia Plant finishing a strong second to Stockport AC. Well done also to Frankie & Charley Reid and Aimee Pratt for their fifth place finish. In the U15 boy's race, Euan Gilchrist ran a typically gutsy run battling at the front throughout. He took the lead several times but eventually had to settle for a close run third place. Euan was well backed up by Jake & Adam Spilsbury to finish second team just behind Manchester Harriers & AC. The remaining boys packed the mid field well. They were Dylan Stanway, Daniel Brint, Saeed Absiyeh & Jordan Bezzina to finish a 'B' team.
Our U17 trio of Irmani Modahl, Hannah Christy and Rachel Hibberd brought the team home in third place and with Chloe Yates and Megan Davis in the next match they are in with a shout of winning it. The U17 boy's race was a classy affair at the front end was easily won by Liverpool AC with our Mathew Metcalf finishing an impressive seventh and Khalid Absiyeh and Marcus Campbell not far behind running the course & distance for the first time and bringing the team home in fourth place.
The senior women again managed to field three teams and all performed well. Jan Nichols continued her great form finishing second in her age category and fifteenth overall taking almost 90 seconds off last year's time. Joanna Robbins, Sian Holland, Helen Armitage and Cara O'Brien also had good runs and though they found the going tough, all finished within seconds of each other. Helen particularly made massive improvements on her position at Heaton Park. It was also nice to see Jo Street back in racing mode after completing her studies. Jackie Cordingley actually enjoyed the course and had a typically good run finishing third in her age category.
The senior men did not have the dominance of their first match and so slipped to fourth finishing team. The individual winner was a fine run from Anthony Ford, returning to cross-country following a prolonged break. He showed all his class as a 2:17.16 Marathon runner with an eighty second victory over Jack Morris (Stockport H & AC). The section again turned out an impressive five teams. Let's home for the next match at Wythenshawe Park, they return to the impressive dominance at the sharp end.
The veteran section also had a number of runners missing that diluted the benefits of the impressive start to the season at Heaton Park. The women's A team were led home as usual by Jan Nicholls with another great run but were missing Zoe Gmerek and Helen Reagan through injury. Fortunately in their absence fine runs by Joanna Robbins and Helen Armitage ensured the team recorded another 4th place. The strong B team of Jackie Cordingley, Louise Robbins and Carla Ousey also ran well to finish 11th. The men's A team had to contend with the loss of Paul Green and Ian Wetherall but were led home well by Carl Barber and Elton Davies with good runs from Steve Gavin (in his first race after running 3.15 in his first marathon) and Bill Fox (returning from illness). For the B team Tim Rainey, Jerry Smith, Chris Cook and Gaurav Batra also ran well.
The third of the five matches is on home territory Wythenshawe Park on Saturday December 1st. Let's have a big turn-out in every section.
(Written by Fechin Mc Cormick. Photos by http://www.darkstarphotos.com)
Posted 12/11/2012 08:57