Yes! The weather was not so bad after all at Wembley Park on Saturday. Bid fair to rain once, but did not. By no means half bad business the gate that turned up. And for what? Why, to witness the race for the National Cross-Country Championship. The distance was computed at ten miles, but the going, to quote the poet, was not all lavender.
Come now, what was the matter with the Salford Harriers. Must have trained off instead of coming on since their grand win in the Northern. Hon. Soc. Hardwick looked dejected as a fish out of water. Indeed, a fair knock out blow for the Turkey Reds. Once again the Highgate Harriers came out top of class. Followed up their meritorious victory in the Southern by an equally brilliant one in the National. Their combination excellent: likewise their judgment of pace. A solid piece of athletic oak is J. G. Wood. When you come to think of it, the performance of the Haddington Harriers (Dublin) stands out in bold relief. How the crowd cheered them! Theirs proved an all-round popular second. Verily the Green Isle of Erin should be proud of her plucky sons.
The Sporting Life tenders its heartiest congratulations, and wish the Haddington all that success that they desire themselves. Not quite so - fleet and free as usual the Birchfield Harriers, Like the brook, veteran Tommy Birch appears as though he will run on for ever. Came up smiling, as usual, Tommy Bartlett (Essex Beagles). Forsooth, a marvellous fellow. Comes of a race that never knows defeat. And a King is proud of this loyal subject. The Finchley Harriers popped in club points just before their time-honoured friendly rivals, the Essex Beagles, But they number amongst their rank and file a giant in the land. And he is C. Bennett. Seemed for all the world as fresh, when crowned with National honours, as when he left the Variety Hall. We may be mistaken, and every one commits a mistake during his life time; but we consider that Bennett is about the best man of his day. It was a case of Eclipse first, and the rest nowhere, so far as first man home was concerned.
Think of this now! Manchester Harriers finished before Salford, and a mottled peal was rung at Bury. Commendably the Polytechnic Harriers finished. Heartily encouraged by Messrs. W. M. Barnard and Alec Lee, rattled in with a rare turn of speed C. E. Haydon, of the South London Harriers. And the same irrepressible dash remains part and parcel of E. Gavin and J. W. Sanders. So merry as a cricket president Fred Reed. There was no cause for him to put another wooden spoon in his private cabinet. For this reason. Farnworth claimed it as their own. Very unfortunate pack of harriers this. The Northern champion. J. Hosker, broke down. May he soon pick himself up again. Rather pretty colours are carried by the members. Sad news to the effect that Fred Priest, one of the cracks of the Hampstead Harriers, had passed away. He has left behind him widow and children to mourn their loss. We may mention that Mr. S. Lambert, of 150. Barnsbury-road, North, will be pleased to receive any subscriptions that may forwarded to him on their behalf.
Dear old pals, jolly old pals, were on hand to view the contest for the Blue Ribbon of the bits o' paper world, A full journey of 12,000 miles for G. P. Taylor, the old Midland quarter-mile champion, to make in order to be present to cheer the Birchfield on. A very able and courteous sentry the variety hall proved Mr. Blackwell. Pity the football match between Croydon and Wickham Park was being played so close to the track. The touch-lines should have been whitened a bit further from the cinder path. Not at all pleasant to receive vigorous punches in the back from excited persons when one was essaying the difficult task of figuring out the order of the runners for National honours. Sorry to find the genial artist the Penny Illustrated like a man up a tree. Or, more properly speaking, like a man who had fallen from the branch of one. Reference is made to Mr. Proctor, who has had the misfortune to injure his ankle. So this smart and popular sketcher was penciling around weak on his toes as a limpet. Must not forget the snap-shotists. Namely, Mr. Badkin, of the West End paper, whose racing illustrations are appreciated by everyone who follows the Sport of Kings, and Mr. Baker, of the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, who is scoring immensely with his views of Masters, Huntsmen, Hounds, and Kennels.
Almost omitted to state that Wickham Park defeated Croydon in their Rugger match. A capital musical menu was that provided by the Wembley Park Band. Nulli Secondus in the matter of energy. Sighted C. Val Hunter, C.C., just as loyal to the Blackheath Harriers as ever. The Brothers Reay, Tom Crafter - and President Trott and W. T. Allen, of the Unity Athletic Club. By the way this amicable cross-country fraternity run over the Knife and Fork Stakes at the Horseshoe Hotel, Tottenham Court-road, next Saturday. Smartly laid was the trail. One of the most energetic of this valuable body proved the evergreen H. Hawgraves. Hope to meet him at the Married and Single at the Green Man, Blackheath Hill, on March 18. Believe that is the date of the function. Good Parsons hunt. A Bishop was at Wembley to see the Irrepressibles run. Has been in foreign lands since last we closed palms. Glad to find him so well and happy. Worthy of all commendation the manner in which hon. sec. T. S. Sinnott (of the South London Harriers), and the energetic scribe for both the Southern and National Cross-Country Championships, carried out his duties. As the world wags may it long ere he is unseated.
The start took place astern of the Variety Hall. In the hands of President Gordon C. Innes, it proved to be an excellent one. Bennett for once got away like greased lightning, quickly assumed the lead, and a matter of fact had killed his field first time passing the judges. At his heels then sped Barlow, Pugh, Tysoo, C. W. Davies, and Tommy Bartlett. So soon as a circuit of the Park had been made Bennett was some sixty yards ahead of Harrison. Then the Irishmen were seen to be holding a big front. Donelan running very strongly, likewise Hayes, Curtis, and Quirke. Bad intelligence then for the Farnworth Harriers. Hosker had broken down. It seemed as though he had ruptured a blood-vessel in his nose. Driving along like a ship with ill wind aft came the Essex Beagles veteran pet Tommy Bartlett.
Going strong and well likewise Stokes, Wood and Pavey. Then out in the country the party went and when sighted Bennett was romping ahead with Bartlett second, Stokes third. Then ran Wood, Donelan, Hayes well combined and running with excellent judgement both Highgate and Haddington.