TIM Davies powered to victory in the latest round of the Herefordshire Cross County League in very difficult conditions at Monkhall Farm

Recent heavy rain saturated the undulating field margins that formed the gruelling course and every soggy footstep churned up the mud even more.

The unsuspecting runners were eased into the race with a 200 metre road section before turning into the quagmire where the survival test began.

It was impossible to maintain any rhythm as the competitors splashed their way through strength-sapping mud and deep puddles and, with it being a two lap course, a number of runners opted to drop out after completing the first strenuous lap knowing that conditions would only become more demanding if they continued. Experienced runners, who had contested the notoriously testing Herefordshire League races for decades, declared it to be the toughest race they had competed in. Despite the seriously laborious underfoot sludge, many of the runners revelled in the physical and mental challenge of a true cross country course.

Maldwyn Harriers’ powerful Tim Davies relished the harsh conditions and soon opened up a decisive lead as he confidently led his Newtown based club to victory in the men’s event. Davies won by more than two minutes, but there was a compelling battle for the minor places.

Hereford Couriers’ former league champion, Matt James, was closely shadowed by Croft Ambrey’s Mark Lamonby.

But James pulled away to finished second, with Lamonby third and Russell James, another former league champion, coming in fourth.

Maldwyn finished their four-scoring runners in the top 14 places to register their second team triumph of the season and, with just one race left in them league season, hold s single point lead over Wye Valley Runners. Nicola Davies made it a double triumph for Maldwyn Harriers by powering to victory in the women's race. Davies took command from the start to win by over a minute from Wye Valley’s Gintare Gaigaliene. Rhayader A.C.’s Jo Rees just held off the challenge of Wye Valley’s Daneen Hughes to take third place. The Wye Valley girls had the consolation of leading their team to yet another outstanding triumph with Nicola Emerson, in eighth place, completing the winning trio as their club continued to completely dominate the series.

This was further highlighted by the Wye Valley ‘B’ team finishing second, meaning the two teams hold a clear lead over Croft Ambrey.