Jonny Mellor, returned to XC racing with a flourish, moving away from Nigel Martyn in the final lap of pulsating race at a sunny Sherdley Park.

Mellor, with a 2:10 marathon best from 2020, was among a lead group that featured the winner of the opening match Nigel Martin,  Callum Davidson, and Cameron Field on the 1st of three undulating laps. Martin pushed the pace on lap two with Mellor in close attendance.

On the final lap, through the valley and into the tight ‘chicane’ turn around a mile from the finish  the Liverpool Harrier broke clear, and extended his lead to 8 seconds at the finish to win in 31:34 over the 10k course. Davidson held on well for an impressive third place. Martin led Sale to an emphatic team win ahead of Salford

Sophie Tarver, of Wirral, in good form at the recent National XC relays, edged Lauren Heyes after an epic duel. The pair, both attired in white and green vests, swapped the lead on the first large lap.

However, it was Tarver who moved clear of the Leigh Harrier in the final 200m over cloying mud, on the final small lap, to win by 2 seconds with 26:48. Sophie Wood, around a minute in arrears in third guided Sale to another team win.

A Junior report will follow

Report courtesy of Steve Green