The second Manchester XC League fixture is always interesting as it’s the first of the season for U11s and the first for U13s without a school clash.

For the U11 boys, we could do very well this year if we can get the numbers out. It was disappointing to only get two runners out on this occasion but the two lads did great. Neil Randev came home in 42nd with Hamish Flowerdew also impressing in 53rd. Both made their Manchester League debuts and he hope both have the taste for more.

In the U11 girls we managed to get two teams out. Our highest placed athlete was Carys Bucknall in 41st, closely followed by Thea Prattley in 42nd. Ella Farquhar completed the A team in 46th, bringing the team home in 13th. I think these girls can definitely improve on that in the remaining races. Making up the B team were three debutantes. Ela Ustabasi has improved a lot recently and finished an impressive 55th, with Year 5 Izzy Jones not far behind in 57th. Kate Waddell was our final girl to finish in 80th with the B team finishing 20th.

We were delighted to finished a complete U13 boys team, who were 13th overall. Harry Waddell made his XC debut in finishing 48th, with the ever committed Dominic Gibson 58th and another XC debut being made by Joe McCarthy in 60th. Hopefully we can start getting a regular team going in this category.

Our star team was once again the U13 girls. They finished an incredible 3rd, just pipping Salford and Liverpool and finishing behind local conveyor belts, Sale and Stockport. It’s fantastic we have girls that can mix it with teams not just great around the Manchester area, but prominent nationally.

Esme Pearson deserves a particular mention with a Manchester League career high finish of 7th. Also scoring her highest Manchester League finish to date in 14th was Beth Robinson. Grace Adams was the final counter, back in the top 20 with an excellent 19th. Just behind in 24th was Kiana Ustabasi, who has been a fantastic addition to the squad this year. Charlotte Stansfield in 55th and Eleanor Nicholson in 60th made up the B team with a creditable 14th place illustrating our strength in depth. Eva Bucknall was our 7th girl to finish in 65th, completing a great showing for our girls.

For the next race we may struggle for U11s as I think it clashes with a schools XC race so any results will be a bonus. For the U13 boys, the target will again be to finish a team with the U13 girls perhaps having higher ambitions of challenging for the top 3 again. Another challenge they might like to take on is to finish in double figures for the race – reach that magic 10 barrier which I’d like to think is a realistic participation target for us.

Andrew W.