CROSS COUNTRY: Best ever Division One finish for Rugby & Northampton's men

Fifth in league and third on the day as George Goodwin, Dominic Jones and Will Gardner all make top ten

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 11:40 am
George Goodwin (file picture)

After spending a total of 16 years in Division One of the Birmingham Cross Country League, the Men’s team from Rugby & Northampton AC achieved their best ever season when the fourth and final race was held at Leamington’s Newbold Comyn on Saturday.

Over a two-lap 10k course the squad finished three athletes in the top ten for the first time and in doing so claimed third spot on the day and finished fifth in the final league standings.

Leading the way for the club was George Goodwin who produced a superb display of running to finish in fourth place on 33:44 behind the winner and overall league champion Omar Ahmed of Birchfield Harriers (33.16) and Loughborough students Joe Wilkinson (33:28) and Thomas Mortimer (33:38).

Dominic Jones recorded 34:30 and finished all four races in eighth position, which gave him a brilliant fourth overall in the individual competition and also sealed the R&N club championship.

William Gardner equalled his best ever placing in tenth spot on 34:41 and Jack Bond achieved his highest position in 34th on 36:19.

Two veterans made up the scoring six with Stephen Marks on 38:11 for 61st place and Paul Birch three places and ten seconds behind to give R&N their first ever top three place in a single race.

The club had waited 12 years to better their previous best league placing of seventh and only four previous champions finished ahead of them, with Birchfield Harriers successfully defending their crown to win their tenth title in the last 75 years.

Loughborough Students finished as runners-up followed by University of Birmingham and Tipton Harriers.

The B team claimed 4th on the day with Michael Salisbury recording 39:12 in 85th place and Junior James Wizard clinching a top 100 place in 91st on 39:22. Adnan Haq was 112th in 40:24 and there were PB placings for Lewis Cherry (117th with 40:39 ) and Alastair Gardner (123rd with 40:52). Veteran Jonathan Taylor closed out the team (144th in 42:12).

Nick Gower recorded his best placing (145th with 42:16) while U20 Cian Hutton was timed at 42:45 to finish 152nd. Completing the 17-man squad were veterans Nigel Roberts (173rd in 44:08), Vince Carroll (177th in 44:42) and John Saw (204th in 47:13).

The ladies team from Rugby & Northampton contested a two-lap course at Aldridge Airport in the final round of the Midland Women’s Cross Country League Division Two.

Tilly Lea became the club champion for the first time when she led home the squad in 21st place with a time of 28:44.

Exactly four minutes behind was junior athlete Olivia Sheehan whose 55th position gave her tenth spot in the U20 section.

Three veterans completed the team with Angela Copson claiming 59th place on 33:11, Helen Jones with 33:37 for 64th and Minerva Chesser (84th in 35:23). This put the Masters team in ninth on the day with the Seniors finishing eighth.