The penultimate fixture of the North Wales Cross Country League , hosted by Shrewsbury Athletic Club at Meole Brace, Shrewsbury turned out to be a memorable day for the Club, with their strongest turnout of the season resulting in victories for Matt Hall in the Mens' race and Great Britain International Sara Willhoit in the Womens' race, believed to be the first ever Shrewsbury AC woman to win a North Wales League race. There were victories also for the Mens, Womens and Male Masters teams. After leading the Series by the smallest of margins, the emphatic win at Meole Brace means that the Mens' team now look on target to retain their Division 1 title for the fourth consecutive season, with the final fixture due to take place at Oswestry on Saturday 1st February. The six Men's team scorers all finished in the first 13 places and following Matt Hall in 1st place, came Jim Hickinbottom 5th, Paul Jones 6th, Dan Elliot 8th, Pete Middleton 12th and Gabe Morris 13th. The Womens' team had their best result of the season in Division 2 and following Sara Willhoit in 1st place came Club newcomer Bev Whitfield in 7th place in her first race for the Club and Lauren Morley 10th. Joe Gilling stormed to 3rd place in the Under 17 Mens' race. The Male Masters' Team, victorious on the day, lead the Series with one fixture left. There were age category sucesses for Jim Hickinbottom 1st Veteran Over 35, Paul Jones 1st Veteran Over 45, Graham Jones 1st Veteran Over 60, Bev Whitfield 1st Lady Veteran Over 40, Pete Middleton 2nd Veteran Over 35, Gabe Morris 3rd Veteran Over 35 and Haydn Jones 3rd Veteran Over 55.
Results: Men: 1 Matt Hall 28/29, 5 Jim Hickinbottom 29/38(1V35), 6 Paul Jones 29/42(1V45), 8 Dan Elliot 29/54, 12 Pete Middleton 30/49(2V35), 13 Gabe Morris 30/58(3V35), 17 Robert Fox 31/30, 29 Richard Mckenna 32/03, 42 Steve Waters 33/19, 45 Paul Bowes 33/29, 50 Graham Jones 33/58(1V60), 76 Adam Burgoyne 36/14, 105 Haydn Jones 38/26(3V55).
Women: 1 Sara Willhoit 21/37, 7 Bev Whitfield 23/13(1V40), 10 Lauren Morley 23/41. Under 17 Men: 3 Joe Gilling 20/46.
At the North Wales Cross Country Championships at Northrop, Robert Fox finished 8th and 1st Veteran Over 35 in the Senior Mens' race in 37/48, putting him on the reserve list for selection for the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and Graham Jones finished 2nd in the Over 65 race in 32/29.
There was another victory for Jamie Lambie, this time in the Kidsgrove 10K, finishing in 33/03 on an undulating course on parkland and road.
Photo: Sara Wilhoit and Matt Hall.
Report compiled by Tony Scales.
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