Monday morning: when I sat down to breakfast to devour a large bowl of porridge I noticed a sheet of A4 propped against the soya milk. What do we have here, I inquired? Mmmm, the X-C male team results printed out ready for me, and look at this, with 3 fixtures remaining there’s 3 points of daylight between us and both the Valley and Croft. Yes, murmured the wife, I thought that would get your week off to a good start. But hold up dear hart, are these results correct? I happen to know that Mr Blenkinsop’s balance of mind was disturbed by a Sunderland win before he turned to compiling them last evening. It’s all right, she said, they’ve been Offsted-validated. Huh, I replied, stretching forward to peruse the evidence and knocking the open tin of golden syrup into my gaping lap. We’re sitting pretty, I was going to say.

But not so fast, everyone! Complacency must be avoided at all costs especially when I recount some particulars of my journey home from Croft yesterday. I had the honour to be chauffeuring the Wye Valley Chairman and President of Herefordshire AA, Harry Franklin, to and from the venue. And most companionable and pleasant the outward journey was. Coming back, it was a bit different, no, no not because Harry was tired out from his remarkable run, no, on the contrary, he was even more animated than before, but he wasn’t talking to me. He had set up a console of mobile devices on the dashboard and was deeply engaged in planning for the next League match. After a number of calls on the hands-free, he started watching a video of the men’s race on his tablet which he peppered with comments such as, Shorter stride, lad! Gerrup that bloomin’ bank! and Take no prisoners! Then he was scrolling down his database searching for contact details of Club members who have been off the scene for a bit. And before we had passed Bush Bank, an email was on its way to Bousty suggesting that training be turned up a notch or two. At this point, I asked whether Harry was after the sort of punishing sessions offered by our own Mike Link. But doesn’t he push them to breaking point? asked Harry. Well….. I replied….and drew his attention to a flock of fieldfares heading for Bodenham.

Valley won’t relax and nor must we! But surely we can spend 5 minutes luxuriating in our Croft success! Strangely, it was a simulacrum of last year’s fixture: azure skies, a golden canopy, drowsy wasps around the cider flagons, mud underfoot and premier positions for our men’s A, B and C teams! If this wasn’t swamping the opposition, it was partial immersion. Sadly, we again did not have a women’s team [I must consult my own database] but there was a great run from Bev in 11th and 1st V40 while again newcomer Andrea battled strongly round this tough course for 38th. We also welcomed Gerry Meredith for his debut in red and he too took it all in his stride for 56th, a creditable base on which to build.

As usual, there were a number of fine individual Courier performances, led as usual by Eliot who was second but close on Jon Pugh’s heels. We had 4 in the top 10 and 8 in the first 16. Because this was, above all, a team effort, I am breaking from normal protocol and not focussing on individual efforts which you can see detailed in the results. No, instead, let’s get into a huddle.[Sorry about the syrup.] You know how it terrifies the opposition. So come on, gather round, Kev, [stop pushing], Gerry, Steve, Geoff, Dave, Russ, Dima, Rich, Tim, Luke, Mike, Matt, Eliot, Andrea and Bev! Well done all!