There has been much anger among the athletics fraternity at the omission of Belgrave's Phil Wicks and Twickenham-based Scott Overall from Britain's senior men's team for the European cross country championships in Dublin on Sunday after finishing fourth and fifth in the trial race at Liverpool last month.

Belgrave official Alan Mead summed up the feelings with: "We've seen some unfair UKA selection in the past but the announcement of the UK men's team for Dublin takes the biscuit.

"With six slots available for the European Cross Country Championship, our own Phil Wicks and Blackheath's Scott Overall (who lives in Twickenham) finished in fourth and fifth qualifying places in the trial and were well into the action during the race.

"Incredibly they have been left out of the squad! In fact the selected Andy Vernon only squeezed past Phil by three seconds at the end of the race and our man believes that bearing in mind the muddy going (not his favoured surface) it was one of his best ever cross country runs."

Mead went on: "UKA have named a team that only goes down to third qualifier in the trial and have brought in Mo Farah (expected), Chris Thompson and Andrew Lemoncello. The latter two haven't even run cross country in recent times.

"We've nothing against these quality runners but if UKA are using road form (over a mere five kilometres in Thompson's case), then why haven't they taken note of the recent Great South 10 miler where both Wicks and Overall were well to the fore and Thompson was in their wake."

Mead commented bitterly: "This isn't the first time that these two have suffered at the hands of the selectors. No wonder runners turn their backs on our sport and look to triathlon as a means of representing their country."