HOLMFIRTH HARRIERS revelled in the muddy conditions in the third meeting of the West Yorkshire Cross country league.
The fixture was hosted by Huddersfield’s clubs, Longwood and Holmfirth, and proved to be a record-breaking meeting with best-ever 87 Holmfirth athletes competing.
Holmfirth runners excelled in the tough conditions, winning four of the 10 races, taking four other podium places and 20 athletes finishing in the top 10 over the 10 races.
The club’s teams also excelled, with Holmfirth taking top spot in six categories and a podium spot in two others.
Top performances came from Libby Shepherd in the Under 13 girls race, improving by 17 places on her position in the previous race to win by a 15-second margin.
Olivia Sykes ran a tactical race in the Under 15 girls, pulling away from rival Louise Redmond, of Halifax, in the closing stages and sprinting to victory on the mud of the closing straight.
The Under 15 boys race also produced a Holmfirth winner, with Lewis Byram managing to pull away from Emile Cairess, of Bingley Harriers, to win by four seconds – the pair were over a minute ahead of the third placed finisher.
In the senior women’s race, Holmfirth captain Helen Berry capitalised on the absence of clubmate Katie Walshaw – away racing for the North of England in Holland – and achieved a stunning victory to win by 10 seconds over teammate Helen Fines.
With Kath Farquhar finishing in an excellent sixth place, and Margaret Sykes in 10th, the Senior Women’s team secured the League crown.
Claire Ash and Emma Serjeant also ran well to finish 74th and 89th respectively.
In the Under 11 boys, Callum Durrans and Freddie Wilkinson led a Holmfirth stampede finishing in second and fourth respectively, with Ned Johnson seventh, Arron Smith eighth, Samuel Bedingfield 11th and Jack Marsden 14th.
Also running well were George Hobbs 29th, Archie Hall 35th, Sam Brown 36th, Dan Tinson 39th, William Amaral 45th and Sean Keddie and Tom Haley-Porteous 52nd and 53rd.
The Holmfirth boys won the team prize with ease and are set to win the league after their performance.
The Under 11 girls race was no less exciting with Sunnivah Waterman leading from the gun, closely followed by Lucie Hall of Halifax, who are the league leaders.
These two gained a 20m lead over the rest of the field, but Waterman ended up having to settle for second.
Frances Keddie, returning after missing the last race through illness, ran well to finish in seventh and backed up by Emily Travis who finished close behind in ninth.
Millie Yates was next home in 12th, Alice Shelbourne 24th, Freya Durrans 28th, Ella McFarlane 29th, Elphina Waterman 30th and Lizzy Burdon 32nd as the girls won the team prize, but they will need a strong showing in the final race of the season to take the overall awards.
Nicky Farquhar was first back for the Holmfirth boys in the Under 13 race, the team finishing third, with Jimmy Burke 16th, Ollie Rees in 17th and Will Johnson and Harry Shelbourne battling it out in 21st and 22nd.
Harry Hobbs continued his steady improvement to finish in 54th, with the boys lying in second overall in the league.