Sky Pilot weather aloft when we arrived the Great Central Railway Station, Marylebone road, last Saturday. Occasionally a stray sunbeam. What a bad look out ahead for those journeying to Leicester to witness the National. Plenty of Southern running material on hand. Every king they say hates his heir. Not so with a King of Horsham. Straight from the shoulder this. Exceedingly kind of the directors of the Central to place a corridor train at the disposal of the paper-chasing fraternity going North. Now Mr. Spencer O'Brien - lrish by name, but Devonian at heart, a good cricketer, and smart Rugger player as well - had charge of the outgoing Southerners. Like Nelson of old, right well he did his duty. Saw one and all right away, Station Master Mr. W. T. Monckton. One second - fancy we remember him in his Norwood days.
Very smooth travelling when once under weigh. No Jack-in-the-box sort of business. That sort of thing, you know, that immediately jumps when you consider it's screwed down. A rich meal of various meats provided en route by Mr. William Ingram, Manager Refreshment Department. G.C.R., London road Station, Manchester. Fortunately the darkness cleared away after passing Harrow. The sun shone, and on arriving at Leicester found everything bright and gay. In a brace of shakes seated in the South London Harrier brake. It contained the hero of the day, A. Shrubb, and was admirably driven by Charlie Rouse, with sonnie a careful attendant on the step. By gad! that was an unlucky tumble that befell Ranelagh Harrier W. W. Crowhurst. Fairly pitched roly poly in the mud, and tied himself in knot that took some unravelling, Quite a closed-reefed topsail gale prevailed. Experienced the discomfort of it to the hat, J. B. Fowler Dixon, the famous long-distance amateur athlete. Oh! many thanks to the directors of the Leicester Racecourse Company for permitting the National to be run over their pretty enclosure. Considering the heavy wet of late, the going not so bad. But, of course, on the plough many bellows mend. Trifles light as air, though, to the ultimate winner, A. Shrubb. Small wonder that the Gordon M'lnnes is a proud man, also that clever trainer, Harry Andrews. Volley after volley of deafening cheers greeted Shrubb when he dashed past the post.
Now he has scored a double first. Won both the National and Southern Counties' Cross-country Championships. And they say that two form pleasanter company than three. Let us see, Shrubb is country born, and likewise trained. Just twenty-one years of age, stands 5ft. 6in, and scales 9st 1lb in his clothes. Full of confidence the members of that famous club, the Essex Beagles. Verily, must have bought up a whole bed jonquils, judging from their trim yellow buttonholes. Quite the floral swells of the south. Once again at the trick proudly floated their Yellow and Black banner. It denoted their right to hold the title of National and Southern Counties' champions. Hopes and fears make up the game of sport - in life especially. That sterling coach, Harry Martin, possessed plenty of the former, and nothing of latter, inasmuch the Beagles' Club chance was concerned. Lionhearted W. J. Clark proved their first man home, and he finished third in the race Can pat himself on the back to his plucky record. George Martin sped as game as the proverbial pebble whilst Ironsides Tommy Bartlett ran the race of his life, especially when it is borne in mind the sad family bereavement he has sustained.
Game to the backbone W. Ashton, of the Salford Harriers. Right well the Turkey Red stuck to the all white. Although defeated by no manner of means disgraced. Come, three cheers for Cork City Harriers. Real good boys every one. There was a bit of sterling stuff in Con Phubbs. Ran fully four miles without a shoe. Captain O'Connell can lay his flattering unction to his soul. English athletes admire the form and pluck of the gallant sons of Erin. Writing about casting a shoe. The veteran M. Z. Kuttner did so. But the 'Irrepressible' comes of a race that never knows defeat, and stuck like cobbler to his last to the bitter end. Influenza had laid S. J. Robinson low. May he soon recover. Not so many spectators at Oadby as one would have thought. The Grandstand fairly filled. Likewise 'Tatt's' and the smaller ring. Club betting ruled Birchfield Harriers evens, 2 to 1 agst Essex Beagles, and 4 to 1 bar two. Amongst those about were Messrs. Mawby (the famous amateur boxer), Monte Eaton (old Birchfield H.), Gordon Mclnnes, Dave Prosser, Prosser, jun., Joe Daffern, Upcher, C. J. Kerr, Lodge, W. P. Sparkes, F. Burroughes, L. Swathy, J. Bown, W. E. Cox, Frank Cooper, W. Dobson, M. S. Turner, T. S. Sinnot, Saunders and Son, S. T. Dodds (the well known artist), Grubb, W. G. George (one mile professional record holder. 4 min. 12¼ sec.), C. J. Otway, G. T. Dunning, S. J. Richardson, Clayton, Liddiard, Marshall, Searson, A. G. Turk, Yexley, Bishop, &c.
Twelve clubs sent in names as compared with nine last year. Gratifying note that the Cork City Harriers sent over a team. Out last year's entries two were missing, viz., the Haddington H. and Bolton H. the fresh clubs being Crewe, Cork City, Small Heath, Southport, and Leicestershire A.C.
At the end of the first circuit F. James (Northampton H.) led followed by A. Shrubb (South London H.), J. H. Bessell (South London H.), G. E. Flint (Finchley H.), W. A. Cook (Essex Beagles), J. T. Rimmer (Southport H.), P. Biss (Highgate H.), W. Ashton (Salford H.), F.A. Ward (Leicestershire A. and C.C.H.), F. Johnson (Highgate H.), A. G. Horn (Highgate H.). The rear division was headed by J. Edwards (Small Heath H.), P. H. Kenney (Cork City H.), H. E. Whittaker (Small Heath H.), H. Bailey (Crewe H.), and A. Mackey (Small Heath H.), while the last two were M. Z. Kuttner (South London H.) and A. Warminton (Leicestershire A. and C.C.H.). On completion of the first mile, which occupied 5 min, 51 sec., timed by Mr. H. Rothery, many competitors retired. On re-entering the course A. SHRUBB (South London H.) had gone to the front: at his heels sped P. Biss (Highgate H.) T. Pavey (Highgate H.), H. Barker (Salford H.), G. E. Flint (Finchley H.), H. O'Sullivan (Cork City H.), W. J. Clark (Essex Beagles), and J. Duggan, J. C. Hayes, and J. Morrisey (Cork City H.). Passing the Stand for the second time Shrub was well in front, W. Ashton (Salford H.) had assumed second place, and then ran T. Pavey and P. Biss, of the Highgate H. G. E. Flint (Finchley H.), H. H. Barker (Salford H.), H. Sullivan (Cork City H.), W. J. Clark (Essex Beagles), J. C. Hayes and J. Morrisey (Cork City H.), A. W. Cook (Essex Beagles), T. Johnson (Highgate H.), and R. B. Pugh (Salford H.). Shrubb's time for 4 miles was 25 min. 25 sec., Ashton 25min. 46sec. Pavey and Biss level 25min 52sec. Rimmer was the in difficulties and retired.