The East District Cross-Country League moved on to Livingston on Saturday 24th for the second of three legs and there was a significant contribution from Moorfoot juniors in helping Team Borders again prove to be the leading force across the seven age-group races.
On a perfect if chilly day for cross-country running, the muddy underfoot conditions proved a tough test but one to which the Borders runners rose with vigour. Leithenburn recruit Craig Angus showed good improvement to finish 7th and 3rd team counter in the U11 Boys race. Barring a non-return in the 3rd and final leg in January, Team Borders' incredible 93-point overall lead in the league is unassailable.
The U-11 Girls also took the team spoils with Beth Hobbs home 4th and 2nd counter and newcomer Molly Falconer, who ran steadily for 9th in only her second competitive cross-country race, giving a team total of 15 points and an 11-point winning margin. They too lead going into the 3rd leg, but their current 15 point cushion over Edinburgh will need some strong defending.
The young U-13 Boys team showed good improvement from leg 1. Euan Hood was 15th helping Team Borders to finish 3rd team on the day just ahead of Edinburgh. With all of the team eligible again next year, they are doing well to lie 4th overall. Selkirk based Zaynah Aziz produced an excellent individual win in the U-13 Girls race. Newcomer Fiona Grant had a tremendous first outing at this level to finish strongly for 11th with Mairi Wallace just behind in 13th – all 3 counters being Moorfoots and shaping up nicely for a medal challenge at the East District Champs in Cupar on 8 December when it’s back to club representation rather than Team Borders. The girls lie 2nd overall in the league with 61 points in what is a hotly contested age-group with Central leading on 52 points and Edinburgh close behind in 3rd on 64 points.
In the combined U-15 Girls/U-17 Women’s race it was heartening to see Sophie Collins show some signs of a return to being competitive at this level with her 21st place finish for Team Borders helping them to 3rd on the day behind two strong Edinburgh teams. Edinburgh A have an unassailable lead overall and the Team Borders girls will have to pull out all the stops in leg 3 if they are to make up the current 8-point deficit on Edinburgh B for the runners-up spot.
The strength of the Team Borders U15 Boys squad was demonstrated by their team win despite the absence of top performer Nathan Cox from Gala. Kobe Stevens showed good commitment to come home as first counter in 8th. But with Edinburgh’s team likely to be strengthened by the return of UK no.1 Josh Kerr for the 3rd leg, the 19-point overall cushion which Team Borders will enjoy going into that final race in January is by no means secure.
The U-17 Men’s squad is stronger still and they again dominated their team race with a trio of Moorfoot counters. Jacob Adkin ran a committed second lap of the 4 mile course to take 2nd place with Selkirk based training partners John McLean and Jack Stanners in 3rd and 5th, Jack perhaps suffering in the latter stages from setting the early pace. Their 63 point overall lead ahead of Edinburgh would appear to be at risk only from a non-return in the 3rd and final leg. With Lucas Cheskin backing them up in 18th, the boys look nailed on to medal at the East Champs at Cupar – but what colour this time after their team bronze last year in Aberdeen?
OTHER MOORFOOT RESULTS
U11 Boys: 28th Finlay Collins
U13 Girls: 34th Ailsa Innes
U15 Boys: 29th Ruairidh Britton; 32nd David Collins
U17/U15 Girls: 33rd Niamh Shaw (Moorfoot)
In the senior women’s race Scout Adkin, who had missed the previous week’s Scottish Students Championship with a minor calf strain, showed no signs of any hindrance to finish a commendable 10th overall and 1st U-20.