BUILTH & District Running Club made a clear statement of intent as they secured a resounding opening meeting win in the 2016/17 Herefordshire Cross Country League.

Right from the start of the Fforest Fields race, three Builth runners broke away from the field, with Jonny Pugh, reigning Summer League champion Tim Iveson and newcomer Robin Woods establishing a colossal lead over their rivals.

It was only in the final 100 metres that the team mates unleashed a competitive sprint finish, with Pugh victorious ahead of Iveson and Woods.

The four-man team was completed by Sion Parry, who finished 19th, to give host club Builth an impressive start as they bid to win the league title for the first time.

Reigning champions Maldwyn Harriers finished 14 points adrift, equal with Wye Valley Runners, but the Newtown based club were handed second place by virtue of having their complete team of four runners home first.

The Herefordshire based clubs were all fielding under-strength teams, but will hope to improve as the five race series progresses.

In contrast to the men's race, the first seven runners across the finish line in the women's event all represented different clubs.

After a conservative start, Rhayader A.C.'s Jo Rees worked her way through the field when the serious climbing began and continued to open up a comfortable lead to win by almost a minute to record her first ever league triumph.

Wye Valley's Kate Owen ran determinedly to finish second, with Builth's Emma Matthews completing the top three.

But it was Hereford Triathlon Club who flew the flag for Herefordshire with a hard earned team win thanks to Louise Le Ray in seventh place, Emma Wyatt in eighth and Jane Prady in 10th.

This gave them a five point win over Ludlow Runners, who were represented by Amy Fulford (fifth), Eilish Gilbert (12th) and Viv Dempsey (13th).

Croft Ambrey R.C. were third, with their runners being Irina Dale (sixth) backed by Kelly Bowen in 11th and Sam Harper 16th.

The next race in the series will be held at the traditional venue of Croft Castle on Sunday, November 13.