IN what proved to be the tightest race of the day at the East District Cross-Country League at Stirling on Saturday, Team Borders U17 Women prevailed over Livingston on countback - both teams finishing on 31 points from their first three runners home.

But the Borders girls got the nod by virtue of their higher placed third counter.

Racing over 3.3km on the undulating, mud-strewn course in a combined race with the U15 Girls, Charlotte Clare finished strongly to lead the Borders team home with her 8th place finish in 13.11.

Her Moorfoot clubmates Mairi Wallace and Beth Hobbs were not far behind and locked together in a private battle for 11th and 12th, recording the same time of 13.19.

With Edinburgh finishing only one point further behind as third team, a very close contest for the league title looks likely in the season ahead.

The day’s racing kicked off in fair conditions overhead but very quickly deteriorated underfoot even from the impact of the relatively lightweight Under 11s, the course turning into a slippery sloppy mudfest which was ankle deep in places.

Washing machines across the East of Scotland would be severely challenged that evening.

The Under 11 Boys raced over 1.65km and some good packing saw Team Borders finish 2nd on 34 points, eight points adrift of winners Central.

Thomas Hilton (Moorfoot) finished fast to pick up several places in the home stretch for 5th place in 6.26. Ross Christie (Gala) was 14th in 6.41 and Fionn Hollingsbee (Moorfoot) 15th in 6.42.

Chirnside’s Zico Field provided close support in 17th in the same time.

Unfortunately a shortage of Under 11 girls meant an incomplete team in that race for Team Borders.

The Under 13s raced over 2.4km and Emily Carrick-Anderson (Moorfoot) was first home of the Borders girls in 16th in 12.03. She was closely followed by Gala’s Anna Fairclough 19th in 12.13 and Christina McGorum (Moorfoot) 21st in 12.19.

That placed the Borders girls 4th team behind very strong Fife and Falkirk outfits, with Central in third.

The forecast heavy rain materialised right on cue as the U13 Boys stood on the start line but that didn’t deter them from some determined efforts, in particular from Ewan Christie (Gala) who had an excellent run for a close 4th in 9.59. Only two seconds separated 2nd, 3rd and 4th at the line. Supporting Ewan to secure third place for the team on countback from Central were James Clare (Moorfoot) in 17th in 10.57 and Cameron Rankine (Gala) 20th in 11.00.

Unfortunately there was a second incomplete team in the Under 15 Boys race over 3.3km but Gala’s Gregor Collins had a good outing for 6th in 11.55.

Finally, the Under 17 men’s team secured 2nd place behind Fife over their challenging two-lap 6km course.

Gala’s Yousuf Khursheed was the Borders’ top individual finisher on the day with his excellent 3rd place in 21.18 and he was supported by clubmate Lewis Tharme, 17th in 22.43 and Craig Angus (Moorfoot) 19th in 23.05.