VALE Royal Athletics Club could not add to an impressive haul of medals from previous editions of the popular English Cross Country Relays when they returned to Mansfield last weekend.

However there were encouraging performances.

An under 17s girls’ trio led by Lucy Smith, who was hampered by a back complaint, finished sixth in their age-group category on a bone-dry course at Berry Hill Park.

Francesca Harris ran a brilliant second leg, hauling the trio up the order from a position outside of the top 20, before Holly Smith clawed back a further 30 seconds on victors Herne Hill Harriers.

Holly Smith, left, on the final leg of an under 17s girls' race in which Vale Royal Athletics Club classified sixth. Picture: Rob Brown/Vale Royal AC

The club’s under 15s girls were eighth in their race.

Ellie Hudson, standing in for Faye Conboy after she succumbed to an ankle injury sustained at the Northern Cross Country Relays in Sheffield a fortnight earlier, handed over to Grace Roberts who made up more than 20 places.

Holly Weedall then ran the fastest leg of the race, completing 2km in 6:57.95, to secure a position in the top 10.

“These are high-class fields that are so competitive,” said coach Shaun McGrath.

“It’s not easy to win a medal, and it probably shows how well we’ve done in the past that we didn’t this time around.

“However there were still some excellent individual performances.”

A senior men’s quartet consisting of Ryan Moore, Chris Perry, Sam Whitehead and Jacob Brown classified 27th – a best ever result for the club in that division.

Meanwhile Nathan Williams, Matt Rowlinson, Stu Doyle and Gareth Williams acquitted themselves well to finish in the top-half of a field made up of more than 150 teams.

Chloe Broad makes progress for Vale Royal Athletics Club on the first leg of the senior women's race. Picture: Rob Brown/Vale Royal AC

Vale Royal’s under 15s boys, who took first prize at the regional cross country relays, were also left cursing their luck.

Patrick Griffith handed over to Jake Wilson, who was 25th at the end of the second leg.

However they failed to finish after Will Ashfield was forced to drop out with a hamstring strain.

Ben Lee, Cameron Weaver and John Humphries recorded a top 20 finish in the junior men’s race while an under 13s girls' team came home inside the first 30.

John Humphries, left, helped Vale Royal Athletics Club's junior men to rank inside the top 20 of their race. Picture: Rob Brown/Vale Royal AC

Alice Gale was fourth at the end of the first leg before Hope Smith, sister of twins Lucy and Holly, and Tarlia Higginbotham completed the race.

Results (selected complete Vale Royal AC teams only)

English Cross Country Relays

Berry Hill Park, Mansfield

Saturday, November 3

Senior men (4x5km): 27. Vale Royal AC A (Ryan Moore, Chris Perry, Sam Whitehead, Jacob Brown) 1:05.19; 60. Vale Royal AC B (Nathan Williams, Matt Rowlinson, Stuart Doyle, Gareth Williams) 1:10.38.

Senior women (3x3km): 50. Vale Royal AC (Chloe Broad, Emma-Louise Pyatt, Helen Smith) 36:26.

Junior men (3x3km): 20. Vale Royal AC (Ben Lee, Cameron Weaver, John Humphries) 27:50.

Under 17s girls (3x2.5km): 6. Vale Royal AC (Lucy Smith, Francesca Harris, Holly Smith) 27:49.

Under 15s girls (3x2km): 8. Vale Royal AC A (Ellie Hudson, Grace Roberts, Holly Weedall) 22:21; 63. Vale Royal AC B (Kate Sherry, Thea Smith, Rebecca Nixon) 24:41.

Under 13s boys (3x2km): 59. Vale Royal AC (Ben Fisher, Oli Washington, James Dixon) 24:35.

Under 13s girls (3x2km): 28. Vale Royal AC A (Alice Gale, Hope Smith, Tarlia Higginbotham) 24:19; 65. Vale Royal AC B (Eabha Lee, Darcie Hudson, Molly Roberts) 26:23.