Tamworth AC Senior Men spiked-off their 2019/20 cross country campaign in Division 3 of the Birmingham & District Cross Country League on Saturday 9th November in emphatic style last weekend. Having suffered the indignation of relegation to the lowest reaches of the league for the first time the previous winter, Tamworth has rebuilt its team with some younger, new and returning talent over the summer. The green & whites embark on the new season with high expectations for a competitive set of fixtures with eyes on promotion back to Division 2.
Following the incessant rain throughout October and into November the expansive 9km course at Coundon Hall Park, near Coventry was only ever going to be very wet and awash with deep mud. The ground conditions were not helped by races earlier in the day, with the Division 1 fixture moved from Worcester and the Midlands Woman’s Cross Country League fixture also taking place over the same course.
From the start Frenchman Sylvain Letendart was at the forefront of the race helping to make the pace over the opening lap of the 3 loops around the park. The pace was pushed hard through the second lap by eventual winner Harry Bishop of Severn AC who continued to stretch out the front of the race to the finish with Sylvain working hard to finish in a very strong 6th place. “The course and conditions suited me today” said Sylvain, “I am lacking fast running pace at the moment but my endurance is quite good and the tough conditions allowed me to perform at my best today”
Peter Hackett, a newcomer to Tamworth AC over the summer, had an inspired debut for the team. Running within himself, Pete was soon moving through the field and with a very strong last lap finished in a very impressive 10th place.
Dale Langley was Tamworth’s 3rd counter with a superb run into 18th place. Dale said “I’m really happy with that run, I’m in good shape after training consistently well from late summer and it paid off today”
Ben Evans made a solid contribution to the team score, despite not being at his best, producing a strong performance to finish in 29th place. After having had a break from cross country last season, Howard Bush made a very welcome return for this winter’s campaign, producing an excellent run to finish in 36th place. The all-important 6th counter was filled by Dave Brayer who delivered a great run in such difficult conditions to finish in 52nd place.
Another athlete making a return to the country this winter is 800m specialist John Jenkins. Using the cross-country for winter endurance training, JJ returned a very good result for himself in finishing in 67th place. Next home was Andy Wright finishing in 107th place, followed by Mark Waplington in 154th place who was also returning to the team after missing the previous winter through injury.
In the important team event, Tamworth equalled Sphinx AC with 151 points but took 2nd place based on a lower 6th place counter where Tamworth compared 52nd against 48th of Sphinx. In an incredibly close team event Aldridge RC finished 3rd with 155 points and Severn AC in 4th with 158 points.
Overall, the race was won emphatically by Harry Bishop of Severn AC in 33.17, followed by Keelan Hopewell of Solihull & Small Heath AC and David Brewis of Sphinx AC.
The next fixture in the four race league series will be held on Saturday 7th December at Droitwich in Worcestershire.