Leigh, under the skilful managership of Joe Galvin, had planned their challenge for this title since they won Silver 3 years ago and at Heaton Park they delivered.
The programme had 62 teams entered and 59 teams completed that first leg, with Leeds City 1st, and Trafford 2nd. Leigh were 11th and Morpeth back in 37th position.
Totally belonged to Laura Weightman. Laura had an astonishing run, 2nd fastest of the day in 16.36, to pull Morpeth from 37th to 7th, all watched by coach Steve Cram. Leeds City retained their 1st place, 24 seconds ahead of Holmfirth’s Helen Fines, up 7 places. Hallamshire remained 3rd, Border 4th and Leigh’s Abigail Howarth up 6 places to 5th.
No change in the top 2 places but in 3rd was Wakefield’s Jennifer Walsh, up from 13th and Morpeth’s Morag Stead up 3 places to 4th. Leigh and Stockport were 4th and 5th,
Leigh launched their challenge with Dionne Allen up 4 places to 1st, Wakefield into 2nd, Leeds 3rd, Morpeth 4th and Stockport 5th, with 6th place now a minute behind.
Now the 3 medal winners would come from these 5. Laura Riches retained that 1st place with over a minute ahead
of Stockport’s Lyndsay Clarke, and Morpeth 8 seconds clear of Wakefield.
Leigh had Lauren Howath on the glory leg and she had a minute lead that was never challenged, despite the best efforts of Stockport’s Eleanor Vernon. Eleanor produced the fastest time of the day, 16.25, for 2nd place whilst Wakefield’s Julie Briscoe overtook Morpeth’s Sarah Wilkinson for that final medal position.
Result. Fastest Times:
1st Leigh 1 47.29 1 Eleanor Vernon, Stockport 16:25
2nd Stockport 1:48:30 2 Laura Weightman, Morpeth H 16:36
3rd Wakefield 1:50:11 3 Lauren Howarth, Leigh Har A 16:41
4 K Brough, Vale Royal 16:42
5 Julie Briscoe, Wakefield A 16:57
Report Ken Smith
Photo Eileen Ingham