WYE Valley Runners kept up their challenge to regain the Herefordshire Cross Country League crown with their third victory of the series at a wintry Hereford Racecourse.

Team captain Mike Fawcett was an influential figure in Wye Valley's team triumph in the fourth race of the series, finishing second in the men's race behind Hereford Couriers' veteran runner Tim Taylor, who recorded his first league victory of the season.

Fawcett was well supported by team-mates Alex Moore, who finished third, Richard Worth, fourth, and Ken Howard, 11th, as Wye Valley Runners consolidated their position as favourites, having surrendered the title last season to Ludlow Runners.

Hereford Couriers took second place overall - their highest position of the series, while Ludlow Runners finished a close third, helped by Colin Lancaster, fifth, and Kevin Nash, sixth.

In the women's race, Ludlow Runners' Jane Rowlands gave an impressive display of front running to secure her third league victory of the season in 21.42.

Her team-mates, Justine Hewson, who came second, and Jules Toone, seventh, ensured Ludlow achieved a narrow win in the team race.

The reliable Hereford Couriers' team of Jayne Littlewood, Alison Cooke and Jenny Hopkins finished third, fourth and fifth respectively, but they finished two points behind the winning team.

Men: 1 Tim Taylor (Hereford Couriers) 39.39, 2 Mike Fawcett (Wye Valley Runners) 40.15, 3 Alex Moore (Wye Valley Runners) 40.52.

Women: 1 Jane Rowlands (Ludlow Runners) 21.42, 2 Justine Hewson (Ludlow Runners) 23.10, 3 Jayne Littlewood (Hereford Couriers) 23.19.

Leading team placings after four races, Men: 1 Wye Valley Runners 39 pts, 2 Ludlow Runners 36, 3 Hereford Couriers 33. Women: =1 Ludlow Runners, Hereford Couriers 38 pts, 3 Wye Valley Runners 30.

l The final race of this season's series takes place at Presteigne on Sunday, February 2, starting at 11am.