CROFT Ambrey RC dominated their own own race as the second meeting of the 2017/18 Herefordshire Cross County League took place at Croft Castle.

The race attracted a record attendance with over 100 female runners competing for the first time.

But it was the performance of the host club's runners that was the highlight of the day, with their strength in depth highlighted by having four teams of three runners in the top six team positions.

The women's race is run over a shorter version of the demanding and strength-sapping course and it was Ludlow Runners' reigning league champion, Amy Fulford, running her first race of the season, who set the early pace.

Fulford needed to work hard to hold off the threat posed by the fast closing Gemma Mallett of Croft Ambrey.

Mallett had, just a week previously, completed marathons in seven days as part of the gruelling November Nightmare event but had sufficiently recovered to race competitively over this lesser distance.

Her battling second place was bolstered by robust performances from Emma Morris in fifth and Irina Dale in sixth to give the Croft team their second successive victory – eight points ahead of reigning champions Wye Valley Runners.

Wye Valley have not given up hope of retaining their title though and remain within touching distance thanks to solid runs from Laura Tootell (third), Juliet Moxon (seventh) and Becky Ansfield (11th).

Croft Ambrey's B string completed the top three again and were led home by Kelly Bowen in ninth, with Robyn Gore (12th) and Katie Jones (13th) supporting well.

After two meeting in the five race series, Croft Ambrey hold a 14 point advantage.

The men raced over three laps of the arduous muddy course and the race followed a similar pattern to the first fixture in the series with the Builth R.C. duo of Tim Iveson and Robin Woods setting the pace.

The in-form Iveson was in total control and confidently moved ahead to deliver his second resounding victory, with Woods finishing second.

Hereford Couriers' Matt James dug deep to take a hard-earned third place.

Reigning champions Maldwyn Harriers took the team honours with a narrow win over Wye Valley Runners, who were well represented by Christian Jones (eighth), Mike Fawcett (ninth), Sam Mayglothling (11th) and Peter Nugent (13th). Matt James led his Couriers team to an improved third place backed by an excellent sixth place from Barry Reynolds, on his league debut, with Mike Link in 17th and the evergreen Tim Taylor in 23rd providing back up.

Wye Valley's overall lead has been reduced to eight points over Maldwyn, with Monross Trailblazers in third.

The next race in the series will be held at Monkhall Farm on Sunday, December 3.