JONNY Kay and Karl Darcy led the way for Bolton United Harriers as a 49-strong squad represented the club at the Red Rose Cross Country at Chorley’s Astley Park.

The duo, along with Chorley’s Luke Betts set off at a fast pace to completely string the 250 field out before Kay took it on going into the second large lap and was able to extend his lead further on the final lap, coming in 30 seconds clear of Salford’s Chris Livesey.

Darcy held off Betts’ challenge for third over the 9.9km, but was second in the standings due to Salford’s non-counter status.

Blackburn pipped Harriers to the team prize by 31 points, despite strong runs from counters Tommy Harrison (11), John Knowles (14), Simon Dally (44) and Dom Gavin (47).

Katie Oakley built on her last cross country outing to rise to the podium, with Leigh duo Laura Riches and under-20 rival Olivia Stones claiming the top two spots. Fellow u20 Rachel Bailey also improved her relative position, finishing 31st out of the 151-strong field.

For the juniors, Laurence Britton was the top-placed Blue Vest with his seventh in the u13 boy’s race, while Scarlett Thompson’s 18th led the u11 girls.

Steady progress was clear from the times of both u17 girls, Molly Philbin and Francesca Fordham, and the number of u11 boys – 11.

BUH&AC results: U11 boys team 5th – 51 pts – Harvey Kenny (6:36), Sam Hazelwood (6:41), Connor Gettinby (6:59), Samuel Liptrott (7:07), Sam Philbin (7:28), Alfie Dodds (7:52), Marcus Valentine (8:05), Charlie Aldred (8:14), Joseph Rossington (8:42), Zackariyya Aftab (9:14); u11 girls team 9th – 78 pts – Scarlett Thompson (8:36), Mia Makin (8:44), Isobel Hall (8:48), Cloe Bentley-Hughes (9:10), Poppy Dunne 9:30; u13 boys team 8th – 83 pts – Laurence Britton (10:52), Oisin Behan (12:13), Joshua Bentley-Hughes (13:10), Matthew Wilkinson (13:35); u13 girls team 10th – 153 pts – Lily Philbin (12:31), Millie Bracey (13:22), Hannah Swales (13:40), Sofia Aftab (14:19); u15 boys – Ben Pickford (17:25), Ruairi Behan (20:01); u15 girls – Roisin Riley (22:55); u17 boys – Lewis Aldred (18:10), Chris Peacock 20:58; u17 girls –

Molly Philbin (22:28), Francesca Fordham 23:56; women’s team 14th – 172 pts – Katie Oakley (19:31), Rachel Bailey (22:24), Jane Lim 34:42; men’s team 2nd – 105 pts – Jonny Kay (35:59), Karl Darcy (36:38), Tommy Harrison (38:40), John Knowles (39:56), Simon Dally (42:48), Dominic Gavin (43:06), Paul Mills (43:55), Jack Heggie (45:44), Ste Bonney (46:40), Dean Johnson (48:09), Craig Kenny (49:03), Nicholas Howarth (49:39), Andrew Doyle (50:03), Scott Bracey (56:09), Derek Smith (58:25).

Last week, all six Blue Vests finished sub-40 in the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K, with some big personal best times to boot.

Kay and Darcy travelled with a realistic aim of breaking 31 minutes – the latter managing it with a fantastic race, while the former was a little disappointed in missing his target.

That Tommy Harrison’s 32:40 was not in the top 100 reflected the quality of the 8,895 competitors.

Dom Gavin went sub-36 and there was another giant stride taken by the ever-improving Katie Oakley with sub-38.

Craig Kenny, out of action for much of the year through injury, also put in a good shift to finish in 39.54.

BUH&AC results: 31 Karl Darcy (30:52), 42 Jonny Kay (31:16), 118 Tommy Harrison (32:40), 303 Dominic Gavin (35:44), 473 Katie Oakley (37:53), 704 Craig Kenny (39:54).

Elsewhere, amongst the 282 field in the Through The Villages Race from Wheelton, Seamus Walker finished ninth in 54:47.

BUH&AC results: 9 Seamus Walker – 3rd M45 (51:36), 21 Mark Wolstencroft – 2nd M50 (54:47), 22 Stephen Bonney – 7th M45 (54:53), 26 Chris Pickford – 3rd M40 (55:27), 129 Lesley Heyes – 2nd F50 (1:08:28).

The new ‘quicker’ Accrington 10K also saw John Grimshaw clock 51:30 for 207th out of the 525-strong field.