CLGP Race 2 – Bolton (Burnden RR)
Sunday, 2nd March 2014
Only a fortnight-old and this season’s CLGP could well be a special one for BUH&AC judging by the results of today’s Trotters 5 Mile race around Smithills. Hosted by Burnden Road Runners, the usual two-lap route had a couple of slight modifications due to the building works around the old Coaching House; the start area was 100m or so further forward, whilst the finish took a right fork with forced narrowing that would make for some interesting duels to the line.
Overcast skies greeted the squad of Blue Vests that impressively numbered 41, though the racing was anything but dull! Mark Swannell was left to be the club’s leading light after Tony Valentine, a serial winner on roads, retired from his second place after 2.5 miles on the half-trail course due to illness. He held his nerve in a sprint finish after a fourway cat-and-mouse tussle for much of the second lap to claim 7th by a second (29:21) and first vet 40. Having led his teammate for much of the distance, Andrew Cafferky (13th) could do nothing to stop Shay Walker (11th) powering through in a late surge (which also held off A&T’s Lewis Eccleston), with an isolated Shaun O’Dwyer coolly claiming fourth counter and the Men’s Team win. Tom Carson (27:49) won the race.
Another barnstorming run, perhaps the best of the day, came from Cath O’Dwyer (31:39). Having clearly stepped up a level in the last few months, she executed a final half mile dash down the steep Smithills Dean Road with tactical efficiency to perfection – two seconds was the huge margin of victory over Leigh’s Louisa Thompson!! Junior winner Simon Walker (28th) and Phil Marsden (29th) were incredulous onlookers to the events unfolding in the women’s race after being overtaken at pace in the final 300m. Andrew Doyle survived a late challenge from a Halifax runner and a resurgent Chris Povey (36th), as marathon-training Ian Gregory was final counter for the A team (first 10) that extended their Central Lancashire Grand Prix margin over Leigh to 116 points (306).
In another show of strength, only two and a half minutes separated the entire B team led by Ben Troughton (51st) and bookended by Stewart Brierley (79th). This was underlined as their score of 428 was better than all except two CLGP clubs’ A standard. Amongst the runners and riders, Ben Scott returned, Oliver Radford pipped coach Andrew Barrow by a nose, Andrew Gallagher and Cathy Flitcroft debuted, whilst running legend Steve Kenyon unfortunately succumbed to injury. All the squad counted as the nuances of the team-based competition affected the points distribution around the 292 field.
That BUH&AC’s season is well and truly off to a flyer was registered by their victory in the Veterans’ team too (103), though hosts Burnden Roadrunners (190) remain in striking distance. Sarah Saxon, Cherry Collinson and Julie Lomax ably supported O’Dwyer to leave the team only 10 points behind second spot. Team manager Nick Howarth said “It’s great to see the early momentum is again with Bolton, and we hope to finally mount a competitive challenge in the women’s series”.
BUH&AC times: Mark Swannell 29:21; Shay Walker 29:45; Andrew Cafferky 29:49; Shaun O’Dwyer 31:05; Catherine O’Dwyer 31:39; Simon Walker 31:44; Phil Marsden 31:50; Andrew Doyle 32:08; Chris Povey 32:11; Ian Gregory 32:59; Ben Troughton 33:51; Graham Shaw 34:16; David Hanson 34:17; James Rideout 34:24; Howard Taylor 34:37; Ben Scott 34:40; Nick Howarth 34:54; Stuart Brierley 35:19; Karl Darcy 35:30; Dave Shaw 35:35; Ian Meeds 35:48; Peter Kearney 36:07; Oliver Radford 36:21; Andrew Barrow 36:22; Anthony Walham 36:45; Sarah Saxon 38:57; Cherry Collison 39:38; Stuart Parsonson 40:28; Kieran Hynes 41:49; Andrew Gallagher 41:50; John Grimshaw 41:51; Julie Lomax 41:53; Hannah Edwards 44:23; Cathy Flitcroft 44:50; Laura Crawley 45:53; Adrienne Fisher 46:22; Jane Lim 46:45; Gerard Tucker 48:12; Richard Clegg 48:14; Dave Huddleston 52:46
Bolton now lead the CLGP’s Team A rankings by 116, Team B by 726 and the Vets by 87. The women’s team lie third, but only 10 points behind second. Come on Bolton….!!!