READING Athletic Club's Under 15 boys finished in ninth place in difficult conditions at the National Cross Country Relay Championships in Mansfield on Saturday, with the U13 boys claiming 19th and the injury-hit U17 men coming 58th.

The club's U17 women finished 24th and the U15 girls 56th.

In the U15 boys' 3x2km race, Reading's strong team were undaunted by the challenging Mansfield course which had been made more difficult by stretches of mud churned up by previous races.

A peculiarity of the Mansfield course is because the starting point is different from the handover position, the first stage is some 40 metres shorter than the other two, probably worth eight seconds or so.

Ollie Craggs coped well with the jostling on the start line, and proceeded to finishing 16th in a time of 7m 00secs.

Oli Snoxall (7.21) and Chris Parker (7.13) took Reading to ninth at the finish, only 25 seconds behind the winners.

For Reading's B team, Aidan Marshall opened with a good 7.53 effort for 86th place, and Adam Methven's determined 8.06 on stage two took the team up to 64th before Adam Tivey's gutsy 8.39 gained another two places for a finishing position of 62nd.

For Reading's U15 girls in their 3x2km race, Ella Newman took 32nd in a time of 8.01, handing over to Lydia Godfrey who ran well for 8.45 in 34th position, before finally Jemima Crocker's solid 9.38 gave the team 56th place.

Talia Painting for Reading's incomplete B team ran a good 8.56 for 95th place on the opening stage, and Lola Batt also ran well with her 9.22 taking the team to 87th at the end of stage two.

Reading's U13 boys ran bravely in what was probably the worst of the weather.

Samuel Lindsey-Halls competed well on the first stage to finish 27th in a time of 7.31, and Josh Smith hung on doggedly to 28th place, recording 8.10.

Maddox Gillas' excellent effort of 7.38 then brought Reading through to 19th place at the finish.

For Reading's incomplete B team, Jacob Sheikh ran well on the opening stage, recording 8.08 for 67th place, and George Godfrey's resolute running with a time of 8.55 left the team in 72nd place at the end of stage two.

Naomi Harris ran a splendid 9.13 for Reading's U17women on the first leg of their 3x2.5km race to come in fifth.

Renee Whalley did her best on stage two with 10.55, but could not avoid dropping to 22nd place, and finally Alannah Chadwick's solid 10.57 brought Reading home in 24th.

Reading's U17 men's squad was hit by injury and unavailability, but Mattie Raynor competed well on the opening stage of their 3x3km race with a 10.10 clocking for 48th place, before Laurie Baker's determined 11.10 and Rohan Brooks's encouraging 11.22 gave the team a final position of 58th.

Meanwhile inexperienced Isaac Mileham ran the opening stage for an incomplete B team, finishing 103rd in 13.00.

In the junior men's race contested over 3km, Reading finished 15th out of 44 teams, with Shreyas Kanyady (9.31), Eddie Steveni (9.24) and Sam Rodda (9.42) all running well.

The senior race was run over 5km, with Luc Jolly leading off with a time of 17.42.

Captain David Lewis (18.52), Ed Stockdale (18.57) and Mark Booth (18.24) then ensured the team finished in 40th out of 161 teams.