WYCCL - Race 3 - Huddersfield - 24th November 2012

Glorious in the Mud - Holmfirth Athletes take the league by storm.

Holmfirth Harriers revelled in the muddy conditions on Saturday in the third meeting of the West Yorkshire Cross country league. This home fixture ,hosted by Huddersfield’s clubs  Longwood and Holmfirth, was a record breaking meeting with a record 87 Holmfirth Harriers competing and record breaking results.

Holmfirth athletes excelled themselves in the tough conditions winning four of the 10 races, taking four other podium places and twenty athletes in total finishing in the top 10 over the 10 races. Teams also excelled, Holmfirth taking top spot in 6 of the ten team categories and a podium spot in 2 others.

LibbyTop performances came from Libby Shepherd in the U13 girl’s race improving by an incredible 17 places on her position in the previous race to win by a 15 second margin. Olivia Sykes made it 3 out of 3 with a tactical run in the U15 girl’s race pulling away from rival Louise Redmond of Halifax in the closing stages and sprinting or rather slithering to victory on the mud of the closing straight. The U15 boys race also produced a Holmfirth winner Lewis Byram just managing to pull away from  Emile Cairess of Bingley Harriers to win by 4 seconds. These two boys over a minute ahead of the third placed finisher.  In the senior women’s race Women’s Captain Helen Berry capitalised on the absence of club mate Katie Walshaw, away racing for the North of England in Holland, and achieved a stunning victory to win by 10 seconds over teammate Helen Fines, she only in her second race for Holmfirth.

The afternoon’s racing was kicked off by exciting performances in both the U11 races. Callum Durrans and Freddie Wilkinson lead out a Holmfirth stampede finishing in 2nd and 4th with Ned Johnson 7th, Arron Smith 8th, Samuel Bedingfield 11th and Jack Marsden 14th. Also running well George Hobbs 29th, Archie Hall 35th, Sam Brown 36th, Dan Tinson 39th, William Amaral 45th and Sean Keddie and Tom Haley-Porteous 52nd and 53rd.  The Holmfirth boys won the team with ease and are set to win the league with this stunning turnout and performance. 

11sThe U11 girls race was no less exciting. Sunnivah Waterman who has struggled to find the form so far this season came out guns blazing and took up the lead from the gun, closely followed by Lucie Hall of Halifax the league leader. These 2 girls gained a 20m lead over the rest of the field and sprinted it out for the line, Sunny just missing out on first but a fantastic determined run nonetheless. Frances Keddie returning after missing the last race through illness ran well to finish in 7th and backed up by Emily Travis who finished close behind in 9th a fantastic run and a massive improvement on her run in the first race where she finished 23rd.  As in the boys race the girls was alight with amber vests Millie Yates next home in 12th, Alice Shelbourne 24th, Freya Durrans 28th, Ella McFarlane 29th, Elphina Waterman 30th and Lizzy Burdon 32nd.  The girls won the team this time with ease but will need a strong showing in the final race to ensure medals in the overall awards.

Libby Shepherd’s storming first place in the U13 girl’s race was the start of another great team showing. Genevieve Durrans and Sophie Allan had consistent runs to finish in 10th and 11th respectively , Eve Middleton was next back in 24th, Lia Carter 27th Amy Kettlewell 28th a huge improvement for her on her last league outing. Olivia Battye battled for 33rd, Issy Haley-Porteous 47th and Holly Bailey-Taylor 49th. The girls took 1st team spot this time and can still win the league with a first place next time.


Jimmy Nicky

Nicky Farquhar was first back for the Holmfirth boys in the U13 race, the team finishing 3rd. Nicky had a great run moving through the field to finish in 6th his best placing in the league so 
far. Backed up by Jimmy Burke, not enjoying the mud in 16th, Ollie Rees consistent in 17th and Will Johnson and Harry Shelbourne battling it out in 21st and 22nd. Harry Hobbs continued his steady improvement to finish in 54th. The boys are lying in 2nd overall in the league.


TwinsThe U15 age group races provided real entertain for” Holme” supporters who were out in force.  The girl’s race was a close fought affair, Olivia Sykes coming out on top. Team mates Lucy and Erica Byram both thrived in the mud fighting for the top spots and finishing in quick sucession in 3rd and 5th place. Daisy Smith ran well in 19th and the girls easily took first place in the team standings. They will have to win the next race however to be sure of gold medals overall.


The boys race was a real treat Lewis Byram in first, followed home by Aaron Kettlewell and Seth Waterman in 4th and 5th positions both boys fighting it out between themselves right to the line. Isaac Shepherd and George Green both had their best runs of the season so far in 12th and 13th place and Alex Robinson , Andrew Farquhar and Lavell Pierre completed a great showing from the Holmfirth boys  in 19th, 21st and 23rd place. The boys too took first in the team competition.

Ruby Sykes always a mud lark skipped home first Holmfirth counter in the U17 girls race with her best run of the season to finish 6th, team mates Lucy Farquhar and Sophie Spencer bearing down on her in 7th and 8th places. Isabella Ash ran well in her first ever cross country race to finish 15th and Sophie Williams also ran strongly in 16th. The girls finished second team and look to be assured of silver medals overall. In the U17 boys race fell specialist Eddie Hinchcliffe also enjoyed the muddy conditions with his best finish in 11th Jonty Winn a few places back in 15th and Robert Hinchcliffe- Smith 30th.

Senior Women secure League crown with stunning win


The Senior ladies continued their winning streak, securing their best team win in the series so far.  The 5600m course proved hard going, with little respite from the mud, but it played to the strengths of the fell runners in the team.  Helen Berry, who last weekend collected her English Fell Championship Bronze medal at the Fell Runners Association dinner in Disley, had a superb run.  In the absence of Katie Walshaw, on international duty in Holland, Helen led the amber vests to both a team and individual victory.  She paced the race well and as each lap progressed moved up from third, to second and on the final lap took on the race leader, Bingley’s Jo Buckley, and gradually opened up a lead of over 30 metres.  Meanwhile new recruit and British Fell running silver medallist, Helen Fines, moved up into the top 3 and in the finishing straight forced Buckley back to third.  These performances were backed up by equally impressive runs from Kath Farquhar, finishing in an excellent 6th place, and Margaret Sykes in 10th.  The remaining Holmfirth athletes put in notable performances, all of whom improved on their positions in race 2 of the series and in their first cross country races, Claire Ash and Emma Serjeant did well to finish 74th and 89th respectively.

With the four team counters finishing in the top 10, their score of just 19 points was untouchable by second placed team, Pudsey & Bramley, with 63 points.  Neither of Holmfirth’s rivals for the league team title, Leeds City and Bingley, managed to field a team over the Fartown course, which would guarantee Holmfirth retain their title after the final event at Wakefield in two weeks’ time.

Senior men tough it out in the mud


With Holmfirth and Longwood Harriers co-hosting the third race in the West Yorkshire Cross Country League series at Fartown High School, hopes were high for a strong local turn out to build on the achievements of the first race at Wetherby. However, with at least five key athletes missing, it turned out to be an uphill struggle on a course which was heavily water logged and seemed to be getting muddier by the minute. Leeds City proved to be the form team with the eventual winner, Alan Buckley, and the next five counters in the top ten to take first place. The first Holmfirth Harrier to finish was Alistair Langron in 25th (34.12). This was a massive improvement of 43 places from the last race. Alistair Rees had another solid run to come home in 41st (35.17). The new talent Peter Brookes was next to finish in 49th (35.53) closely followed by the Triathlete Craig Boggon in 54th (36.08). The final two counters for the team coming home together and sealing 7th position were David Williams in 91st (38.21) and Darren Hanson in 92nd (38.22). Other Holmfirth results were: Geoff Hall 96th (38.35), Wayne Byram 100th (38.46), Jonny Sykes 104th (39.13), Chris Beadle 117th (40.21), Phil Hobbs 120th (40.40), Maz Khoueiry 131st (41.47), Kev Yewlett 136th (42.46), Andrew Kerry 138th (43.08), John Field 154th (46.05), Simon Edwards 160th (49.24), Tim Cock 163rd (50.27) & Steve White 169th (53.29)

Thanks from all the athletes to the fantastic team of helpers from Holmfirth and Longwood Harriers who toiled in the mud setting up and taking down the course and who provided support and encouragement to all the runners young and not so young. The league reaches it’s climax on Sunday 9th December at Thornes Park in Wakefield a must surely for all cross country fans. 


Photos of the day - Nearly 600 !! - Courtesy of Deborah Byram, Norman Berry & Richard Asquith at Flaming Photography

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