The fact that Northern runners filled the leading four positions in the English Cross Country Championship at Alderley Park, Cheshire, on Saturday, is a striking testimonial to the standard of cross country running in the area, and it is fairly safe to say that never in the history of the race have the Northerners made such a clean sweep of individual honours. Yet there is another side to the medal which is scarcely so satisfactory. As collective forces the Northern clubs revealed themselves singularly impotent when ranged against the best of the Midlands and the South.
Birchfield Harriers resumed their winning way after their lapse last year, and it can admitted that their team work was infinitely superior to any of their rivals. The holders, Belgrave, had to be content with second place, and the defeat of the Londoners can be traced to the belated arrival of their fifth and sixth counters. Salford never at any time raised hopes of striking a blow for the North. G. W. Bailey, one of their strongest links, ran a long way below his usual form, but the weakness of the tail enders would have put them out of the running in any case. The Yorkshire champions, Sheffield United, failed to rise to the occasion, and the once mighty Hallamshire did not even finish a full team.
The field numbered 281. Soon after the breakaway the Northern champion, J. Potts (Saltwell), went to the front, and at two and a half miles was still the leading member of a bunch which included W. E. Eaton (Salford), F. Cummins (Cheltenham St. Gregory's), A. Burns (Elswick), S. Dodd (Wirral) and H. D, Clark (York). There was little change in the order at five miles, reeled off in 26min. 2sec. but in the second half of the race Potts definitely asserted his supremacy to score his second 'National' victory by 50 yards from Eaton, who was followed in by Burns and Dodd.
The Saltwell Harrier previously won the title in 1931, though he ran an altogether different race on that occasion, coming from the clouds in the last three miles after J. Winfield (Derby) appeared to have the contest well won.