Harriers at Devizes for the Cross-country!

There was another good set of performances by the Harriers at the latest of the Wessex XC league fixture held at Devizes in Wiltshire on Sunday January 9th. The course was the muddiest to date and with rain falling for most of the afternoon the surface got worse as the races were held, with several competitors losing their shoes in the mud.

For the second month in succession the dayís proceedings got underway with a Harrier victory in the Uí11s 1km race with Callum Batten once again showing his strength and speed over the course to run away from the field. In the second race of the day, the Uí13 girlís race saw Harriers come home in 2nd and 5th place with Natalie Parker and Leighanna Chappel having excellent runs in the muddy conditions over 2.3km. Subject to confirmation Leighanna now stands 5th or 6th in the overall rankings based on her performances in the League to date.

In the Uí13 boys race over 2.8km, the Harriers packed well in the first ten with Charlie McLean, 2nd, Ben Venus, 3rd, and Tom Thick, 8th, which should be enough for them to regain first team on the day and move them up the overall team standings. For Charlie, his 2nd place follows on from a 3rd and a 4th so far in the League and will confirm him in at least 4th place in the overall individual standings. Benís 3rd place was one better than his only other time out at the Harrierís hosted meet at Edgarley back in October.

Over the same distance for the Uí15 girls, the Harriers junior girl athlete of 2004, Laura Parker ran a really solid race as she returns to competition after a break. She finished 4th which follows on her earlier 6th at Edgarley. She now has a series of other competitive outings over the next few months, and looks like she is running back into some form. In the age group above, the Uí17 ladies, Kyra Hawkins ran a very well judged race over the two-lapped 3.3km course, overtaking a couple of athletes in the final part of the race to secure her highest placing so far with 6th. Likewise, in the Uí17 menís race the Harriers were represented once more by Daniel White who completed the 4.6km race in his highest placing to date of 13th.

Prior to the Senior womenís race, former South of England bronze medalist Ann Taswell declared that she was looking forward to the tough conditions which by this stage saw certain sections of the course turning to a quagmire. Ann then proceeded to run really well to secure 3rd place and now looks forward to the County Championships next week and this yearís Southernís at the end of the month. Backing up Ann was Becky Lee, currently leading the F50 individual standings, who finished an impressive 16th overall.

The final race of the day saw the Harriers close two teams, with Nick Somerville demonstrating his strength over the 9.2km course to lead the ĎAí team with his 5th place overall. Dickie Wythe backed him up with his first top ten finish of the League in 9th, and ever-reliable Dave Barlow with his 22nd place. The latter now starts to prepare for the national indoor championships next month. In the ĎBí team Dave Stanfield (27th), Stuart Marsh (30th) and Adam Hawkins (81st) all secured their highest finishes this year. In the individual standings from the 4 races to date Stuart leads the V50 category whilst Dave Stanfield is 2nd amongst the V40ís and Dickie and Dave Barlow are in 3rd and 4th places respectively for the V45 category.