Stainland Lions travelled to Baildon for the third fixture in the West Yorkshire Winter League Cross Country Competition with total domination on their minds.
With the Lions leading the Women’s, Vets and Overall competitions and lying second in the men’s, another scoring bonanza would have given them a credible chance of a record trophy haul for the season.
The new course designed for the 2011/12 season consisted of a short climb onto Bingley Moor, with two laps round the Trig Point followed by a short descent back to the finish.
It was this moorland terrain that was to provide the Lions their toughest test of the season so far.
Once again it was Stainland’s Ben Mounsey who led the charge up to the trig point with Baildon’s Quentin Lewis and Stainland’s Gav Mulholland hot on his heels.
Mounsey’s return to form after a short sabbatical was confirmed as he extended his lead over the five miles two lap course to take first place.
Mulholland pushed local boy Lewis all the way, but it was the Baildon man who took second with Mulholland third.
Josh Whiteley climbed through the pack to finish in eighth position, chased hard by team mate Phil Tucker.
Whiteley briefly lost his place to Tucker when he took a tumble on the final descent, but showed grit and determination to get back to his feet race his way back in front.
Tucker’s ninth place finish represented an astonishing 18 place improvement over the series and puts him in with a real chance of the competition’s improver’s trophy.
Richard Hand gave a consistent performance to finish 13th, and Matt Higham continued an excellent first season with the Lions to finish 33rd and second Stainland Vet. Lee Greenwood finished in a credible 44th place to complete the Stainland scorers.
Despite an excellent challenge on Pudsey’s lead, the men’s total of 1295 points saw them drop a further six points behind to the Leeds club’s 1301.
Stainland ladies started the day knowing that their stiffest competition would come from Leeds Bradford Triathlon Club, and they did not disappoint by fielding some of their best runners.
It was LBTs Donna Edmondson-Booker who made lightest work of the muddy course to finish first with team mate Susie Richards second. However, Lucy Thompson rose to the occasion to give a season best performance to take third place and stop an LBT rout.
Sister act Mags Beever and Angela Jordan then piled the pressure onto LBT by finishing fifth and sixth respectively and Amanda Zito took the final counting place in 10th.
In the end, LBT led the day over Stainland by nine points, but the Lions still lead the Ladies competition by three points for the season.
The final league standings for the day saw little change, with Stainland topping the tables of the Ladies, Vets and Overall Competitions and the men retaining second place.
With two fixtures remaining and some of the momentum lost, it will take a big effort from the Lions at Idle on January 29 to take home all the accolades.