For the Cheshire Championships held last Saturday the weather was much better than could have been expected. The ground, although frozen, provided firm going and the sun was warm enough to dispel the cold in the air.
The course was a proper cross country one suitable for spiked running shoes. Mainly grass, the course had several short steep hills and a tricky descent as well as a ploughed field to negotiate. The race took the form of a lap race, the first lap was 2-miles and the second and third laps were of 21/2 miles and both included the ploughed field.
At the start Ron Barlow did not seem keen to take the lead but stayed in the leading group with John Wright and a couple of other runners. The rest of the Wallasey team were bunched together in the middle of the field for the first mile after which they started to cut through the field. By half-way Barlow was still with the leaders, but causing some anxiety to Wallasey supporters. Barlow bided his time then drew into the lead when he was ready to win by 150 yards from Leo Carroll (Wirral A.C.) with John Wright third only yards behind Carroll and only 30 seconds behind Ron's time of 38 minutes 54 seconds. Dave Field was third Wallasey runner in 30th place with John Young 32nd and John Hughes 36th place. Mark Aldridge came in in 46th position to make up the team, with Carl Gee, Wallasey's coach and champion discus thrower running well to finish 53rd, Roy Parry was going well until confronted with the very rough going of the ploughed field which caused a recurrence of his leg injury which forced him to retire. Out of an entry of 117 athletes Wallasey's runners all finished in the first half which is very creditable. The team placings were; Wirral 1st, 65 pts.; Sale 2nd, 125 points; Winnington Park 3rd, 138 points and Wallasey 4th with 148 points. With Brian Woolford running and Brian Chalton, Wallasey might have been in 2nd place and could even have challenged Wirral A.C. for the team place.
Dave Lockley ran very well and was just beaten to second place by a few yards over the 2-mile course. His time of 8 minutes 51 seconds is creditable and since he was only 16 seconds behind the winner, a little more experience could well have given him a victory. Ray Kay ran very well and finished 14th with Les Watcham and John Jones close together in 21st and 22nd places with Paul Jones in 23rd place just being beaten for a team counter by Jones. Wallasey's team were second with 60 points behind Sale who scored 49 points.
By the time the youths' race started the temperature had started to fall making the it rather on the cold side when the race got under way. Barry Smith and Alan Keating came in together, fighting it out to the last yard as they always do, to gain 16th and 17th places repectively. J. Adamson finished in 22nd place with Mike Mason in 27th place. Robin Tarrant, an excellent track sprinter, ran well to finish 32nd.
Today, the Liverpool and District Championships are to be held at Sherdley Park, St. Helens, in the boys' and youths' races the team will be the first 6 to count and not the first 4 as is usual. Ron Barlow is expected to have his work cut out to stay with Lancashire champion Ron Hill, this should produce some exciting running with Barlow standing a good chance.
The transport arrangements are as notified but any one who wishes to go to St. Helens will find an excellent bus service between Liverpool and St. Helens. This is for runners who are not in the team. The boys' race is at 2:30 p.m.