Rugby & Northampton AC claim historic first-ever victory in Birmingham League

Rugby & Northampton AC produced their best ever performance in the Men’s Birmingham Cross Country League when the squad achieved a superb victory in Division One for the first time.
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The club were hosting the fourth and final fixture of the season at Abington Park in Northampton and in the 20-year history of the amalgamated club, which includes 18 in Division One, R&N produced an unprecedented top spot, which saw four athletes finishing in the top ten.

Leading the way was Ben Musgrove and after his 20th place in the Midland Championships the 24-year-old became only the fifth athlete from the club to make the top five when he covered the 10km, four-lap course in 31:16 to finish fourth.

Chasing him all the way and just one second behind was Dominic Jones who equalled his best ever fifth spot.

The Rugby & Northampton AC ladies team who competed in the Midland Women’s Cross Country LeagueThe Rugby & Northampton AC ladies team who competed in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League
The Rugby & Northampton AC ladies team who competed in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League

Completing another solid season was Haydn Arnall whose seventh position in 31:17 was his highest to date and this emulated his overall fourth place from last year in the individual standing along with becoming the R&N club champion for the second successive year.

Adam Wright made the top ten for the first time in 31:50 and his 10th place on the day put him seventh in the overall competition.

William Gardner followed in 15th in 32:08 and the sixth scorer was U20 athlete Finlay Ward as he placed 32nd in 33:08.

R&N finished 29 points ahead of the BRAT club on the day with Birchfield Harriers third and University of Birmingham, who successfully defended the Division One crown.

R&N finished eighth in the final league table to match last year's position.

The B team were led home by Duncan Birtwistle in 34:44 for 60th place but, in the best of three overall, he was 35th.

Veteran Dave Ball achieved a best-ever 73rd in 35:23 and junior Noah Bennett did likewise in 87th in 36:14.

One place and two seconds behind was Lewis Cherry followed by Sam Tallett with a personal best position in 112th (37:41).

R&N’s ladies team competed at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park in Southam in the fourth and final round of Division One in the Midland Women’s Cross Country League.

Amy Sarkies led the way for the club in 33rd spot with a time of 30:28 over the four-mile course and finished fourth in the Masters race.

Lorna Hession followed in 52nd on 32:06 (15th Master) and fellow veterans Kat Hemmington and Lorna Latimer were 64th and 79th respectively.

This put the Senior team in 15th on the day and overall, which will maintain their Division One status.

The Masters third place on the day placed them fifth in the final league table.

They were well supported by eight other athletes from the club in the form of Alison Cobb (85th in 34:33), Zoe Tildesley in (89th in 34:53), Claire Holland (99th in 36:36), Lyndsey Owen (102nd in 37:02), Helen Jones (112th in 38:04), Katie Franklin (114th in 38:12), Hayley Clarke (120th in 39:11) and Minerva Chesser (136th in 41:50).

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