The local cross-country community is not often favoured, as it has been favoured this season, with an almost unbroken spell of fine weather with which to commence the winter's work.
The weather can make a marked difference to the results achieved by the different clubs, and it frequently happens that those clubs that habitually run over courses which are specially liable to suffer from the effects of heavy rain, find that their members will show a fall'ing off in speed after a period of bad weather has made their ''country'' rather heavy for running over.
The argument, of course, cuts both ways, and a club whose course is heavy, even in the driest weather, by reason of rough and difficult going, will sometimes find that a succession of storms has smoothed things out a little underfoot, with consequent benefit to the speed of the members. Such a club will, how'ever, always be at a disadvantage with other clubs having easy courses, during a prolonged dry spell, as its members reap no benefit from improved going and progress is necessarily retarded.
The Wallasey Athletic Club has been faced with the last-mentioned difficulty since the end of September, while the other racing clubs on Merseyside have been taking full advantage of the ideal weather conditions to work up the pace of their teams, the Wallasey men have been slowed down in their practice runs by a luxurious growth of vegetation which covers the Bidston Marshes and many of the disused fields round about. The effect on the old members, who have long been familiar with such conditions, has been slight, but new members, al'though no doubt acquiring stamina, have been found to progress slowly along the road to that degree of physical fitness which makes a race winner.
This fact was brought prominently to the fore at Aintree last Saturday, when the Wallasey team was somewhat surprisingly beaten by North Liverpool Gym Harriers in a three-cornered con-test with that club and a team represent'ing the 8th Depot King's Regiment.
W. R. Richardson, G. M. Band and F. K. Ledward easily outpaced the rest of the field, and only E. C. Rodgers, or N.L.G. Harriers was able to stay with them. The last-named did very well to finish second, as Richardson broke the course record by nearly a quarter of a minute and Band and Ledward were not many yards behind. But the remainder of the Wallasey men. Although in no sense of the word were they 'left,' were unable to hold the six fastest North Liverpool men and the race consequently slipped through their fingers.
F. G. Ambrose must be congratulated on a really spirited finishing effort. He ran an excellent race and finished well in front of several club-mates who had been expected to get home before him. H. C. Binns seems to be a child of misfortune. Not more than 200 yards from the finish he placed a not inconsiderable foot firmly in a deepish hole in the ground and bit the dust before the rain got at it!
Both H. Jones and L. Kinsey disap'pointed, although in the case of the latter there was some excuse, as he has not been well for some time. Jones confessed after the race that he never seemed to be able to 'get going.'
C. E. Booth and W. Geddes, although not among the effective six whose placings decided the issue, nevertheless showed some improvement on previous performances and chased home the tail end of the outclassed Army team.
N.L.G.H. - 2, Rodgers ; 5, Ditchfield; 6, Crosbie; 7, Wilson; 8, Allan;10, Delaney. Total 38 points.
8th Depot King's Regt. - 9, Heaney; 11, Nesbitt; 18, Grant; 23, Whitty; 24, Crowe; 25, Kelly. Total 110 points.
About 50 competitors took part in the race. To-day, the Wallasey Athletic Club will hold a practice run from their Leasowe-road headquarters, commencing at 3.15 p.m.