WITH all three age groups weakened to some extent, Reading Athletic Club’s boys and young men competed well on the slopes of Butser Hill near Petersfield on Saturday in the season’s second Hampshire Cross Country League fixture.

Seven Reading competitors took part in the U13 3km race, undeterred by the rainy weather and the tough South Downs course.

Reading’s leading runner was Fraser Bradshaw, who moved through the field well, after his usual slow start, to finish 14th in a time of 12min 16secs.

Second home for Reading was Aidan Marshall, whose determined effort gained him 28th place in 12.37, and the scoring team was completed by Eli Babb, who showed he is returning to full fitness in finishing 38th, recording 12.55.

Reading’s total of 80 points gave them sixth place in the team competition. Just behind Babb at the finish was George Urwin-Mann, with a gutsy run for 39th place in 12.56.

Reading’s next finisher was Sam Newton, who showed promise in his first run for the club with a good effort for 54th place in 13.24, while Adam Tivey and Elliott McCarthy both kept going well in the difficult conditions to finish 57th and 65th with times of 13.41 and 14.02 respectively.

For the U15s in their 4km race, Laurie Baker had perhaps his best result yet for Reading with an excellent run to lead the team home in 22nd place with a time of 13.15.

Leon Bradshaw, although struggling in the second half of race, fought hard to finish in 30th place, recording 13.40, and the team was completed by Ben McCabe, whose determined run gained him 33rd place with 13.58. Like the U13s, Reading finished sixth in the team race.

Reading had only two athletes in the U17 6km race, but both ran well, with Nick Wiltshire fighting back well towards the finish to gain fourth place in a time of 21.42, and Ben Rollings showing improved form again with 14th position in 23.38.

Also on Saturday, three of Reading’s U15s ran in the English Schools Cup regional final at Sherborne in Dorset, with Mattie Raynor and Olly Moor finishing ninth and 14th, representing Willink, and Jack Webb in 15th place, running for Blue Coat.