Big names set for Pontefract Park

athletics: The Northern Cross Country Championships take place at Pontefract Park today with Yorkshire athletes expected to be prominent in all races.

Leeds City defend their men’s team title and it is difficult to see any team seriously challenging them. It would be a 10th successive title for the Leeds club.

Apart from James Walsh, who defends his Midlands title at Nottingham, and Dave Webb, they are at full strength led by international James Wilkinson, the in-form Simon Deakin and their first man home in the Yorkshire championships, Alan Buckley.

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Triathlon stars Alistair and Jonathon Brownlee (Bingley) are expected to be in the line-up. First and second in the recent Yorkshire championships, they can expect much tougher opposition at Northern level but should be in the leading group. Steve Vernon (Stockport) is favourite for the individual title.

Leeds City marathon runner Susan Partridge defends her women’s title and could be challenged by Lizzie Adams, who leads the Hallamshire team.

Bingley, led by Emma Clayton and Victoria Wilkinson, defend their team title.

Jenny Walsh (Spenborough), who beat all the seniors in the Yorkshire championships, is strongly fancied in the junior women’s race while Marc Scott (Richmond and Zetland) and Mark Shaw (New Marske) are strong contenders in the junior race.