Taylor and Davies take overall Herefordshire Cross Country League titles

First published in Sport

ALTHOUGH neither crossed the line first in the final race of the season, Eliot Taylor of Hereford Couriers and Sue Davies of Croft Ambrey were crowned Herefordshire Cross Country League individual champions.

The pair also led their respective teams to the men’s and women’s league championships.

Couriers celebrated winning the men’s title after a gap of six years, while Croft Ambrey’s women had waited a full 20 years to win back the title.

The final race in the five-race series was held at Presteigne on a hilly woodland course with some testing muddy sections and Hereford Triathlon Club pairing Louise Bartlett and Kylie Mansfield set the early pace followed by the Croft Ambrey duo of Sue Davies and Nicky Turvey.

The two triathletes matched each other stride for stride before Bartlett unleashed a devastating turn of speed to surge to her first ever league win by the narrow margin of four seconds.

Mansfield recorded her best ever position in 2nd place and the two were well supported by a strong run from Nicola Goodwin, fifth, to give the Triathlon Club its first triumph of the season.

Davies finished third and with a resurgent Turvey finishing 4th and Sam Harper running determinedly to record her best ever position of eighth, Croft took second place and secured the overall title.

The Triathlon Club finished second overall with Wye Valley Runners, the reigning champions, third.

Davies' consistently strong running over the season allowed her to regain, at the age of 49, the league title that she last won six years ago to become the oldest winner of the title in the event's 30-year history.

Rhayader’s Jonny Pugh again revelled in the challenging nature of the terrain to open up a decisive gap, winning his second successive victory by 21 seconds, but Taylor’s consistency , with two first places and two seconds, brought him the overall men’s title for the second successive year.

With a forceful run from former league champion Matt James,fourth, and steady runs from Mike Link and Luke James in 12th and 13th places respectively, Taylor led Couriers to their fourth victory of the season to be crowned champions for a record 15th time. Wye Valley were second and Croft Ambrey, third.

Medals for the series were awarded to the first 3 runners in each age group based on the best 4 finishing positions in the 5 races with John Pullen (MV45), Cliff Berry (MV50), Mike Warrick (MV60), Steve Herington (MV65), Harry Franklin (MV75), Sue Davies (FV45), Jan Edwards (FV55), Stephanie Warrick (FV60) and Christine Motteram (FV70) going through the season undefeated in their separate categories. Motteram, aged 70 and Franklin, aged 79 also set records as they became the oldest female and male runners to complete a cross country series.

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