HOST club Croft Ambrey saw their women triumph at the second round of the Herefordshire Cross Country League.

The scenic surroundings of Croft Castle's National Trust property proved a challenging test for runner on a traditional with its demanding climbs.

The event was made even more testing this year as the runners had to deal with numerous sections of deep energy sapping mud as they climbed up to and descended from the ancient Croft Ambrey Iron Age Hill Fort.

For the second successive race in the series Builth RC 's men and home club Croft Ambrey RC 's women dominated their respective team races.

A league record of 102 women ran a shorter course of one and a half laps.

Croft Ambrey's 19 year-old Hannah Lancaster, making her league debut, took control from the start and made light work of the tough conditions as she skated through the mud to record an impressive victory in a time of 35 minutes and 10 seconds.

Her consistent Croft team-mate Gemma Mallett chased her home, just 16 seconds adrift, with Ludlow Runners' ultra-distance specialist Amy Fulford completing the top three.

A strong run from Robyn Gore. in ninth place, completed the winning Croft Ambrey team on 12 points, with Builth's women taking second place on 17 points.

Croft Ambrey consolidated their lead in the battle for the league team title and now hold a 39 points lead over Builth.

The men ran three full laps of the strenuous course, dealing with the deepest of the heavy mud on each circuit.

Builth's Jonny Pugh powered to the front from the start and dealt comfortably with the severe conditions to register an emphatic victory.

He finished almost a full minute ahead of Ludlow's improving Oliver Perratt, with Croft Ambrey's Gareth Leek forging his way through to finish third.

Builth underlined their superiority with a comprehensive team triumph as they strive to retain their league title.

Croft Ambrey's men fought tenaciously to take second team place with Leek's dynamic run well supported by Mark Lamonby (sixth), Jack Wilson (10th) and team captain Will Gore in 24th.

Maldwyn Harriers rounded off the top three.

Within the record breaking numbers competing in the race, 77 year-old Brian Davies, one of Croft Ambrey RC 's founding members back in 1982, achieved the remarkable feat of having run in every one of the 35 historic races held over this course.

The third race in the five event series will be held at Queenswood on Sunday, December 1.