Now that cross-country runners have put away their studded shoes or have resorted to pounding round the cinder tracks it would appear fitting to summarise the club's finest season over the country.
An indication of successes to come was presented as early as October when Ron Barlow, Pete White, John Wright and Tony Townsend filled four of the leading six places in a mass mile road race at St. Helens. Following this, Wirral, Warrington, Sutton, and Southport were convincingly defeated in league fixtures prior to the first major success in the Waterloo Road Race. Over 300 entries were received for the race and starters included such experienced individuals as Fred Norris, Johnny Wilde, Les Cooper and Gerry North, with clubs from as far away as Blackpool, Rochdale, Bolton and Manchester competing. By placing their three scoring runners in 4th, 5th and 11th positions Wallasey were worthy victors and recorded their best performance in this race since 1914.
Wallasey's fourth runner on this occasion finished 51st and this led to a little apprehension regarding future races where six or eight counters were required. These fears were soon to be justified, for after further league victories over Port Sunlight, Southport and Waterloo, the league championship deciding match between Wallasey and the might of Pembroke was held at Woolton. Despite placing their leading trio in the first four positions, Wallasey were defeated due to superior Pembroke packing further down the field. Nevertheless, to finish runners-up in the Merseyside League was very creditable after recent poor seasons. This was the only league defeat sustained throughout the season.
The second highlight came at the beginning of December when the club entered for the H.S. Finney Trophy at Port Sunlight. Once again the now notorious trio of White, Wright and Barlow, ran all apposition into the ground and filled first three places. This, and the 'Cheshire' were probably White's greatest races of the season. With eight runners to count Wallasey's victory was a narrow one.
Successes in the Kendal Road Race and against Sutton and Sefton in the league brought 1957 to a close, but the Christmas fare had hardly been digested when the Cheshire championships faced the club. It was felt that this was Wallasey's year for the championship and by virtue of excellent running by all concerned particularly Pete White and Ron Barlow (2nd and 4th), such thoughts were realised. As a result Wallasey had three representatives in the county side and Wright (30th), Barlow (38th) and White (49th) contributed handsomely to Cheshire's best ever third placing.
Wallasey's strength this season has been in the junior section and it was the juniors who came into their own in the major championships. After sweeping the board in the Liverpool & District and the West Lancashire championships, they won a very merited third placing in the Northern out of the 22 teams competing. The seniors were rather weak, though Wright managed to produce fairly steady performances and Hugh Pritchard has improved vastly upon last season's running.
Now the stage was set for the English National Championships and great hopes existed for the success of the junior team. Ron Barlow led the team, home by running magnificently into 6th position. Steady running by the White brothers, Tony Townsend, Brian Woolford and Ian McIvor resulted in Wallasey finishing 8th out of 89 teams; a truly great performance. In the senior race John Wright achieved a satisfying 26th position out of a field of nearly 600.
The Sefton Park Road Relay came rather as an anti-climax after the National, and Wallasey only managed a fifth placing. The season closed with the Tipton Road Relay in which a weakened Wallasey team did teams, well to finish 8th out of 30.
What of the future? Surely there are grounds for great optimism in view of the fact that the strength of the club has been built around juniors who improve with almost every race. Ron Barlow has two more years as a J
junior and can be expected to rise to even greater heights, The youths and boys' sections are both flourishing and include many potential stars.
In conclusion I am certain that all club runners would wish me to take this opportunity to thank sincerely the faithful officials and supporters who have contributed so much to the club's success. For all concerned it has been an outstanding season.