Despite having a low turnout in some ages groups and difficult conditions with 40 mph winds, the club performed well again with some great individual performances.
The youngest age groups were the first to tackle to difficult conditions and both U11 teams came out well. The boys in particular excelled with a 1-2 for Matt Aldred and Cormac Nisbet. Third scorer Will Mayhew in 17th enabled a narrow team win over close rivals Bedford and County and Wycombe Phoenix. Harry Vintner in 19th and Bailey Cameron in 20th also had good runs.
The U11 girls continued their consistently strong season and Abbie Henderson (3rd), Holly Henderson (9th) and Maddie Hughes (15th) were second but retain their lead overall. Hannah Ashby also ran well to be 18th.
The U13 age groups were hit by athletes choosing to run in the ESAA Cup Final. Orla Williams and Jess Pullen were the Chiltern girls to toe the line but an excellent run for sixth for Orla kept the club points going and confirmed Orla‘s spot in the Bucks county team at next Saturday’s Southern Inter County Championships. Jess also ran well to pick up valuable points in 32nd. The girls are fourth going into Match 4.
The U13 boys were less badly hit and despite missing three strong athletes, still managed a team win. Thomas Job continued his excellent season with his first Chiltern League victory. He was backed by Nathan Hackley in fifth, Zach Rahaman in ninth and Matt Clifford in 13th. Newcomer Louis Hunt ran well to be 14th.
The U15s were also light on numbers. The boys’ threesome of Ben Howell (23rd), Oliver Jackson (24th) and Phoenix Everiss (34th) were sixth. The U15 girls also had three runners out. Robyn Watkins had another excellent race to be third and was backed up by Emily Alderson in eighth and Sandie Pohlman in 26th. The girls were fourth and hold onto second place overall.
The U17 men’s race was another tight battle with Bedford and County and Milton Keynes AC. Will Perkin recorded the third Chiltern boys individual win of the day with a well-paced run. Richard Slade in 9th, Sam Howell in 11th and Will Brown in 13th all ran well and the lads were narrowly second to MK on the day but made up ground on league leaders Bedford. Also running well were David Thomas in 15th, Harry Kettle in 18th and Jake Alderson in 19th. Tom Rayner was going well but had to retire with the recurrence of a back injury.
The Junior women had seven athletes out but in a tough league were only fourth. Rachel Padwick in 12th, Maddy Lacey in 15th and Scarlett Wager-Leigh in 19th were the scorers with Emma Barraclough, Lizzie Barraclough, Jess Orr and Hannah Thear backing them up.
The senior women had four strong scorers with Sian Thomas (10th), Louise Durman (14th), Ellie Bates (15th) and Kirstie Elliott (21st) combining to be a superb second. The women are fourth overall after three matches. With only three vets running (Kirstie, Barbara Ralph and Fiona Williams) the team were ninth but still retain second overall.
The Senior men were badly depleted and only managed to achieve nine scorers. The team were 13th, way down on usual, and again it was the U20s who led the way. Jonty Wager-Leigh was 25th and Toby Smith 61st with Vet 50 Derek Brown next home in 75th. Other scorers were Neil Brown, Jon Taylor, Nick Marsh, David Breingan, Tim Dawson and Trevor Brawn. The Junior men (Jonty 5th, Toby 13th) were fourth and hold on to second place overall. The Vets were 11th and slide to fifth overall.
Overall Chiltern were seventh on the day and retain third place overall. With a stronger turnout likely next time at Wigmore Valley, Luton on Jan 16th a third place finish is still a realistic target for the season.