LORNSHILL Academy in Alloa was the venue for the second race in the East District Cross-Country League on Saturday and whilst Hibs enjoyed the relative comfort of the artificial turf at the nearby Recreation Park, the runners had to slog their way through sometimes ankle deep mud on the tough hilly course.

It was a day of solid rather than spectacular team performances with numerous crucial absentees costing the team some potentially high spots. Proceedings got underway, and were not bettered thereafter, with a storming individual 2nd place for Moorfoot Esme Minto in the U11 Girls race and 2nd team spot.

Relative newcomer Esme was home in 7.21 minutes for the 1.6km course with clubmates Holly Hobbs 9th in 7.44 and Madeline Collins close behind in 12th in 7.48. That placed Team Borders 2nd on the day, five points adrift of Central but the girls sit atop their league going into the third and final race in January by fourteen points ahead of Fife, with Central a further eight points back in third.

The U11 Boys raced the same course and the biggest age-group field of the day saw Patrick Cannon (Moorfot) lead the team home in 18th of the seventy nine runners in 7.15. An improving Kyle Taylor (Chirnside) was 20th in 7.21 and Moorfoot Angus Carlyle completed the team points in 27th in 7.33 for 4th team. The boys sit 4th of the twenty teams in the league.

The U13 Girls raced over 2.7km and it was another Moorfoot duo who led the team points, with Eilidh Mooney 21st in 13.30 and Megan Hobbs 30th in 14.07. Isla Taylor (Chirnside) was just outside the top half, finishing 45th in 15.07 giving the team a total of 96 points, 7th place on the day and 6th overall.

The U13 Boys was probably the team most affected by absentees with any one of three missing runners easily capable of providing enough points to place the team top of the leader board. Ethan Elder (Moorfoot) had a strong run for 3rd in 11.28 with Chirnside’s Oscar Onley close on his heels in 4th in 11.34. With Jack McDonald next home for the Borders in 49th that was still good enough to keep the boys in touch in a very open league, sitting 3rd overall and only eight points shy of leaders Central. With a full turnout at the third race in January, the league title is still a distinct possibility.

A total of 71 U17 and U15 Girls raced together over 3.7km including as many as nine in the Team Borders vest. Suited by the hilly course, Mairi Wallace (Moorfoot) had an excellent run to finish 10th overall and 4th U15 in 16.39. Gala’s Susannah Godfrey Fausett was next home just ten seconds behind Mairi in 11th (5th U15), and Beth Hobbs (Moorfoot) completed the team points in 14th (7th U15). That placed the girls 5th on 35 points, and 5th overall, in a tightly fought combined age-group but all three counters are still U15 and they were unofficially runaway winners in the younger age-group.

Gala’s Yousuf Khursheed showed improved form to finish 10th in the U15 Boys race in 15.15, with clubmate James Logan next home just two seconds later. Josh Abbott (Chirnside) completed the team points with 18th place in 15.49 for a total of 39 points and a much improved 4th place. They sit 6th overall.