Cross Country Section
League Success for Harriers in action in Wakefield
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Holmfirth athletes covered them in glory in the final fixture of the West Yorkshire Cross country league on Sunday at Thornes Park in Wakefield. Undeterred by frequent heavy and wintery showers which quickly turned the waterlogged ground in to a quagmire the Harriers continued the successes of the previous fixtures, coming away with team and individual wins in the both the fixture and the league overall.
The superb showing from the Senior men was for many of the travelling fans the highlight of a superb day of racing for the club. With 6 athletes finishing in the top 20 the dominance of the men’s event by Leeds City looked for once in doubt and although the Holmfirth men finished in second spot the teams were only separated by 10 points and were 150 points ahead of Bingley in third. The men were lead by home international triathlete Mark Buckingham. Back home for a break in his training Mark took it easy on the first two of the four lap, 9km men’s course and was happy to sit off the pace in third place. By the start of the final lap Mark was on the shoulder of Simon Deakin of Leeds, winner of the previous fixtures this year , on the hill Mark drew away and ran away to win with a 10 second margin. Marathoners Dave Turnball and Matthew Pierson both ran strongly moving through the field to finish 5th and 7th place. Richard Smith was consistent as ever in 12th and juniors Max Kaye and Thomas Travis-Pollard with great runs in 14th and 20th. In addition to the 6 team counters a further 14 senior men competed on Sunday a fantastic turnout. In the overall league Max Kaye finished second in the junior men’s category, Richard Smith was 4th senior, Alistair Rees finished 2nd V40, John Ewart 1st V55 and Tim Cock 1st V70. The men’s team won bronze medals for the league overall.
The final race in the series was crucial for Holmfirth’s Senior Ladies team. Having won the team event in the first and third league races - the second was won by Leeds City – team victory at Thornes Park would secure an overall victory for them. If Leeds won the final race the league victory would have to be decided by counting back the scoring from each race. The 2 lap, 5km course was horribly muddy by the time the ladies race started, but it didn’t deter those athletes in amber vests and most of them relished the hills and tough conditions. Katie Walshaw, who had already secured the league victory, led from the gun, finishing 14 seconds clear of Leeds City’s Katie Parry. Helen Berry ran well easing ahead of another Leeds City athlete behind her thanks to a strong finish in 6th place. Claire Leaver kept with the following group and was rightly pleased with her 14th position. The team’s fourth counter, Kath Farquhar , not at her best in the mud finished in 19th, enough to ensure team victory over Leeds City by a close 3 points! Lucy Needham was close behind in 21st and still picked up a team league medal for counting in the team at the first race. Debbie Hall benefited from earlier advice not to eat too soon before racing, and with the help of some borrowed spikes at the last minute had a great run in 34th. Cara Penfold was a little wary of the slippery downhill sections but worked hard on the rest of the course to come home in 45th. She was closely followed, and had been for much of the race, by Aideen Farrell who having wrapped up for the conditions managed to enjoy the race, and was justifiably pleased with her 49th place. There were 84 official finishers, plus 3 guests. At the presentation for the league overall Katie picked up her trophy for 1st senior lady, Helen won second V35 and Kath second V40.
Holmfirth juniors were, like their senior counterparts out in force and came away with a plethora of team medals and individual trophies. In the girls races Holmfirth won gold team medals in both the U11 and U13 age groups. The U11 race was particularly exciting with Libby Shepherd and Sunnivah Waterman sprinting it out once again for 1st and 2nd places with Libby taking the victory in this race but Sunny winning the trophy for the league overall and Libby finishing 2nd. Sophie Allan in her 1st year of cross country also ran superbly to finish 4th and also won the trophy for 5th place overall. Lia Carter had a great run in 12th, Lucy Whitworth getting stronger in every race was 36th and Eve Middleton, not liking the mud, finished in 43rd.
The U13 girls were amazing as always, thrilling the spectators with their great results and commitment. With Olivia Sykes side lined with a cold, Erica Byram was 1st back for the team in 4th place, Lucy Byram next home in 11th and Daisy Smith final team counter in 14th. Anna Charlesworth was next back with a superb run in 16th, followed by Esme Wilde and Caitlin Smith neck and neck in 27th and 28th and Genevive Durrans in 34th, Isobel Drake in her best league finish in 36th and Talia Johnson finishing strongly in 40th, Olivia Blackburn 43rd, Amy Kettlewell 44th, Isabelle Haley-Porteous 46th and Olivia Battye 49th. In the league overall as well as team gold, Olivia won the trophy for 1st, Erica was 3rd and Lucy 6th.
In the older girls races Sophie Spencer was 1st home for the team in 10th, Lucy Farquhar 15th and Sophie Williams 31st. The girls finished 4th team. Ruby Sykes was a lone representative in the U17 race and finished 8th.
The boys also achieved great results , 2 overall league champions and 2 sets of silver team medals and one set of bronze. The U11 boys team was lead home by Jimmy Burke in 7th, followed by Oliver Rees in 13th, and Finn Kerry and Daniel Howatson in 18th and 19th which was enough to secure second place in the race and also 2nd place for the boys in the league overall. Just 2 seoncds down Ned Johnson finished strongly in 20th position, Samuel Bedingfield 30th and Dominic Drake 32nd.
In the U13 race Seth Waterman was back on form and finished 3rd in a tough race – which was enough to win the league overall. Lewis Bartholomew was next home in 11th, William Johnson 12th and Isaac Shepherd completing the team places in 16th place. Nicky Farquhar ran well to finish 22nd, Shea Kerry 30th, Tiras Waterman 34th, Joe Williams 39th and Daniel Whitworth 40th.
Lewis Byram ‘s second position was more than enough to secure the league victory in the U15 boys race. The team finished 3rd in a very close fought competition and also finished 3rd in the league overall. Aaron Arthur second home in 13th, Aaron Kettlewell just 3 seconds back in 14th and Eddie Hinchcliffe 18th. George Green ran strongly in 35th. In the U17 race Robert Hinchcliffe finished in 15th.
With the League completed for another year the Holmfirth athletes will now be looking to build on their fantastic success within West Yorkshire at the championship events in the new Year starting with the Yorlshire Championships on Saturday 7th January also at Thornes Park in Wakefield.