The ladies went into this fixture in the top spot in division two and hopes were on a good turn out after the Christmas break. However what happened was a small but perfectly formed turn out. The weather has obviously been wet for several days and the course had cut up nicely for the ladies starting. The ladies counters were Dani Smythe, who finished brilliantly in 4th from the medium pack, Hannah Nagell, 22nd from Medium and both promoted to fast pack, Lisa Harpin 28th from slow and promoted to medium pack and Cristina Tyley in 35th place from the slow pack, who just avoided promotion by 3 places. Janine, Nina, Collette, Jenny, Judith, Alison, Lisa and Jo did a splendid effort by running well and packing back the hoards. Ladies finished again top of Division two. Well Done All!
George had a good run around with the Ladies, before heading off for camera duties.
The chaps were holding onto 6th place in division one. We have burnt a lot of matches in the past few fixtures and today this came home to roost. The course was heavy and consequently, the medium and fast pack runners across all clubs struggled to get through to count. A great individual run from Matt Hetherington from the Medium pack to finish in the top ten (fast pack).
Myself, Alex Cook and the Skipper were “counters” from the slow pack as was Gary Dicker. Tigger came through from fast pack to be the 6th counter.
We had plenty fine figures of men running, who came and made a difference. Messers Ian Norman (M), Daniel Wood (S) James Meader(F), Steve Schubeler(F), Jason Wall (s)and Magnus McGillivary (M) were the next six home, followed by Les Smith(M), Dave Gilmore(s), Keith Rooney (s), Andy Burden(M), Steve Tanser (S), Andy Duguid (S), Rob (collapsing over a log with cramp) Brown, Ben Shillitoe and the mighty Paramjeet bringing us home.
Dave Brignall and Colin McEntee (on his birthday) started and retired. As did Simon Jobe who suffered the curse of the Cheviots, losing his sole on lap one (not to Satan, mind you, especially seeing we were in the village of the damned) but to the mud, he managed another lap before retiring. Jolly well-done one and all.
We need a good turn out from the club for the last two fixtures. Firstly to help the ladies promoted back to Div one where they rightly belong and for the men to avoid a relegation scrap from Div one.
It would be great for as many of you could make it, especially those who expressed an interest but for whatever reasons have not run. Dirty fun at its best!
NB: Apols for the oversight of missing folk off. sorry just plain blind!. Some photos care off Ward Photography.
Also race report from Keith
“Rooney!”. I looked up, spotting at once the slumped figure and drawing nearer, recognised the forlorn and crumpled shape of Rob Brown, poised wearily by the hoary old trunk that framed the entrance to the wood. I was at a loss, he had shot off like a cannon ball, seeming with gusto to make light of the wretched mire, carving a proud path through the heaving mass. But, this cramped and cheerless form, which greeted me now, cut a very different figure. “Oh, Rooney! Howay man!” The tormented and fatigued words resounded as hammer blows. “On your way, Rooney….Oh, c’mon!” I looked back, glimpsed fleetingly the anguished stare, the muddied fingers clenched around the useless leg, then he was gone, his words dwindling, too, lost amidst the stark winter trees. I felt for him, I really did. But, never mind, Rob, I’ll give you this one. You put in a most industrious performance – and there’s always next time. Xc can be such a bloody awful ordeal, especially in the depth of mid winter – the scattering of spent and bowed figures, littering the wayside, seemingly discarded, cast aside, sweat lashed and soiled, ribs heaving and disconsolate with empty stare – testified to that. And then there was the chap, swathed in silver foil, he avoided our inquisitive stares as he shuffled into the back of the ambulance, head bowed and humbled. It wasn’t just the men, of course. I’d stopped next to her, thinking to help, perhaps, she’d stumbled out of the swirl of runners, but her moment of pain, of disappointment, self-depreciation and admonishment was a private one, not to be shared with anyone, we briefly exchanged glances and she turned away. Yep, xc had demanded the usual price and the butchers bill duly paid. Then there was the usual crop of mishaps and mal-adventure to flesh out the bones, to add credence to the concept that xc really is a mad, mad world. Simon Jobe and his disintergrating shoe, for instance, poor lad, tried to soldier on, but really, doing it barefoot is going just a tad too far, and he quite rightly decided, discretion was the better part of valour. And then that other chap, gleefully galloping off in the wrong direction, the hapless steward, arms, working frenetically, scampering in his wake: “you’re going the wrong bloody way!” I’d reached the brow of the hill, crowned by the primal sculptures, wiped away the stingy sweat and took a peek, before the plunge down. Penshaw monument cast its usual grandiose, gothic, Graeco-Roman mishmash of a presence over proceedings, the columns bathed ochre in the lean winter sun, and as far as the eye reached, an undulating patchwork of dark green, greys, browns and woodland blocks. Yep, the organisers had to be congratulated in their choice of Herrington: a most memorable setting and all dowsed in the garish light of the ebbing sun, the sky a vermillion, crimson red of torn and shredded, scurrying cloud with a cerulean dash. Unlike the ladies, bless’m, it wasn’t my finest hour. I just seemed to slide, slip and slew my way from one sludge pool to the next, sometimes pirouetting like some mad ballerina, never gaining momentum, and a good hundred places down on my usual position. “Just no good in mud”, I lamented afterwards, “just too, big, too heavy…the conditions too harsh..” But is that the whole story? I mean, a pair of whippets like Steve Schubeler and James Mackenzie, you would expect them to skim along, but bigger units like Phil and Magnus? They ploughed on irrespective. Still, I must insist, and I WILL insist, if called upon, to sum up the day in 2 words Muddy awful!!!
See you all at Thornley – God willing.