SXCL Lord Wandsworth College

Snow and rain in the previous week meant runners for the Southern Cross-Country League race at Lord Wandsworth College, organised by Hart Road Runners, were prepared for mud and deep puddles and they weren’t disappointed. The two lap course of five miles had only one dry section and that was up a steep hill. One part just before this looked easy but was on a sideways slope where traction was difficult. For the finale there was a gruelling ascent up two fields of clay that stuck to shoes, making them heavier and heavier, so a huge effort was required to reach the finish line. But runners of all standards turned out on New Years’ Eve in their hundreds for this mud fest, followed by a convivial lunch afterwards.

Missing some key players, Farnham Runners had to settle for lower scores than in the first three rounds. The ladies came ninth and the men tenth of the 24 clubs, giving them joint tenth place overall. They still lie fifth on aggregate after the fourth of six matches.

A trio of newcomers among the men headed the Farnham contingent. Rob Knapp came a fine 33rd in his first race in Farnham colours, with Harvey Wickham 44th and James Bracey 46th giving a very useful boost to the team result. Next Stuart Haig enjoyed the mud in 61st with Colin Addison pleased to stay on his feet and make the final scoring place in 64th. Next in support was Neil Ambrose, 67th, followed by men’s cross-country captain, Matt Dellar in 70th. Not far back was Dan Smith, returning to racing in 90th, followed by another newcomer, Michael Stephens in 94th.

The ever reliable Eloise Stradling, looking muddier than most by the end, finished an excellent 13th, with Linda Tyler 36th and Lindsay Bamford 38th, in battle for the next place. Not too far out of the scoring were Jane Georghiou 42nd and Anne Snelson 54th, followed by Kay Copeland in 74th.

Other placings:

Men: Steve Bailey 111, Mike Taylor 121, Tim Farrant 146, Terry Steadman 150, Barney Whiter 156, John Hill-Venning 167, Spencer Barfield 176, Paul Mackie 182, Tim Cummins 199, Damian Probett 209, Ian Loader 230, Richard Sheppard 247.

Ladies: Kate Townsend 103, Tina Harrison 104, Clair Bailey 106, Georgi Welch 129, Julie Tagg 137, Victoria Gow 139, Chris Chapman 171.