The Wild and Windy West of the Chiltern League – Culham
Saturday’s Chiltern League fixture took the club out to the wilds of Oxfordshire on the banks of the River Thames. Culham Park was the venue for a breezy Cross Country with some more excellent performances from all those who ran.
The course was mostly firm underfoot apart from the hilly section across the motocross track, but the wind added an extra obstacle as the long drag out half way along each lap was almost directly into the strong gusts making you feel like you were running in treacle, unless you were lucky enough to be able to shelter behind one of the larger runners!
As always the U11s got us all underway with our team of three of Hattie Grimshaw, Julia Bell and Katie Killick (making her debut) all running well in the conditions for the girls finishing in 24th, 48th and 56th respectively . The boys followed with another team of three with Sid Mead sandwiched between the Hirst-Mitchell brothers of Thomas and Evan keeping them in the top 10 in the overall standings.
Our U13 boys team again finished 6th on the day, with Dom Grimshaw again leading the team home in 11th place. Owen Lindars, Harry Bell, Ewan Bell, Max Rose and Joseph Bidlake-Hull completed those crossing the finish line in purple and gold, all running well as vital members of the team.
Niquole Carter led the LBAC U13 girls round the course finishing only 12 seconds ahead of Zara Brooks and Amy Killick who pushed each other round all the way to finish within a second of each other. Ami Gardner ran well as all important 4th member of the LBAC team.
McKenna Keefe was the sole representative in the U15 age group for both boys and girls and ran well to finish in 30th place whilst Sam Nicholas was the only LBAC runner in the U17s and continued his consistently strong performances in Cross Country this season by finishing in 23rd.
With the Senior ladies team originally looking like it could potentially be one of the strongest LBAC has had for a while, team members seemed to be struck down with a variety of illnesses and injuries meaning that three quarters of the team of four that were left was comprised of three LBAC debutants! However, this didn’t stop some excellent performances from all. Alison Bell and Anna Mead had agreed at the last fixture that they would run this month’s only if the other did and both had a strong run as they helped each other round the course. In her first XC race in the purple and gold of LBAC, Jo Sharples flew off the starting line using the wind to get a good sprint start and managed to hold off Lynn Boddy who had a great run after her disappointment of last month and was gaining on Jo for the entire second loop. In the end they both finished well, in 27th and 31st places respectively.
We had eighteen senior men out on the day, with Colin Postawa (or runner 2387!) making his debut and even the familiar face of Joe Hurley coming back to do his bit. Stuart Read has been improving at a rate of knots since he joined the club and again had a strong run despite (as he says) going out to hard and struggling to hang on. David Killick finished soon after Stuart and felt much happier compared to last month. Up at the front of the field we had Simon Coombes making a guest appearance, but unfortunately his score does not count for LBAC, so our first home was Ian Grimshaw who finished in a fantastic 17th position. Andy and Tom Inchley followed in 35th and 41st before an unfit/recovering Pete Mackrell did his bit for the club finishing in 56th to drag Adam Haylock round soon behind him. The scoring was then completed by Tim Inchley, Charlie Mead, Sam Dear, James Bell and Warren Rose, although Tom May was only 4 seconds behind Warren.
Our Veteran men team finished as number one for the day in Division 1 putting them in 3rd place overall in the division. Absolutely brilliant work boys!
All-in-all this means that after 3 rounds we are now over half way through the season and doing pretty well and holding our own yet again (if we do say so ourselves). The Senior men team sit in 4th place but hot on the heels of Harrow whilst our M20 team (aka Charlie Mead) is sitting in 9th place in the division which isn’t bad considering he’s our only one!
As a club, LBAC currently sit in 8th place in the division on exactly 6000 points with 6th and 7th positions definitely catchable.
There is now a bit of a longer break until the next Chiltern League on Saturday 16 January at Wigmore Valley in Luton, but that’s no excuse to gorge yourselves on Christmas luxury! The Southern Masters is next Saturday 12 December with the County XC Championships on Saturday 9 January so plenty to keep you busy if you have entered. Have a great Christmas, and we’ll see you in the New Year with those brand new shiny spikes you got from Santa.