West Yorkshire League 3, Shipley

Round 3 of the West Yorkshire League moved to Northcliffe Park in Shipley, a hilly venue that hasn’t been used for a few years. On a cold, foggy day, both men and women’s senior teams continued their strong starts to the season.

The women’s race followed a familiar pattern from the start with Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw and Bingley’s Jo Buckley to the fore, but this time they were joined by Katie Parry, who seemed to relish the hills. She fought hard for second place, pulling away from Jo on the final lap. Behind her, Claire Duck, on a course which didn’t really play to her strengths, moved through well to claim 3rd. Karen Hallas looked strong throughout, gradually making her way through the field to finish in 10th. Ruth Wilcox and Rachel Dyson enjoyed a race-long battle, with Ruth eventually prevailing, pulling away on the last lap to complete the team in 24th with Rachel just 13s behind in 27th. Sarah Whitley was never far behind, finishing in 34th, whilst Faye Pinker enjoyed her run in 69th.

With Holmfirth finishing 4 in 13, Leeds finished as 2nd team. Although Holmfirth are in the driving seat with 2 wins, a good team performance at the next race in Wakefield could turn things around and make for a close finish to the league!

With Simon Deakin, winner of the first 2 races, on photography duties, it was left to Alan Buckley to lead the Leeds charge and he headed straight to the front, accompanied by Keighley’s Jorge Thomas, who races infrequently but effectively. They were joined by Martin Hilton, clearly finding form after a slow start to the season, Holmfirth’s Max Kaye and Dale Worton, gaining in confidence after 2 strong races in the previous fixtures, as well as one of the fastest junior times at the cross-country relays.

Whilst Dale paid for his fast start and dropped off the pace a little, Bucko and Hilto kept up the pressure, with Alan and Jorge pulling clear on the penultimate lap before Jorge opened up a winning lead in the second half of the final lap. Still, Bucko, and Hilto in 3rd, looked much more like the hardened cross-country men we know them to be, which bodes well for the championship races approaching in the New Year. Doscoe, this week voted by his peers as the second greatest club servant of the last 25 years, cut through the field in fine style, overhauling Dale to finish 5th to Dale’s 7th. Meanwhile, at the other end of the age spectrum, Elliot Todd ran with growing maturity to make the top 10, an improvement of 40 places on the first race in Guiseley! He was closely followed by Mark Bryant who, despite running half-blind after his glasses misted up in the foggy conditions, finished as the final scorer in 13th place. Whilst this wasn’t quite as dominant a performance as at York, it was still enough to win the team race comfortably with 40 points to Bingley’s 100.

Behind them, Ben Dyson achieved his best position of the season in 29th, with Martin Farran close behind in 42nd. No B team this time, with some runners racing the Abbey Dash and others saving themselves for the McCain Challenge race in Liverpool next week.

In the Abbey Dash, held the same morning, Mike Burrett ran 31:54 to finish 44th, with Alex Davy (33:22, 76th) just ahead of Chris Wright (33:42, 83rd). Hot on their heels was Susan Partridge, running her fastest 10k for several years (33:48) to win the women’s race comfortably. Not far behind were Tim Crossland (34:17), Leon Foster (34:45), Pete Steel (35:00) and Aaron Lowery (36:49), whilst James Mirzai ran a PB of 39:17 and Chris Corcoran dipped under 40 minutes with 39:57.