HORWICH Harriers maintained their second spot in the Manchester Area Cross Country League in the penultimate outing at Tatton Park.

Strong performances all round for third place in the fourth round means they head to Heaton Park for the final round next month competing with Salford and Chorlton for the runners-up spot behind uncatchable Sale at the top.

James Scott-Farrington was at the front for Horwich and took fifth place, having held third for much of the race. He is now in a good position to take one of the top three individual places for the series, while Joe Mercer, ninth on the day, is also vying for a series podium place.

The club’s cross-country captain, Alastair Murray, is understandably pleased at what is turning out to be one of the best Horwich team performances of recent times.

On the day, the top age-category performance was from Janet Rashleigh in winning the F60 category by nearly four minutes.

For the men, the top age-category result came from Julian Goudge who specialises in orienteering and night running but again showed here he is no mean performer on the muddy trails, taking first place in M50 category.

The Northern Cross Country championships at Pontefract now beckon for the squad.

The club’s new gazebo has been making a regular appearance, symbolic of the club’s ambition to raise its profile and was in place at Tatton and then at Heaton Park for the latest round of the South East Lancs cross country league where the Harriers’ juniors and vets took the limelight.

Grace Mort won the under-13 girls’ race and with one race to go is top in the series rankings too.

Charlotte Wilkinson was third in the u15 girls’ race, and with Lois Bowl and Emma Bradley gave the team second place.

For the veteran men, Doug Fleming consolidated his second place in the M60 series with another second spot on the day. He was joined by Richard O’Reilly and Gary Chadderton for a team first place.

The juniors also had a grand day out at SportCity for the latest Sportshall event where Gemma Stokes led a large squad of youngsters for the indoor track and field event in which the emphasis is on enjoyment in a supportive but competitive environment.

The team’s smiles said it all and the format is a great way to help juniors move on to greater things in athletics - just like Sophie Walton who, at the Northern Indoor Championships at Sheffield, hit form early on in the new season by winning the 200m title, having finished fourth in the 60m the previous day.

The club and supporters will be cheering her on for further national and international honours this year having finished 2021 as a member of the national sprint squad.

Parkrun is resuming its pre-Covid popularity and in a big turnout of 522 at Stretford, Gareth Webb was first M65 with a good personal-best time of 19mins 17secs and he now occupies third place in the national standings for the age-group at parkrun.

At the same event, Sean McMyler and Maria Lowe had top-50 finishes with Lowe first F40.

At the Queens Park junior parkrun, Harry Yates was first home - also in a new PB of 8:36.