Nene Valley Harriers’ cross-country team showed 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 city 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 always a highly competitive competition.
Harriers fiished 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 19th place.
The scoring team was completed by Drew Warnes (23rd) and Alex Hampson (29th). Michael Channing (31st) and Bradley Spurdens (32nd) provided good support, giving Nene Valley seven of the first 32 finishers in a match contested by 26 clubs.
A strong ladies team made light work of the quagmire-like conditions with Cat Foley-Wray leading the team to victory with a fine second place finish.
Grace Mullins crossed the line in fifth position, while Nicky Morgan was 14th and 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 Relay Championships 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 (11th) and Calypso Priestley (17th). The girls currently top the table after two rounds of the four race series.
Harriers boasted a third winning team as the Under 15 girls grouped superbly with Amber Park, Josie Fortune and Ellie Piccaver finishing eighth, 10th and 11th respectively. The talented trio cemented Nene Valley’s place at the top of the table with two wins out of two.
Megan Ellison suffered a rare defeat in the ladies Under 17 race, finishing second behind the highly rated 17 year-old Lucy Evans from Charnwood AC.
Casey Hilliam in 13th place, and Beth Goymour in 27th spot gave Harriers second place on the day.
The boys teams all performed creditably with the pick of the bunch being the Under 13s, who took second place behind Chesterfield AC.
Matt Church, the third generation of his family to represent the club, came home ninth, two seconds and two places ahead of Sam Oakley. Sid O’Connell (26th) 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 third position thanks to Austin Herbert (14th), Nathaniel Taylor (17th) and Rio Chilvers (20th)d.
The Under 11 boys and girls run together, and they too took third 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 first 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 Vet 45 title while James McCrae heads the men’s Under 20 competition.
Peterborough AC fielded boys and girls Under 13 teams. The boys finished ninth with Harvey Hancock the star performer in 16th spot, and the girls took 11th place.
U11 Girls: 40 Holly Ross.
U13 Girls: 38 Elizabeth Taylor; 46 Charlotte Dunstone.
U13 Boys:16 Harvey Hancock; 36 Connor Casser; 50 William West-Robinson.
Senior Men; 72 Olly Mason.