The long-standing supremacy of the North and Midlands in cross-country running was broken at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, on Saturday, when F. Close, of Reading, won the English Championship, and a Southern club, Belgrave Harriers (London), secured team honours.
Surrey A.C., winners in 1914, were the last Southern club to win the team title, and that year was the last in which South of England runners achieved the 'double.' Not for ten years, since Corporal W. M. Cotterell won Hereford in 1925, had a Southerner won individual honours.
Birchfield Harriers, of Birmingham, winners on 25 occasions, and holders for the past seven years, were humbled for only the second time since the war.
Close, the new champion, is a paper-mill worker at Reading. His victory completes a remarkable series wins, for he had previously won the South the Thames and Southern Counties' titles this season.
On Saturday he ran with great judgment, and his duel with the former steeplechase champion, G. W. Bailey (Salford), was a feature of the race.