Once again has A. Shrubb of the South London Harriers won Blue Riband of the cross-country world. And the Irrepressible gained it by the power of his style. Forsooth, just the same last year at Leicester. Now quite a busy scene at London Bridge Station on the last Saturday that ever was, for the followers those who scurry after the scraps o' paper turned up in big packs. Indeed a jolly lot. All bound away to Lingfield. Pleasant indeed to travel in such a special train as that put on by the London and South-Western Management. Lawk! not a very gay look out in point of weather on leaving London. Yet when fairly in the pleasant land of Surrey brightly shone the sun. Ran down to Lingfield racecourse in less than no time. How pretty the surroundings.
The turf looked fresh, trim, and smooth, and the lawn in the members' enclosure suggestive of neat ankles shiny boots and flirtations. Certainly the man of the hour at Lingfield is Mr. Fowler. All the dawgs wagged their tails, whilst others loud in their praise of his kindly courtesy. Not only is the popular resort especially adapted for horse racing but for the pastime of the two-legged paper chasers as well. Refering to the attendance, it can be writ large. The Stand full and the Tatt's numerously patronised.
Think of this now! A couple of pretty girls occupied the judge's box, while on the other hand two fair maids of Kent performed an involuntary somersault out of an Irish car. Talking of Irish, hats off to the plucky lads who travelled from the Isle of the Shamrock. We refer to the members of the Cork City and the Galway City Harriers. Turned up as bright after their journey as the mirror of a Society beauty, and scurried throughout with that unflinching pluck shown by the Dublin Fusiliers at the front. Very kind of the two M.P.'s for Cork City, namely, Captain Donelin and Mr. Cullinane to come to Lingfield to cheer the Irish athletes on their way. More power to them on a future occasion. It would lick one to diminutive fragments to be enabled to give a correct list of the company present. However, here goes for a few. Came up from Horsham with hero Shrubb, Messrs. J. R. King, A. T. Harris, G.Longley (builder the new Christ's Hospital), and C. Longley, Doctor Matthews of Crawley, J. Baldry, Herbert Gray, W. T. Allen, H. H. Bond, W. E. Cox, C. W. Garnham, C. Orway, C. W. F. Pearce, H. J. Barclay, Tom Grafter, Gordon C. Innes, T. Long, Harry Wynne, E. J. Clark, T. W. Owen, R. M. Brice, Reay senior, Martin senior, Wright (Hon. Sec. S.L.H.), W. G. George (one mile record holder), J. E. Fowler-Dixon and Son, A. St. J. Henshaw, A. J. Carter, H. H. Griffin, Ashford, Tremeer, Arthur J. Fowden, J. E. K. Studd (the famous gentleman cricketer), Haslegrave, C. Lee, Trott, C. Herbert (hon. sec. A.A.A.), A. Pike, M'Larty, Clayton, J. Davenport, not forgetting the Beagle king, H. Pryor-Brown (late of Tunbridge Wells H.), J. Carson (hon. sec. Derby H.), Bayliss, A. R. Birtles, P. Shaw (just home from the front), and W. Morley. Made one feel so small as a sardine when amongst such big brood of Turkey Reds. Travelled up from Manchester Messrs. E. Drinkwater, S. Cooke, J. H. Jones, J. H. Hardwick, W. Withingslow, son., and A. Fattorini (President Northern C.C.A.). Very good boys the Salford H., for on the morning prior to their ten miles run they attended service at St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
One and all of the team and their friends spoke most highly of the kindly treatment meted out to them at their city residence, the Patterson Hotel, Charterhouse square. E.C., presided over by Mr. and Mrs. Shipp. Gently toll the bell. The Salford Harriers went down, but finished a gallant third. What extraordinary vitality C. Souch, brother to the well-known coursing slipper, possesses! So far back as 1888 he finished second to E. W. Parry on Manchester Racecourse, and the following year came in third at Kempton Park Racecourse. Another bar of iron, Tommy Birch, of the Birchfield Harriers. Ran a thorough game 'oss, although topping forty-five years of age. May the Stag bearer, like the old fig tree, flourish to the last.
As mentioned before, Shrubb came out top of class. Gay as a lark, though, Aldridge stuck to him, but why, oh, why, that fatal sprint? It did no good, but a big bit of harm. Those fond of coincidence may like to learn that George Martin, of the Essex Beagles, occupied the same position in the National as he did in the Southern, namely. No. 5. He sped with great judgement, and his performance stands out as one of the most creditable of the afternoon. Grand combination brought the Harriers Victors in clubland, amidst general applause and cheerful shouts. A regular sticker, W. H. Day, the Darby flyer, just the build to make one; and the boys from Galway and Cork, J. Daly and J. Morrissey, both made an heroic bid for victory. So far as the arrangements for the Press were concerned, it can scarcely be said that they ran up to their usual form.
Everyone must admit that something went wrong with the works of the clock, but that was no reason way those scribes who were at Lingfield on duty bent and not pleasure, should have been kept waiting so long out in the cold before the results were arrived at. A pillar of strength to the association especially is hon. sec. Tom S. Sinott. The duties entrusted to him ware courteously and well carried through. Likewise the police arrangements under the guidance of Mr. Superintendent Brice. No one better known or more respected in athletic circles than the President, Charlie Pratt. A fitting successor to those who have passed the chair, and this position obtained owing to the degree of affability and courteousness so characteristic of him. More of a tribute of praise is the due of C. Raynor Staines, of the Finchley Harriers, for rendered yeoman service to the members of the Fourth Estate. Many thanks pen we.
Soon after four o'clock the teams - sixteen in number - were lined up by President Pratt. Just for a bit of fun, we suppose, the tuneful pipers of East Surrey Regiment, under the baton of Mr. C. H. Anthony, struck up 'The Campbells are coming.' First to break the line G. Smith, Derby County. Close at his heels off went Shrubb. Scragg and Aldridge. Say at about one mile and three-quarters Shrubb and Aldridge were running side by side. Pretty to see them nip over the hurdles gracefully. That good lad in pink, O'Sullivan, here laid third, with Robinson next. Time, 8 min. 52sec. Subsequently Aldridge set himself going and headed Shrubb. The latter never worried, and the Herne Hill Harrier led at four miles and ti half, the time being recorded as 24 min. 49 sec. Neat ran Day, Pearce, and Martin, but Sid Robinson never appeared to get on terms with himself. Shrubb and Aldridge had now raced away from their field, but strenuous efforts were made by both Day and Martin to get up. Pearce next dropped back, and Day went into third place, with Martin going great guns, likewise Horne and Dyer. An unexpected incident subsequently ensued, Aldridge put on an electric spurt, and dashed off like a greyhound from a leash in front Shrubb. It was worth no more than a sprat in the ocean. Shrubb, as cool as a cucumber, was soon abeam of his opponent, and leaving him at every stride, finally came down the straight mile a gallant winner. He was loudly cheered.