The fierce gales fail to blow Harriers off-course at Heanor

Sam Oakley, Matt Church and Sam Garner in action for Nene Valley Harriers.

Sam Oakley, Matt Church and Sam Garner in action for Nene Valley Harriers.

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On a day when the gales were so ferocious that some runners found it difficult to remain standing, Nene Valley Harriers had the wind beneath their wings, producing another barnstorming performance in the North Midlands Cross-Country League at Shipley Park in Heanor.

With three of this campaign’s four meetings now completed, Nene Valley are sitting pretty, featuring in the top three in all bar one age category.

The city club were without some of their leading youngsters due to their involvement in the Peterborough Schools Cross-Country Championships the previous day, but such is the strength of Russ Prosser’s gifted squad that this hardly seemed to matter.

The Under 15 girls look set to secure the North Midlands League title at the final meeting of the season in Nottingham next month.

Despite finishing second to Derby AC on the day, the youngsters hold a healthy overall lead, with the consistency of Josephine Fortune and Ellie Piccaver, who finished sixth and seventh on the day, a key factor. Anna Warrington completed the scoring with a 14th-place finish.

The senior ladies also finished runners-up in the Heanor mud with the reliable duo of Cat Foley-Wray and Nicky Morgan finishing fifth and 13th respectively.

Morgan has been first veteran home in all three races to date, and will be looking to complete a series whitewash at Nottingham.

Ruth Jones came home 18th in her first league outing of the season, and the ladies have an excellent chance of the overall runners-up spot behind runaway leaders and certain champions Notts AC.

Nene Valley’s Under 13 girls were led home by eighth-placed Calypso Priestley, two positions ahead of Katie Tasker.

Mllie Weller (27th) was the final scorer, helping to secure her team third place leaving them second overall and within touching distance of leaders Rushcliffe AC.

The girls Under 17s retained third position overall, and Megan Ellison had her usual fine run coming home third. Olivia Orkan (15th) and Imogen Woodward (24th) contributed to a fifth place finish.

Nene Valley’s senior men are enjoying their best cross-country season for some years, and look almost certain to finish in the silver medal position behind Notts AC.

The young and talented team all ran well over the 10k course with James McCrae cutting through the wind to finish ninth in a time of 35.27.

Jake Richardson (16th), Alex Hampson (19th), Lloyd Kempson (30th) and Jevan Robertson (36th) helped their team to third place.

Fine grouping by the Under 17 men’s trio of Austin Herbert (8th), Oliver Bowling (10th) and Nathan Davey (12th) placed them second, a position that they also hold in the team standings.

Despite finishing fourth at Heanor the Under 13 boys are sitting comfortably in second position.

Sam Oakley secured ninth place, ahead of Matt Church (16th) and Sam Garner (24th), the other Harriers scorers.

Peterborough AC’s Harvey Hancock came home 14th.

Harriers’ Under 15 boys had a good day with a second-place finish, and, although lying fourth overall, a top 3 position is not out of the question.

They ran well as a group with just 17 seconds separating 13th-placed Nandeli Palenbe from Ollie Oakley in 17th spot. Ethan Ellison and Mapesho Mutumka finished 14th and 16th respectively

The mixed Under 11s completed a fine day for Nene Valley, finishing third and remaining third overall. Oliver House, Joe Garner and Lottie Hemmings were the scorers.

There is no doubting the pedigree of Hemmings, whose father Lance was a major force on the local running scene in the 1990s.