Wallasey Athletic Club had a great day at Port Sunlight Oval last Saturday when they succeeded in winning the Cheshire County senior cross country championship, placed three men in the county team to compete at Bingley next Saturday in the inter-counties championships and also carried off the boys championship for the second year in succession.
Although Macclesfield and Wirral had been expected to fight out the senior championship they found the Wallasey team in fighting mood from the start and Tony Townsend soon showed what an asset he is going to be this season by running easily through to take the lead with John Wright and Ron Barlow close up. With Brian Woolford and Brian Chalton both moving up steadily from around the twenties and Billy Morris running steadily about ten places behind Wallasey had already taken a tight grip on the race.
Although at the two-mile stage Townsend had slipped back as few places, with Ron Barlow also in trouble with a foot injury both Woolford and Chalton had moved up to the front group and Morris had also improved his position to twenty-first.
Barlow's injury prevented his expected tussle with Wright for the individual race but he continued to run pluckily in 7th place and with Woolford, Townsend and Chalton in 8th,. 9th and 19th places Wallasey dominated the race from this point onwards with a great display of team running.
Meanwhile club captain John Wright had been in close company at the head of the field with Colin Broom of East Cheshire Harriers and that fine miler Mike Berisford of Sale but by the five-mile stage Wright was dogging Broom's footsteps with Berisford gradually losing contact. Wright was running well within himself but was nevertheless destined, to lose his county title in the most unfortunate fashion. With nearly half-a-mile to go and Wright clearly all set to beat a runner he has beaten on many previous occasions a course marker sent the runner straight into the finishing funnel instead of over the last half-mile loop which gave the race to Broom with Wright having no chance to apply his finishing run.
Realising the position just a little too late Wright made a great effort over the last thirty yards when he rapidly overhauled the East Cheshire runner only for Broom to be adjudged the winner be a few feet. However, Wallasey's other counters soon arrived to give the club a most convincing victory with a points total of 59 against the 109 of Wirral A.C.
In addition to John Wright, Ron Barlow 7th and Brian Woolford 8th also gained their county representation with Tony Townsend l0th and Brian Chalton 11th selected as first and second reserves. Wallasey's counting six were completed by Billy Morris who held on to his position tenaciously to finish 21st. Wallasey's supporting runners backed up extremely well with Pete White, Hugh Pritchard, John Young and Pete Townsend finishing 34th, 38th and 56th respectively.
It should be mentioned that Barlow's, foot injury was sustained in the New Year's Eve Nos Galan race over a 4-mile road course at Mountain Ash when he ran extremely well to finish 11th in a high class field which included runners such as Martin Hyman, Stan Eldon, John Merriman, Bruce Tulloh, Frank Salvat and Tim Briault.
The Wallasey senior team at Port Sunlight were no doubt, encouraged by the flying start given by the Boys' team who packed beautifully to win the Boys' championship over two miles. First man home was free-striding Dave Bibby in 5th place after being well up throughout the race, and he was followed by rapidly improving Peter Meldrum 7th, John McWilliams 12th and Ken Kal 13th.