Essex Cross Country Championships, Writtle College, 5 January 2019

Club teams came back from the second day of the Essex Cross Country Championships at a chilly Writtle College on Saturday with eight medals, three of them gold.

A strong run by James Stewart in third not only won him individual bronze but helped the Under 20 Men retain their team title. James was the only one of this year's scoring four from last year's winning quartet but the replacements did themselves proud with good runs from Tom Keevil in 5th, Sam Atkins one place back in 6th and Elliot Cordery 12th to bring home the trophy, while Kieran O'Hara completed the squad in 21st.

It had been nearly thirty years since the senior men had been crowned county champions but in a nail biting finish they claimed the title by six points, breaking Woodford Green's domination of the event.

Grant Twist led the team home with another powerful run which won him individual bronze and he was followed home by great runs from Rob Warner fourth and James Connor who was fifth on his club debut. Paul Grange was next home in 17th , and his kick over the last hundred metres took him past five opponents and helped the team clinch the title and relegate defending champions Woodford to team silver. Jamie Buckley-Stanton was next home in 23rd with the six-strong scoring B team completed by Gavin Watts in 42nd having only flown home from serving with HM Forces overseas the previous week.

The squad of sixteen were good enough to be the first B team of six home. Alfie Waithaka was just outside the scorers in 43rd with John Whitehead 61st, Barry Smith 67th, Matt Bland, who was the only athlete left from the last Havering winning team, in 83rd, Martin Chester 86th, and Tony Pecoraro 91st, completed the B team. The squad was rounded off by Steve Walker 117th, Jason Crispin 152nd, Roy James 180th and Tony Collins 193rd.

The senior women claimed team silver as the appearance of international Jessica Judd pushed the returning Lauren Deadman into silver position. Vicky Smith was next home, repeating her 12th position from last year, and Morgan Campbell and Debbie Appleton were the others in the scoring four in 18th & 19th, as Basildon took the team title. Robyn Matson (25th), Clare Davies (38th) and Jo Sullivan in 44th completed the line-up.

Jessica Mitchell and Kate O'Neill won gold and silver in the Under 20 women's race, repeating their placings in last year's U17 race. Sophie Rand was a  good sixth but the lack of a fourth scorer meant no team medals.

Alex Friend's tenth place led home the trio of Under 17 Men with Harry Jones in 12th and Luke Chester (31st) missing out on a chance of team medals as they were one man short of a scoring four.

Next weekend sees round 4 of the Essex Cross Country League hosted by Orion Harriers at Epping Forest and club teams will be aiming to build on their strong start to the winter season.



Link to Full Results





Under 20 Women:  1st Jessica Mitchell 30:05; 2nd. Kate O'Neill 31:23; 6th - Sophie Rand 34:49


Senior Women: 2nd - Lauren Deadman 37:04; 12th - Vicky Smith - 40:55; 18th - Morgan Campbell 42:06; 19th - Debbie Appleton 42:20 (Team 2nd - 51pts) 25th - Robyn Matson 43:21; 38th - Clare Davies 45:56; 44th - Jo Sullivan 46:41


Under 17 Men: 10th - Alex Friend 17:59; 12th - Harry Jones 18:08; 31st - Luke Chester 20:15

Under 20 Men: 3rd - James Stewart 28:31; 5th - Tom Keevil 28:39; 6th - Sam Atkins 28:41; 12th - Elliot Cordery 29:56 Team 1st - 26pts) 21st - Kieran O'Hara 32:23  

Senior Men: 3rd - Grant Twist 32:41; 4th - Rob Warner M35 33:20; 5th - James Connor M35 33:25; 17th - Paul Grange M35 35:05; 23rd - Jamie Buckley-Stanton 35:16; 42nd - Gavin Watts 36:27 (Team 1st - 94pts) 43rd Alfie Waithaka M40 36:30; 61st - John Whitehead 37:25; 67th - Barry Smith 37:41; 83rd - Matt Bland M50 38:22; 86th - Martin Chester M45 38:44; 91st Tony Pecoraro M55 39:00; (B Team 10th - 431pts) 117th Steve Walker M50 40:47; 152nd - Jason Crispin M35 42:42; 180th - Roy James M45 45:27  193rd Tony Collins M40 47:54  

Link to  Full Results

Photos: Kevin White (& some Peter Warner)