Northern Cross Country
Championships:Sherdley Park, St Helens 24 Jan
Sherdley Park was the venue for another superb Northern
Championship with old memories and new ones merging on an afternoon
which witnessed the inexorable rise of St Helens-Sutton A C.
There were individual successes, Dave Forrester, tenth in the
under 15 race, Laura Davenport eleventh in the under 20
event and John Dumbell staking a place for the
inter-counties as third Merseyside runner to finish in the under 13
contest. There were the gutsy team performances from Jason White,
Sheru Gulati and Steve Roberston to complete teams in the
under 15, 17 and 20 events respectively. There were disappointments
too as Dave Twigg, Sara McLoughlin and Andy O'Connor
were unable to finish because of illness and injury but the trio are
strong enough to bounce back.
The club's progress was there for all to see. In 2003 we had
22 finishers across the ten races with three complete
teams. This year we had 38 finishers and five teams. Zoe
Woodward (55), Kim Bridge (107), Lorna Forrester
(128) & Laura Crook (152) took the under 13 girls into
22nd position whereas last year we didn't have a team.
The under 13 Boys' team were tenth led home by John Dumbell
(28) with support from Ben Clough (49), Mike Ehlen
(61), Ryan Rigby (119), Steve Clague (130)
and Anthony Marsh (131)..
With Chloe Wilson racing in the Air Cadets regional final
where she finished fourth and Jessica Cretu down with 'flu, the under 15 team had two finishers, an increase of 100% over
last year. Lucy Cannon (142) and Mellissa
McLoughlin (153) preparing for their track season with some
stamina work. We had no under 15 Boys' team at Manchester but this
year Dave Forrester (10), Mike Burke (121),
Tom Rigby (156) and Jason White (2002) were 21st.
Laura Davenport produced an outstanding performance from
start to finish and will be considered for the Merseyside senior
ladies team in the inter-counties while the men's under 20 quartet
of Greg Williams (41), Barry Cunliffe (50) Steve
Mayers (51) and Steve Robertson (80) were seventh in
the team race.
The senior ladies improved two places over last year, Louise
Casey (111), Julia Eccleston (158), Cecilia
Fitzsimons (171), Chris Dempsey (172) and Pam
Appleton (177) scoring 612. The under 17 lads were unlucky not
to finish a team Tom Griffiths, John Appleton
and Sheru Gulati completing the course as breathing
difficulties forced an injured Dave Twigg out of the race.
The senior men made a seven place improvement from 46th to 39th
boosted by the late news that John Appleton and Ian
Hayburn had been cleared to compete first claim with immediate
effect. Tony Smith (118), Barry Graney (264), Ian
White (343), Ian Hayburn (358), Ray Vose (420) and
John Appleton (485) making the count with Richie Bradshaw
(608), Stan Erlam (643) and Tony Raffle (666) making
the finish line with typical determination. Photographs of some of
the club's junior and senior runners can be found on
Team Manager, Phil Thomas, found excellent support from
Danny McLoughlin, Sue Clague, Ray Vose and Barry Graney. Parents
were out in abundance, Luke Burke, John Woodward,
Mr Crook, Paul & Stephanie Forrester, Mr Bridge, Mr & Mrs Dumbell,
The Griffiths family, the Steve Myers fan club, The Smith Family,
Paul Davenport, Fred and Lisa Bluett. There were others who were
there in support of relatives, identified only by their proximity to
the new St Helens- Sutton A C tent splendidly erected by Janet
Holmes, John Irwin and Julia Hayes. We thank all of them
for their support.
And a warm thanks to John Irwin, Dave Morley, Steve Eccleston,
Alan Davies Laura Savage, Lucy Mitchell and Dennis Fulton and all those
from other clubs on Merseyside whose roles as marshalls made the event such a success. Last but not least it was a pleasure to see John
McLoughlin (Northern bronze medalist in the under 15 race in
1962), Brian Renshall, an integral part of the great Sutton
team of the late 1960's and former chairman, Roger McCall,
who still maintains an interest in club affairs and acts as a field
event official whenever he can.
Now for the National!!!
Helsby Half Marathon : 18 January
Pole Vaulter Peter Code put in some stamina work by
running in the Helsby Half Marathon and recorded 1.47.44 to finish
869 in a field of almost 1500 finishers.
Northern Junior Indoor Championships:
Sheffield 18 January
Jake Davidson earned St Helens-Sutton A C's first
indoor medal when he took second place in the under 17 triple
jump at Sheffield. Jake beat the magical 12 metres mark
with all bar one of his jumps, winning the silver medal with
12.39m. This is 80cm up on his outdoor best and augers well for
the coming season.
Merseyside Schools' Cross Country
Championships Whiston 17 January
Steve Mayers and Greg Williams led the senior boys'
challenge at the Merseyside Schools' finishing fourth and sixth and
there was a great return to form for Mike Burke who
was a splendid third in the junior boys' race.
John Dumbell (17th), Tom Rigby (28th) and
Sheru Gulati (13th) ran in the junior, inter and senior boys'
races respectively, John finishing as third first year. Ben Clough
twisted his knee, Mike Ehlen is concentrating on his sprint
work and Peter Knowles did not compete because of an injured
back. Dave Twigg added the Cheshire Schools'
interemediate title at Bishop Herber High School to the equivalent
club's title he won recently.
Garstang Fun Run, 11 January
The Eccleston quartet were in action at
Garstang, Julia ran round with Mark in 18.49 while
Steve and Jennifer completed the course in 22.35.
Unfortunately they won't be able to repeat the performance at our
own Fun Run in March unless Julia uses it as a warm up for
the main race and Steve wants something to do before acing as
L&D Cross Country Championships,
Clarke Gardens, 11 January
Tony Smith sleepwalked
round a loosely marked out course to lead the team home after
working on nights. A
good turn out saw eleven starters run the long course
in a strong, cold wind. The team was strengthened by
the juniors this week and it was nice to see some old faces
back. Many thanks to Frank Vose for helping
with the results, though not for his adding up!
Fourth position after three years finishing sixth was an
excellent result, underlined the club's improvement over the
year and represents a good recovery following the disappointment of
not finishing a team in the county championships Now for the
Northern and National.Results
Cheshire Cross Country Championships, Winsford, 3
Dave Twigg, running as a
first year under 17, took the county title, to add to the under 15
crown he won last year. Congratulations Dave.
Merseyside Country Championships,
Whiston, 3 January
The club's progress was
marked with two individual county titles, one team title and a total of two
dozen medals on a day of individual courage, determination, commitment and team
spirit. The individual titles (the club's first individual Merseyside county cross
country titles of the Millennium) were won by James Farghar & Laura
Davenport. Both took on the opposition early, James powering away to
victory and Laura gently easing to the front, each
for clear wins.
James had top ten support
from Dave Forrester (3) and Mike Burke(9) with Tom Rigby (19)
closing in for silver medals in the team race. This came hard on the heels of a
splendid team victory in the under 13 Boys' race whose early race packing of
four in the first five was reminiscent of Sutton's golden days. Ben Clough
(2), Peter Knowles(4), Mike Ehlen (6) and John Dumbell (11) closing in for a
three point victory to retain the trophy won on count back last year.
It was team running which
took the bronze medals in the under 13 race, the club's total of 59 matched by
Wirral but a brilliant team finish saw Sara McLoughlin (8),Kim Bridge(16),
Laura Crook(17) and Lorna Forrester (18) stylishly claiming the medals
on the count back rule.
There were many examples
of courage during the afternoon, including Jason White, Ryan Rigby
and Steve Clague as squad members while Jessica Cretu and
Zoe Strong were outstanding. Both asthmas sufferers they battled the
elements and asthma attacks to earn medals for their team mates. Chloe Wilson
(9) led the under 15 girls magnificently with Lucy Cannon(14), Mellissa
McLoughlin (20) and Jessica (22) claiming the bronze medals.
Zoe hung on
superbly to finish 11th as the club's second counter behind ninth placed Louise
Casey with Christine Dempsey (13) and Cecilia Fitzsimons (14)
taking the silver medals supported by Julia Eccleston (16) and Pam
Appleton (19). The third over 45 individual medal also went to Cecilia.
headed the fifth placed under 17 team with John Appleton (20), Sheru Gulati
(26) and Tony Emley (27) making sure we had a complete team as a marker for
next year's championships. With flu ruling out Steve Mayers and injury
accounting for Steve Robertson it was left to Barry Cunliffe (6)
and Greg Williams (10) to lay their claims for places in the county team.
The senior men had six
runners but only five were eligible for the team race. Tony Smith (13)
led them home followed by Barry Graney, Ian Hayburn, Ian White and Ray
Vose with Ritchie Bradshaw finishing 64th. Unfortunately, Ian
Hayburn has yet to be cleared for team competition and we recorded an
incomplete team. Tony Raffle made a brave effort to run but was ruled out
with sore calves after the first lap.
Many thanks to Phil
Thomas, Danny McLoughlin, Mandy McLoughlin, Sue Clague, John Irwin and
Ray Vose who shared the team manager's duties. To the parental support
from Paul Davenport, Mr Emley, Mr Fargher, Mrs Dumbell, Mr and Mrs Knowles,
Janet Holmes (announcer reminder), John and Diane Appleton (who has promised to
run in 2005), Mrs Griffiths and Mrs Appleton, Mr Bridge, Mr Crook,
Frank Hayes, Frank Vose, Mr & Mrs Forrester, Mrs Cretu, Luke Burke and many
others whose names may have inadvertently been left out.
Congratulations to Ray
Vose, Joe Ehlen, John Irwin and Danny McLoughlin for all their hard work with the athletes over recent
months. In the year 2000 the club had fifteen athletes taking part
in the Merseyside Championship and earned a solitary individual
medal (Laura Davenport in the under 15 girls race). We earned our
first team title last year and have started winning individual
titles. This is not the end, only the foundation for even greater
success thanks to the team work, team spirit and support evident at
Stadt Moors Park today. Congratulations to everyone. A Happy new