Hinch 4th and great debut from Verwer at Northampton

Last Saturday (6th December) was the second match in the Birmingham League over at Abington Park Northampton. Leading up to the event the squad was severely weakened by injuries and illness but we still hoped to pull some ground back after finishing fourth at Senneleys. Phil Hinch started off steady, but by the end of the first lap had worked his way through to fourth place, a break away group of three looking like they were away.

Jelle Verwer was making the his debut in the Birmingham League and his debut over the 10k cross country; however a sustained period of good training made Jelle confident of a good run. Watching from the sidelines I was nervous after half a lap that Jelle had started too quickly being right up there in the top 20, but he proved me wrong, more than holding his own.

At halfway Birchfield's Ndayisenga had a clear lead but the other two leaders (Kenny and Pepper) had come back to the second group and it looked like Hinchy had a great chance of 2nd. Going up the hill the final time, Hinchy had a five meter gap on Kenny and Almond from Coventry, but they closed back on him and Phil lost out in the fast downhill finish.

Jelle finished strongly as well to finish in a superb 17th place - a really great effort from a first year in the junior ranks. Neil Burton was third finisher and only really ran for the team as he had a major problem with his hip and ended up virtually jogging the last lap, credit to Neil for sticking at it. The evergreen Mike Hager had another great race to finish in 30th place, with Tom Holden next in 46th followed by the fast finishing Dan Beier in 53rd place just catching Phil Clamp in the final half mile.

This gave us a score of 172 for third behind Coventry and Loughborough. This leaves us 160 points behind Coventry, so we've really got to get our best team out in the next fixture - 17th Jan at Coventry.