The season has been a most successful one for Wallasey Athletic Club's cross-country section.
As usual we had to rely on younger elements in the club to bring honours to Wallasey, for the calls of National Service deprived the juniors of a very good team, while the seniors also had difficulty in finding representatives even for the local championships.
The youths team under the captaincy of Roy Shaw, were probably the outstanding club team, though their form fluctuated somewhat wildly at times. They started the season well with an overwhelming victory in the Cheshire Championships and followed that with a rather disappointing display in the Liverpool & District Championships when they could only finish third. However, they redeemed themselves to finish second in the West Lancs. only to fail completely in the Northern. This they followed with an amazing 7th in the National Championships, doubtless to make amends for there Northern showing.
The youth's star has been Roy Shaw. He has been most consistent and could always be relied upon to run his best when the club particularly needed it. His 2nd in the West Lancs., and 13th in the Northern, show that Roy is set for a fine career over the country.
Another consistent runner has been Ian McIvor. He is a fine team member who has combined admirably; incidentally he finished 12th in all time local championships, a fine testimony to his consistency.
Roy and Mac were backed up by Bill Farrell and Pete White, two runners of whose form we were never quite certain. However, Bill seems to relish heavy courses with plenty of slogging, while Pete runs better on the firm, flat courses.
These four, however, did not have things their own way, for Les Williams, Brian Woolford, Brian Hamilton and Ray Wood all have been in the club's counters thus ensuring that selection for the teams was well deserved.
The boys team captained by Ron Barlow also did very well this season and the keenness of the members augurs well for the club's future. They finished third in the Cheshire, Liverpool & District and West Lancs. championships, and eleventh in the Northern. At the start of the season it looked as if Ron Barlow would be head and shoulders above the rest of the team, but after the Cheshire Championships it became apparent that Tony Townsend, a well built W.G.S. boy was going to be a serious challenge to Ron's supremacy.
Tony, however, doubtless through lack of experience, never managed to beat Ron, but it looks as if we are going to see some grand races between these two. Ron's form has varied through the season, but I think his best run was in the H. S. Finney championships, when he ran away from the field in a gale to win easily, a fine tribute to his stamina and speed. Ron and Tony were backed up by Freddie Jamieson, Dave White and Tony Farrell. These boys will, I feel, probably give better showings when they move up into the youths' section next year. Other members of the team have been Brian Anthony, Don Carter, and Phil Townsend.
The juniors as usual have had to contend with the calls of National Service. They could have had a very strong team this year, but the absence of Roy Parry and Hugh Pritchard meant that interest flagged and even with Ken Ledward, John Lynch and Alec Little home from the Army we sometimes did not have a team, which is unfortunate, because Ken, John and Alec are experienced runners who, with a team behind them, could have done well in the local championships.
The seniors were again disappointing and were probably even worse than last year. The only ray of hope has been the running of Dave Standfast, who has been running well, especially in the early part of the season.
Altogether we have had a satisfying season with plenty of suprises and also the opportunities of getting plenty of experience of varying types of courses. A pleasing sign has been in the increasing number of younger members, training hard and regularly, in these days of intensive training it is wise to start as young as possible and so gain valuable experience.
The track season will be opening probably early in April, and the club will be pleased to welcome old and new members at H.Q. at Leasowe. This year there will be plenty of opportunities for competition and with the new wire track being laid the club will have excellent facilities for all branches of athletics. Anyone who would like to come down is assured of a warm welcome.