JODIE Newell of host club Wye Valley Runners took her first individual victory of the Herefordshire Cross Country League and also led her team to success.

The third round of the series was hosted at the new venue of Queenswood where the 217 finishers competed over a hilly and testing woodland course in ideal racing conditions.

Newell sat off the pace for the first part of the two-lap race as the lead in the women's race changed frequently with at least 10 runners in contention.

As the race developed Newell became stronger and weaved her way through the field before taking an outstanding victory by a clear 46 seconds from the consistent Jo Rees of Rhayader R.C. Ludlow Runners' Alice Godding just pipped Hay Hotfooters' Bethan Logan in a sprint finish for third place.

Newell's impressive win, the third different winner of the series so far, was well supported by the previous race winner Becky Davies in fifth place and the returning former league champion Laura Tootell in 11th to give Wye Valley's women their second successive team victory as they battle to regain the title from Croft Ambrey R.C.

Hay Hotfooters, enjoying their most successful season ever, finished second thanks to solid performances from Bethan Logan in fourth place, Sarah Christensen in eighth and youngster Aderyn Carter in 13th.

Ludlow Runners completed the top top.

Wye Valley now hold a 26 point advantage over Croft Ambrey with Hay Hotfooters a further 21 points adrift.

In contrast to the varied women's race the men's event was again dominated, for the third successive race, by Builth R.C.'s Tim Iveson.

He also played the waiting game as the early pace was set by his team-mate and former league champion Jonny Pugh.

On the steep climb towards the end of the first lap, Iveson stormed ahead and was never threatened thereafter as he coasted home to win by a margin of 41 seconds from Pugh.

They were joined on the podium by the remarkable 53 year-old Mike Pfeiffer who overtook Croft Ambrey's Andy Salt on the final climb to execute a comprehensive top three places for the Builth team.

Ben Bowen completed the Builth team in 26th place, but this was not quite enough to hold off Maldwyn Harriers, who won by a single point.

Croft Ambrey were the first Herefordshire based club home in third place with Andy Salt's fourth place well backed by Mark Lamonby in ninth, Mark Thomas in 12th and Gareth Leek in 16th.

The two Welsh clubs are well clear of the opposition as they battle for team supremacy with Builth just 11 points clear of Maldwyn with Croft Ambrey a distant third.

The fourth race in the 5 race series will be held at Fforest Fields, near Builth Wells, on Sunday, February 3.