For the first time since its foundation forty six years ago, Wallasey Athletic club supplied the winner of the West Lancashire senior cross-country championships held at St. Helens on Saturday last, when 21-years-old Bob Johnston in his first year as a senior runner, amazed the critics by winning in a top-class field.
Johnston took the initiative from the start and it was quickly apparent that the race was going to develop into a duel between him and Billy McMinnis of Sutton. They reached the last lap virtually unchallenged, but at this point English international Johnny Green made a determined effort and did, in fact, go into the lead, but Johnston quickly lead McMinnis back to him and with a mile to go McMinnis and Johnston led the field by a clear ten yards. They entered the finishing field with only a yard to separate them but Johnston showing superlative power and running with first class judgment, broke away to win by a margin of only four seconds, this after covering nine miles of heavy country.
J. Green of Wirral was third, it was a grand race.
The junior team ran consistently, but without a runner placed in the first ten found that they were well down the team placings. Lynch and Maddock again ran remarkably well, and were well supported by Jim Johnston and Ledward.
Another most pleasing aspect was the strong running of Dave Woods and Ken Tunstall in the boys' race. Woods eventually finished fourth and will obviously be a force to be reckoned with in the forthcoming Northern championships. Tunstall continued his steady improvement and finished strongly to occupy eleventh position. They were ably supported by Mills (29th) and Anderson (32nd), followed by Fishwick and Jones, and were placed fifth, in the team race - a very good performance.
It was interesting to note that newcomer to the club Kenneth Rimmer was recently placed fourth in the British junior rankings in the hop, step and jump.
Congratulations, Ken, and may this be the forerunner of many senior triumphs.
This Saturday's training run from headquarters will commence at 3 p.m. Assistant secretary Bob McCaig, 30 Taunton Road will welcome enquiries regarding membership either personally, by letter, or phone Wallasey 8904.