Midland XC League 2021-22
The women have bounced back from the Covid-19 XC drought with a brilliant set of performances across the four Midland XC League races this season. It has been great to see the team back in action on the hills (of which there were many) and mud (very much saved till the end). We’ve welcomed a couple of new members, who seemed to have enjoyed themselves enough to sign up for more!
The women raced at some exciting venues this year with the first race at Betley Court Farm, followed by the tough Stratford course and iconic hills of Burton Dassett. The season finished at the trusty Leamington, where they were finally joined by the BRAT men which resulted in some much needed support on the course. Despite the infamous ditch being deemed unsafe, an alternative ditch was soon sought and the detour provided some serious mud to contend with. The team of 11 finished of the league season in style with a 6th place finish on the day, and clinching 5th place overall in the league which is pretty impressive! Several women also placed in the overall standings, having completed 3 out of 4 races.
Molly Browne led the team home in 8th place (4th overall), followed by Flora Johnson in 22nd (14th overall). Amy Brammar wore the BRAT vest for the final time and finished 52nd, with Helen Pike in 63rd (16th overall, Masters) to complete the team score. Next up were new members, on their debut cross country (!!), Naomi Rae finished 72nd and Sophie Gadsby in 88th – and both enjoying it enough to want to do more! Sonia Marin finished an impressive 101st, vastly improving on the 171st finish at Burton Dassett (minus the soles of her spikes). Sarah Hinksman was back in action with a 103rd place finish, closely followed by our youngest member Alice Stewart in 124th – the first BRAT to progress from the junior team to the women’s XC league team for a good few years, and doing so in style going from 174th in in race 1 to 124th by race 4, and finishing 13th junior overall. Sarah Ross-Wade was hot on her heals in 125th, again jumping up the results massively over the course of the season (45th overall, Masters). Catherine McNicoll rounded up team BRAT in a super 161st, which again was the highest finish out of 3 races that landed her 70th overall in the Masters standings. A brilliant set of results for some very muddy BRAT women.
During the season we had a number of other runners: Eloise Lee unfortunately had Covid-19 for the final race but scored in the first 3 and finished 20th overall in the senior standings. Ellon Hart was 21st overall with her previous 3 race results. Helen Close jumped from 172nd in race 1 to 127th in race 3 and Rachel Brown from 141st in race 1 to 157th in race 2! Rachel Gifford, Rosie de Laune, Cat Bone and Becki Timmings all raced in 1 of the XC races too.
Well done to everyone who turned out for the team this year, hopefully you enjoyed yourselves and we can encourage some of the other BRAT women to race XC next season. A huge thank you to Richard Carney who volunteered for the team at every single race to ensure everyone who wanted to run was able to do so, and doing an excellent job of managing the finish funnel. Thank you to the support we had from family and friends (thank you to Alice’s mum for being the top coat collector), and to the BRAT men for the cheers at Leamington.
Molly Browne February 2022