CROSS COUNTRY: Birch leads team home

Birmingham Cross Country League Division One, Coventry

Paul Birch was the top man for Rugby & Northampton when he led home the club in the third race of the Birmingham Cross Country League held at Coventry’s Coundon Hall Park.

The Division One race was held over a three lap 5.5 mile course and Birch, 38, crossed the line in 31 mins 37 secs for 79th place.

It was his second time as the club’s no.1 runner in the league following his first four years ago.

Second man home was Greg Spellman who became the Veteran Club Champion when he recorded a best ever placing in 101st spot with 32.58 and just six seconds behind was Chris Perez in 104th position whose 21 times in the scoring six puts him in 6th place on the all time Northampton list for most times making the team. Brendan Moen was just one place behind to finish as the fourth man again in 33.13 and surrendered his Veteran club title after winning it for the last four years.

Neil Willsher has come into the best form of his life while in training for the Edinburgh Marathon and he achieved his highest ever placing in the league to make the scoring six for the first time in 115th place with 33.37 and Vince Carroll came in as the final scorer yet again in a time of 33.54 for 121st spot.

Unfortunately, the squad finished in 16th and last place on the day, but still remain 14th overall. With the bottom three being relegated it looks like an almost impossible task to survive with R&N now over 300 points behind the club in 13th place Warwick University.

After winning his 50th County Gold medal 6 months ago Terry Egan has done very little, but it didn’t prevent him from turning out to equal Bryan Acford’s club record of completing 93 Birmingham League races. On this occasion he led home the B team for the 9th time in 34.34 for 131st place.

Four other runners followed him home with John Saw in 148th on 35.33, Brian Summers (152nd in 35.58), Steve Dixon (163rd in 37.04) and Adrian White (167th in 37.19).

Rugby & Northampton will host the final race at Abington Park on February 12.