As was anticipated in sporting circles, the Manchester Racecourse was the scene of considerable commotion on Saturday afternoon, vehicles of every description roll up to the gates of the course, and pedestrians wending their way to the stands in order to view the ninth contest for the National Cross-country Championship; and as a proof that the particular kind of sport which the event under notice is the crowning one of the year.
Inspection of the countenances of hundreds of the spectators on which were depicted deep interest in the proceedings, to convince the most sinister and averse of men that the sport is truly popular in every sense of the word. As can be imagined, a great amount speculation took place to the ultimate result of the race, and many plumped for Carter, of Finchley, coming in first. This opinion, however, did not prevail in all quarters, the majority of the bookmakers' prices at the start were 2 to 1 against Snook. 4 to 1 each against Hickman and Carter, 5 to against Bannister. 7 to 1 against Shay, and 8 to 1 against Pitchford. This is the ninth contest for national honours and is therefore the oldest, and of course, as its title indicates, the all important event of season.
Previously to last year it has taken place annually at Roehampton, but an alteration in that respect took place some twelve months ago, and last spring the race for first time was held in the provinces, and will in future be run in turn in the north, south, and midlands. No doubt can exist to the wisdom of this sensible alteration, as it affords all a more convenient chance of witnessing the contest. That the great interest taken in the race on Saturday was due to the fact that the 'crack' clubs (with few exceptions) took part in the contest was apparent. It was, however, much to be regretted that the South London Harriers were absent, but their conduct appears justifiable, as they objected to the importation of foreign element into several of the clubs, notably the winning team (Liverpool), who had 'kidnapped' for the occasion one of the Salford prominent men, the actual winner of the northern contest, namely, Bannister, and this action of the Liverpudlians cannot be too strongly condemned, as the following resolution passed at a South London Harriers committee meeting will show that, in view of the action taken the Midland and Northern delegates at the national cross country meeting, held Manchester on Monday, the 23rd ult, in allowing certain clubs to import men into their teams, in the most barefaced manner, the South London Harriers be not represented in the above race.
Notwithstanding this, however, the South London Harriers are anxious to compete against any real club team i.e. without imported members. The other clubs represented were the Liverpool Harriers, Birchfield Harriers, Salford Harriers, Finchley Harriers, Cheshire Tally-ho, and Liverpool Gymnasium. The Moseley Harriers (last year's Champions) did not compete. At about twenty minutes past four the runners, numbering a total of sixty-six, appeared the course, and were sent off on their journey of eleven miles (In order to complete which the course had be traversed eight times) by Mr Cameron, and immediately after the start Blundell, of Liverpool H., was the first, and on the completion of the opening lap Hickman led, followed by Snook, Pitchford, and P. Slay. Legge and Henderson (Cheshire Tally Ho) were first to retire from the race Hickman, Snook, Pitchford, and Shay each held their positions for three laps, when in the progression of the fourth, Snook sprinted past Hickman, and the order on passing the judges in the fourth lap was Snook, who preceded Hickman by twenty yards, Pitchford (sixty yards behind), and P. Shay thirty yards behind the last named.