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Stratford's seniors take charge in Birmingham & District Invitation Cross-Country League

STRATFORD AC now lead the way in Division Three of the Birmingham & District Invitation Cross-County League after a stellar showing.

Rich Shephard leads Ned Campbell. (61149225)
Rich Shephard leads Ned Campbell. (61149225)

The club played host to the second round of the league, with the course taking competitors through Clopton Park and the Welcombe Hills.

The A and B teams produced some fine results on home soil to ensure they both finished first in their categories, with their results sending Stratford into top spot in the overall standings.

There were 28 club runners in the field of 246 and leading the way was Rich Shephard who finished in a close second in 35:37.

He was followed by Ned Campbell in third and as first junior, clocking 35:45.

Matt Burdus-Cook was sixth in 36:26 and just a second behind in seventh, and second junior, was Alex Pester. Next was Alex Hill who came in 15th in 37:53 with Jamie Hall in 20th in 39:13.

The next six runners for the B team – Adam Linforth (26th, 39:38), Caleb Spriggs (28th, fourth junior, 39:46), Dave Teasdale (37th, 40:10), Phil Reading (48th, 40:53) and Paul Faithfull (50th, 40:59) – finished close together.

Also battling on to pick up some fantastic finishing times were Sam Wilks (51st, 41:00), Huw Crosweller (76th, 42:29), Max Ross (82nd, 43:07), Rob Gisbourne (86th, 43:36), John Raby (88th, 43:39), Joe Lee (93rd, 43:47), Nick Cooper (94th, 43:49) and Richard Dobedoe (95th, 43:57).

Completing the Stratford team were Nick Campbell (116th, 44:51), Will Dyche (119th, 45:11), David Battersby (125th, 45:47), Chris Spriggs (141st, 46:41), Owen Lewis (166th, 49:12), Dave Wolstencroft (221st, 56:29) and Allan Coldicott (245th, 75:13). Damian Wheeler unfortunately had to pull out during the race with illness.

Both the A and B teams are back in action in the league on 14th January but before they will be taking part in the county championships on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a valiant effort from the 24-strong women’s team helped Stratford finish sixth out of 18 teams in the latest round of the Midland Women’s Cross-Country League Division One season also held at Clopton Park and the Welcombe Hills.

Charly Marshall. (61149221)
Charly Marshall. (61149221)

Leading the way were the junior pair of Georgie Campbell (11th, fourth junior, 26:13) and Charly Marshall (17th, sixth junior, 26:36). Emma Bexson (28:52, 11th master) led the masters’ charge, while Emmy Orton (30:21) and Vicky Sharpe (30:22) put in a tactical run to stop others overtaking them.

Next to finish and getting a course PB was Suzie Ross (31:17) closely followed by Ceri Shephard (31:19) in her return to cross-country after a break for several seasons. There was also a cross country debut for Bronwen Mansel (33:27).

Emily Carr (33:45), Hannah Osborne (34:02), Kate Barney (34:33) and Kim Lee (34:43) showed their consistency, while the next group to finish were Fran Doran (35:03), Suzi Graham (35:32), Clare Goodwin (36:09), Philippa Paddock (36:14), Beth Swain (36:15) and Clare Weatherhead (36:29).

The first of the finishers to receive the soon to be trademarked Stratford wave was Pip Bell (39:54), followed by Lisa Lambourn (40:40), Sam Swanepoel (41:51), racewalker-turned-cross-country-runner Gemma Smith (45:12) and Sandie Owens (45:40).

Meanwhile, keeping Kate Sergent company was Miranda Maloney (53:28).

Charly Marshall. (61149221)
Charly Marshall. (61149221)

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