Birmingham XC League, 9/2/13

Rhys Park finished in an excellent fourth place as he led Cheltenham Harriers to their best ever Birmingham League team result with a third position in the final league fixture in Perry Barr. Sitting seventh after the opening mile the eighteen year old surged forward to overtake teammate Dave Roper and chase down the leaders. By the end of the first of three laps Park had moved through to fourth place with an 80m gap to Roper in fifth. A lap later the Dave Newport coached athlete had joined Loughborough’s Sam Densham in third place whilst Roper dropped back to nine. Going up the hill in the last mile Park opened up a 10m lead over Densham, but was back on level terms as he struggled on the boggy downhill section. With 400m remaining Densham pulled clear to claim third as Park equalled the highest ever position by a Cheltenham athlete of fourth set by Roper in the previous fixture and Tom Lowe back in 2005.

Roper battled hard to finish in 11th place whilst teenager Dan Owen claimed his highest ever Birmingham League placing in 30th. Andrew van Kints started steadily and trailed Marc Fallows in the early stages as they placed 53rd and 59th respectively after one lap. By the end of the second lap the duo were together before van Kints worked his way up to 48th to equal his highest ever league finish and Fallows registered his best league position in 53rd. The battle to be the sixth Harriers scorer was eagerly contested with Jon Barnes, Darren Jordan and Roger Mullins locked together just outside the top 70 after the opening lap. Whilst Mullins held position his teammates remained side by side as they moved through the field over the next lap and a half. Barnes finally opened up a gap over the veteran going up the hill in the final mile as he finished 57th on his league debut to give Andy Prophett’s Harriers team a score of 203 to finish third on the day behind Loughborough and Coventry wilst remaining seventh in the overall league standings. The Harriers only previous third place team finish was a joint third place in the final fixture of the 2005-6 season when a team of Tom Lowe, Alex Felce, Corin Hughes, Andy Prophett, Russell Forsbrook and Darren Jordan scored the club’s lowest ever score of 149 points.

Jordan had the consolation of a season’s best in 60th place as he led the B team to second place in their competition. Mullin’s held position throughout the race to come home in 73rd with Elliot Prince the next Cheltenham runner home in 93rd place. James Miller moved through the field to overtake Russell Forsbrook on the final lap as the duo finished in 101st and 103rd respectively with Chris Perrett not far behind in 105th on his league debut.

Full Results