Strong Leeds look to hit back

LEEDS CITY bid for the National Cross Country title on their home course at Roundhay Park tomorrow.

Winners of this prestigious title four times since 2003, Leeds were beaten into third last year by Newham and Essex and Bedford AC.

They are looking to regain their crown despite losing their Yorkshire title last weekend.

Midlands champion James Walsh, Alan Buckley, Simon Deakin Martin Hilton and Darran Bilton, all missing last week, return and Leeds are hoping to have former northern champion Dave Webb in their line up.

Webb recently made a successful marathon debut, running 2:15:42 in Seville, and whether he competes tomorrow depends on how well he has recovered.

Chris Birchall, the top Leeds runner last week, Mike Burrett and Adam Osborne will all be challenging for a place in the six counters.

Mark Buckingham (Holmfirth) scored a thrilling win over Longwood's Andrew Pearson in the Yorkshires and both are expected to be prominent tomorrow.

James Wilkinson, winner of the Northern title, aims to add another medal to his growing list in the junior age group and he could also lead a strong Leeds City squad to team medals.

Carl Smith, Mike Williams and Dale Worton backed up Wilkinson superbly to win the Northern team title. They in action again along with Joe Townsend, Michael Salter and Geoff Belcher

The women's race, which includes Paula Radcliffe among its former winners, sees Hallamshire's Hatti Dean defending her title.

Dean has been in top form since Christmas and missed the Yorkshire Championship to focus on retaining her National crown. Yorkshire and Northern champions Hallamshire, third last year, will again be in the hunt.

The start and finish are on Soldiers Field with the first race at 11am.

Timetable

U-15 Boys: 11am (4.5k); U-17 Women: 11.20am (5k); U-20 Women: 11.45pm (6K); U-13 Girls: 12.10pm (3k); U-17 Men: 12.25pm (6k); U-15 Girls: 12.55pm (4k); U-20 Men: 1.15pm (10k); U-13 Boys: 2pm (3k); Senior Women: 2.15pm (8k); Senior Men: 3pm (12k).

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