Wallasey Athletic Club ladies' captain, Barbara Banks returned to something like her best form last Saturday at Witton Park, Blackburn, when she led the Northern women's team home in the inter-area match which gave main support to the international 21/2-miles cross-country championship.
'Wetton' Park lived up to its nickname, but the incessant rain did not detract from the sparkling running of America's Doris Brown, who led from start to finish in the international event and also led her team to a one-point victory over the English team, who were pre-race favourites.
Wallasey's representative had to wait for more than two hours before the start of her event, but once under way she lost no time in settling into 4th place behind two Southern runners and Northern champion Phyllis Lowis, of Bury.
The 21/2 miles course was perhaps a little short for Barbara, whose main asset is strength rather than speed, but with half a mile to go she pulled past the tiring Lowis and was closing on M. Moir, the second Southern girl, when the tape was reached.
The race was won by J. Page (Greater London League) in 15 min. 44 sec., Moir did 16:07 and Barbara 16:10. The North won the team race with counters in 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 21 and 22nd places, giving score of 80 points to the London team's 85, with Midlands 3rd on 142 points.
Despite the title 'Final winter track meeting', last Sunday's meet at Warrington was, in effect, the first of 1968 for Wallasey's small group of athletes. Club captain Barrie Smith followed a 2 min. 8 sec. half-mile with an 8th placing in a big field of the senior 2 miles, and his time of 10 min. 5 sec. left him 14 seconds behind juniors Dave Lockley (5th) in 9:51, and Johnny Jones (3rd) in 9:48, both of which were respectable times in the conditions. The ubiquitous Mike Teahan was placed 2nd in the javelin with 127ft. and then 'toddled' around the 2 miles in 10:45 for a 13th placing.
There will be a club run this Saturday at 2.45 p.m.