The thirty-sixth annual race to decide the English cross-country championship was held at Haydock Park, on Saturday. The weather was very gloomy, and for a short time a heavy shower, assisted by the strong wind, made the race unpleasant.
The distance of ten miles was staked out in four laps, and this included two-and-a-half miles of ploughed land. Nineteen clubs had entered, but the Polytechnic had early on decided not to journey north. George Wallach, the Scottish international was also absent owing to the spiking injury he received in the 'Northern.'
As the runners were dressing there came further sensations. It appeared that Hibbins, the holder of the individual championship, had missed his connection at Manchester, and it was a question, even in these days of fast motors, whether the Northamptonshire man could arrive in time. Then as Broughton Harriers were receiving the trainer's finishing touches, W. Scott, who ran second to Hibbins last year, dropped a bombshell by announcing that this would be his last race in the Broughton colours, and that henceforth he intended to carry the Salford Turkey red.
This was the last straw. Broughton were there, not for club honours, but for the sole purpose of giving the little runner a chance to win, and also get his position in the international, and he was going over to their biggest rivals. On went their clothes, and Scott, knowing he would not be allowed to start without his team, followed their example.
The race was delayed a little for the motor with Hibbins, already in racing attire, to arrive, and 173 runners trotted down to the starting pens. The start, which is the prettiest feature of these races, was a good one, and as the competitors came up the straight, Siddall and Rawlinson, of Warrington, were leading with J. T. Rimmer (a favourite dozen years back) pacing Hibbins. Over the plough Tolliday, of North Manchester who, it will be remembered, led in the junior at Lofthouse - went to the front, and, getting well away, came round the first lap with 20 yards' lead of a bunch, which included Holbrook, Hibbins, Greenway, Vose, Glover, and Murphy.
Team packing had already begun, and Hallamshire held a slight advantage over Warrington. Highgate were also prominent, but they missed the services of W. H. Brooks and A. G. Horne. In the next lap there was little change, Glover, Greenway, and Vose slipped back a little, Tolliday was still leading, and Hallamshire, through Cottrill and Aldous had gradually got a safe position with Albert Turner as their sixth man running thirtieth.
Passing the stand for the last lap Hibbins and Holbrook drew level with Tolliday, who was now falling back fast. Murphy was, fourth Glover seventh, and Cottrill twelfth. In the country Hibbins left Holbrook, and Greenway, the tall Banbury coming champion, left Glover, and went off to beat Vose, then Murphy, and finally Holbrook. Hibbins came sailing away up the straight, 120 yards ahead of Greenway, and although Glover was far below the form which won him the Yorkshire and Northern championships, we felt convinced that Hibbins is still England's best at the sport. Neaves is not consistent man, and once more disappointed his supporters.