KATIE Brough was a convincing winner of the senior women’s race in the first match of the Manchester Area Cross Country League season on Saturday.

The Vale Royal Athletics Club star held off the challenge of Trafford’s Jackie Fairchild to claim victory at Heaton Park, her maiden outing of the campaign.

After climbing up the finishing straight, the 31-year-old maintained a narrow lead.

Kate Titlow, also in Vale Royal colours, was sixth in the same race, while Jacky Thorn was a class winner among the women’s over 55s.

Mary Tavener placed just outside the top 100 to help the Knights Grange-based outfit to tenth overall in the team table. 

For the men, Rob Olliver led Vale Royal’s charge with a top 50 finish followed closely by Steve Caldwell.

With six runners counting – veterans Craig Sephton, Tony Archer, James Edwards and John Clarke completing the list – they were ranked just outside the top 20 teams.