Essex Cross Country Championships, Great Notley, 6 January 2018

Four individual medals, two of them gold, and two team titles made for a successful day at the Essex Cross Country Championships for the Under 17 and older age groups at a muddy Great Notley on Saturday.

A fantastic run by Ben Davis led the Under-20 Men's team home to a great gold medal. Davis matched the pace of Woodford's Ahmed Abdulle as the pair pulled away from the field. Ben made his move with half a mile to go and built up a lead that he eventually stretched to seven seconds to cross the line as county champion, to confirm his fine form ahead of his forthcoming England vest. James Stewart had a very good run to come home in sixth as Lewis Debenham 14th and Kieran O'Hara 16th both had exceptional runs to produce the first under 20 team gold medal for the club for many years.

The Under-17 Women's team have dominated the county scene all winter and with four finishers in the top six defended their county title by a comfortable margin at Great Notley.  Jess Mitchell and Kate O'Neill repeated their gold and silver medal honours from last year and with Molly Sweetman in a fine fourth and Sophie Rand  with her best county placing of sixth, with Catherine Barker 20th, the team title was never in doubt. 

The Senior Men's challenge for team medals was scuppered by injury and illness. Grant Twist marked his return to club colours with a strong run to take a superb second place behind international Adam Hickey - it was the club's best individual senior county result for over 30 years. With last year's bronze medallist Rob Warner missing his first county championships for twenty three years due to an ankle injury it was left to the others to fill the gap. Matt Bland ran well to take 34th place with Alfie Waithaka not far behind in 40th. John Whitehead 51st and Martin Chester 57th battled well through the mud with Graham Hogan completing the scoring team in 74th place. Robbie Cooman 78th , Steve Walker 105th , Gary Atkins 125th and Tony Collins 174th completed the squad.

Vicky Smith ran well for 12th in the Senior Women's race, with Jo Sullivan the only other club athlete to compete in 56th, and there were also only two club competitors in the Under-17 Men's event as Alex Friend in 14th and Louis Berrett in 29th ensured a club presence.

The six medal haul took the club tally to 14, with eight podium places from the earlier Under 13s, Under 15s and veteran's championships.  Next Saturday sees the return of league action as the fourth round Essex League race takes place at Writtle - the third round was cancelled at short notice by the local authority owners due to the course conditions.  

 

Link to Full Results

 

 

Under 17 Girls:  1st Jessica Mitchell 18:46; 2nd. Kate O'Neill 18:59; 4th - Molly Sweetman 19:56; 6th - Sophie Rand 20:27;  Team 1st - 17pts) 20th - Catherine Barker 24:54

 

Senior Women:  12th - Vicky Smith - 31:53; 56th - Jo Sullivan 37:29

 

Under 17 Men: 

14th - Alex Friend 18:21; 29th - Louis Berrett 20:45

Under 20 Men: 1st - Ben Davis 26:09; 6th James Stewart 28:10; 14th - Lewis Debenham 30:44; 16th - Kieran O'Hara 31:19 Team 1st - 37pts) 

 
Senior Men: 2nd - Grant Twist 41:16; 34th - Matt Bland M50 46:43; 40th Alfie Waithaka M35 47:31; 51st - John Whitehead 48:28; 57th - Martin Chester (M40) 49:05; 74th Graham Hogan 50:02 (Team 6th - 258pts) 78th - Robbie Cooman 51:08; 65th Steve Walker 53:09; 125th - Gary Atkins 54:43; 171st Tony Collins 60:29  

Link to  Full Results

Photos Wendy Gordon & Tracy O'Neill

Photos Kevin White