LUDLOW Runners hosted a record field of 222 finishers at High Vinnals for the second race of the 2019 Herefordshire Summer Off Road League cross country series.

The challenging and hilly forest course yielded a tight finish in the team competition as Builth and District RC triumphed by a single point from Croft Ambrey.

For the second successive race, Builth’s reigning league champion Jonny Pugh ran a solo run at the front of the field to win with some comfort.

Hereford Couriers’ former league champion Matt James was second, with 53-year-old Builth veteran Mike Pfeiffer holding off MonRoss Trailblazers' Gavin Jones to claim third in an intense sprint finish.

Builth’s three male runners all finished in the top eight places and that, combined with 62nd and 67th placed finishes for their two female runners, narrowly secured the team spoils on 141 points.

Croft Ambrey’s Katie Ayers, running in only her second league race, dominated the women's race to win by a margin of more than a minute, finishing 40th overall.

Wye Valley’s Jodie Newell determinedly worked her way through the field to finish second, 51st overall, with Ledbury Harriers’ Holly Gourley third and 58th overall.

Ayers’ forceful display helped Croft Ambrey finish just a point behind Builth, supported by Mark Lamonby in sixth, Gareth Leek in tenth, Toby Austin in 11th and Hannah Fletcher in 75th.

Wye Valley stayed in contention with a third-place finish, a further 15 points adrift, thanks to Sam Mayglothling (ninth), Christian Jones (12th), Steve Flowers (17th), Newell (51st) and Laura Tootell (68th).

At the halfway stage of the four-race series, Croft Ambrey still hold a strong lead of 51 points over Builth with Wye Valley a further nine points behind in third.