Here's Barry's report how our runners fared at muddy Bourne Woods in the penultimate race of the Frostbite League.
The Nene Valley Harriers cross country team were purring with delight, as Cat Foley-Wray led them to an unexpected victory in Sunday's Frostbite League fixture at Bourne Woods. Not surprisingly the 29 year old was first lady home, finishing 16th in a high quality field. More significantly she led the Nene Valley challenge, leaving the entire Mens team trailing in her wake. With the English National Cross Country Championship just two weeks away, the Stamford based speedster is in the type of form which should help to cement her growing reputation on the national scene.
The points system employed by the Frostbite League, where the first seven men and the leading trio of ladies from each club score, means that a strong ladies squad is key. Not to disappointment, the ladies made a huge contribution for the Harriers with Nicky Morgan, on her 46th birthday, and Chloe Pavey finishing amongst the leading ladies, adding valued support to Foley-Wray’s heroics.
The race winner was London based Werrington ace Anthony Johnson, who covered the hilly, muddy and windswept five mile course in an impressive 27:19, a full 20 seconds ahead of Yaxley's James Mogridge, who he pulled clear of mid race. PACTRAC’S Paul Vernon won the first three races in the series but was beaten into third place at Bourne a further 24 seconds back. Simon Hearty of Yaxley, Werrington’s Paul Halford and Ben Heron from Eye also made the top 10.
Despite owing much to their ladies, the victorious Nene Valley team could not afford any slips from their men. They did not disappoint, with Mike Chapman, Nathan Tweedie, Lee Harthill, Drew Warnes and James McDonald grouping well for top 40 finishes.
Rachel Gibbs of Werrington Joggers was 2nd lady home, over two minutes behind the outstanding Foley-Wray, with Bourne’s Claire Steels 3rd. Sarah Overington of Eye continued her fine start to the year coming home as 5th lady, two places ahead of Nene Valley's 2nd scorer, Nicky Morgan.
Nene Valley's victory on the day cemented their 5th place in the standings, two positions behind Werrington Joggers who were second local team in 4th position.
With just one race to go in the series Hunts AC appear to have an unassailable advantage, but good performances from Nene Valley or Werrington could see either club in contention for the runners up spot.
The junior race was comfortably won by Hunts AC’S Joey Croft, with Jonathan Oakley of PACTRAC 2nd. Harvey Hancock from Werrington, Codi-Leigh Middleton of Nene Valley, and Yaxley youngster Alexander Devine all made the top 10, whilst Shannon Flockhart was the leading girl ahead of PACTRAC’s Flo Brill.
Nene Valley were 2nd to Hunts AC at Bourne, and lie 3rd in the overall standings.