When the mist cleared and the sweat was beginning to dry on our fevered brows, it was apparent that this had been a most encouraging start to the X-C season, especially given the disappointments of the summer competition. Another course, another day, another county and another win for the splendidly emerging Eliot as he tracked Luke Mason on the field circuit to ease clear by a comfortable 14 seconds. But equally heartening was the great run by Bev Bishop on her debut to lead the women’s team home in 13th, only just over one minute behind the first V40….a fine start to her Couriers career! On the team front, the men’s A Team [Eliot, Matt 4th, Richie 11th and Russell,rolling back the years in 13th] excelled, losing out to the Valley by just 7 points. How we missed Luke James! The B Team of Mike 14th, Rich Hughes 15th, Dave [1st V50] 20th and Neil 23rd were 4th overall and 1st B Team while our C’s [Max 28th, Kipper,1st V60, 34th, Steve L, 2nd V60, 40th and Nigel 43rd] won the third string contest. A fine race between Kev [55th] and Rich Wall [58th], heavy with holiday bounty, took place behind, with the super-charged Kev unleashing a finishing drive which burnt the stubble [on Rich’s jawline.]
The women’s team was completed with a strong run from Jayne in 15th [1st V55] and Julie in her first League outing for many a long year in 42nd, feeling her way back into competition in a sensibly measured style.  Winner Clara Evans, benefiting from running with a strong training group at university, was 2 minutes clear of Croft’s V45 Sue Davies, celebrating her call-up once again for the Welsh team in the forthcoming Vets’ home international match.
In the mist, it was sometimes hard to identify individual athletes, though this was not the case with Max and Julie, strangers to the art of pedestrianism these days, who, having discovered their club vests under a pile of inner tubes, derailleurs and oily rags in the garage, seemed to be running with both arms stretched forward and hands clenched round imaginary handlebars, every so often reaching down for a similarly elusive gear change. As he crossed the line, Max was muttering about his chain having come loose. Rich Wall’s hazy recall of X-C battle found expression in gastronomic terms……”Dine-dor….I thought we were going to a restaurant.”
Finally, for all those trying to track down lost telephone numbers, I suggest you ring Clive or Mike Blenkinsop, they’re much cheaper than me.
118 [I am not a number!]

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