Nene Valley Harriers’ cross country team showed that they are no stick in the muds, as they romped their way to North Midlands League success at a rain soaked and boggy Glebe Park in Corby on Saturday.
On a day when 80 Nene Valley athletes travelled to Northamptonshire, the club dominated several of the races winning three of the 10 categories. Coach Russ Prosser acknowledged Saturday’s performance as being amongst the finest in Nene Valley’s history, in what is a highly competitive competition.
The Harriers came out on top in both senior races, with a youthful men’s team delivering an excellent display, even demoting one of England’s leading club’s Notts AC, into second place.
Nineteen year old James McCrae was the first Nene Valley runner home on the 10k course, crossing the line in fifth place with a time of 35.51. Joe Turner was just two places further back and teenager Jake Richardson ran well for nineteenth place. The scoring team was completed by Drew Warnes and Alex Hampson. Michael Channing and Bradley Spurden provided good support, giving Nene Valley 7 of the first 32 finishers, in a match contested by 26 clubs.
A strong ladies team made light work of the quagmire like conditions, and Cat Foley-Wray led the team to victory with a fine 2nd place finish. Grace Mullins crossed the line in 5th position, while Nicky Morgan was 14th, as well as being the first veteran home for the second race in succession.
Flo Brill has been a revelation this season, and she continued where she left off at the National Cross Country Championship at Mansfield a fortnight ago, winning the under 13 girls race.
Nene Valley finished third on the day with Brill well supported by Ella Robinson, and Calypso Priestley. The girls currently top the table after two rounds of the four race series.
The Harriers boasted a 3rd winning team, as the under 15 girls grouped superbly with Amber Park, Jose Fortune and Ellie Piccaver finishing 8th, 10th and 11th respectively. The talented trio cemented Nene Valley’s place at the top of the table after finishing as first team in both races to date.
Megan Ellison suffered a rare defeat in the ladies under 17 race, finishing 2nd behind the highly rated 17 year old Lucy Evans, of Charnwood AC.
Casey Hilliam in 13th place, and Beth Goymour who finished 27th enabled the Harriers to finish 2nd on the day.
The boys teams all performed creditably with the pick of the bunch being the under 13s who took 2nd place behind Chesterfield AC. Matt Church, the third generation of his family to represent his club came home 9th, two seconds and two places ahead of Sam Oakley. Sid O’Connell was also in the scoring team.
Nene Valley’s boys under 15s delivered a gritty performance securing fourth place with Nandeli Palembe, Mapesho Mutukuma and Callum Dalliaday, on his club debut, making up the scoring team.
The under 17 boys went one better securing 3rd position thanks to Austin Herbert, Nathanial Taylor and Rio Chilvers, who all ran well through the mud.
The under 11 boys and girls run together, and they too took 3rd place on the day thanks to the efforts of Freddie House, Joe Garner and Isaac Fell. Lottie Hemmings was the seventh girl home.
Halfway though the series Nene Valley have a number of athletes in line for individual awards. Flo Brill is currently joint 1st under 13 girl, while Megan Ellison leads the under 17 rankings.
Nicky Morgan appears to only have to remain on her feet in the final two races to win the FV 45 title whilst James McCrae heads the men’s under 20s competition.
Bourne Town Harrier athletes were also in action in Corby.
The first race of the day was the mixed under 11s race over a distance of 2k the first home for the Harriers was Alex Galpin in 27th place and a time of 9:38.
Talullah Spurdens and Ben Conrathe finished within a second of each other in 35th and 36th places respectively. Dan Galpin was 63rd and Emilie Comben finished in 70th. Despite a difficult start when he lost his footing, Roman Everist fought back to finish in 78th. Another athlete to lose her footing was Lucy Colman who to her credit managed to finish the race in a battling 83rd.
In the boys under 13 race Matthew Colman finished in 24th place ahead of Max James.
The girl’s under 13 race saw arguably the performances of the day for the Bourne club. The 3k race attracted a field of forty six athletes. Molly Peel finished in an excellent 3rd place in a time of 13:10. Elin James was a credible 7th in a time of 13:26.
Abi Cooper was the sole Harrier to compete in the girl’s under 15 race. She finished in 24th position.
In the men’s u17 event, Cameron Everist was a little below his best but still managed to finish in 10th place. Scott Taylor also performed well finishing in 15th position.
The men’s senior race saw strong performances from Steven Sheppard, Jonny Palmer and Phil Galpin who finished the 10k, 222 strong field in 56th, 101st and 111th positions respectively.
Beth Howells was 66th in the senior ladies race but was in 6th place in her under 20 age group.