Mixed emotions for Carson after leading Harriers home

First published in Sport

TOM Carson was the Bolton Harriers star in the first round of the Red Rose Cross Country League at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday.

In a very close race, he was disappointed at finishing only three seconds behind Rochdale Harriers’ Dave Proctor and then missing out on second place in a sprint finish with Blackburn Harriers’ Karl Billington despite both being given the same time of 31 minutes 34 seconds.

Despite missing out by such narrow margins, it was a fine performance from Carson whose reunion with local running and coaching legend Mike Freary is already paying dividends.

Marc Tillotson (33.04) was next home for Bolton in fifth on a wet, windy and muddy course.

The trio of Ben Scott (38:30 – 61st), James Rideout (39:02 – 66th) and Graham Shaw (39:18 – 70th) ensured the team finished sixth overall.

Chris Povey (40:54), Dean Johnson (41:18), John Gettinby (41:21), Daniel Johnson (41:32), Andrew Doyle (41:59), Shaun Lomax (49:54) and Alex Donnelly (50:52) also competed well in the field of 202.

Bolton’s under-strength team was mirrored in the women’s race which was won by Leigh Harriers’ Laura Riches in 18mins 39secs.

Sarah Saxon (23:41) was 38th in her first cross country race, with Julie Lomax (27:13) and Jane Lim (34.37) helping Bolton to 13th position overall.

It was a different story in the junior races, with solid performances from Bolton’s girls in particular.

Leah Peploe (13:37) was fifth in the girls’ under- 15s race. She was joined by Emily Nicholson (15:06), Fiona Gande (15:07), Abigail Johnson (15:12) and Grace Holden (16:42) in the Bolton team that finished fifth.

Mathew Walker (13:34 – 18th) was the sole representative for the boys.

Bolton’s u13s girls finished fourth as Rachel Bailey (8:17) came sixth in a tight group.

She led home teammates Georgia Greenhalgh (8:32), Madeleine Littlewood and Olivia Kearney (both 8:48), Bethany Heaton (8:57) and Laura Hynes (9:28).

Not to be outdone, the u13s boys matched the girls by finishing fourth, with Liam Doherty (7:22 – seventh), Joe Gande (7:23 – eighth) and Mason Mellet (9:47) contributing.

Finishing on the podium just eight points behind Leigh Harriers, the large squad of u11s girls was led by Georgia Tansey (5:56 – eighth).

Lydia Mathews (6:04) followed soon after, with Leah Rushworth (6:14), Alice Tonge (6:22), Melita Griffin (6:24), Molly Philbin (6:49) and Alisha Hynes (7:17) also competing.

Nabeel Malji (7:09) was Bolton’s only boy in the same age category.

Bolton won the u17s men’s race in style as Jonothan Kay (17:35) finished fourth. He was followed by the ever-improving Jack Garmory (18:02 – seventh) and Andrew Keats (18:11 – 10th). With Simon Walker (18:27 – 12th) and Hywel Scourfield (20:44 – 20th), the group looks strong for the cross country season, and the abundant numbers of junior athletes competing at present points to a positive future for the club.

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