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Havering members produce another superb medal haul at Essex XC Championships

PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 January 2018

Havering's James Stewart, Ben Davis, Lewis Debenham and Kieran O'Hara celebrate under-20 gold at the Essex Championships (pic Wendy Gordon)

Havering's James Stewart, Ben Davis, Lewis Debenham and Kieran O'Hara celebrate under-20 gold at the Essex Championships (pic Wendy Gordon)

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Havering members combined for four individual medals and two team titles on a successful day at the Essex Cross-Country Championships at Great Notley.

Havering's Ben Davis on his way to under-20 gold (pic Kevin White) Havering's Ben Davis on his way to under-20 gold (pic Kevin White)

A fantastic run by Ben Davis led the under-20 men to a great team gold as he matched the early pace of Woodford’s highly-rated Ahmed Abdulle as the pair pulled away from the field.

Davis made his move with half a mile to go and built up a lead that stretched to seven seconds as he was crowned champion, ahead of his forthcoming England vest.

James Stewart had a very good run in sixth as Lewis Debenham (14th) and Kieran O’Hara (16th) had exceptional runs to produce the club’s first under-20 team gold for many years.

The under-17 girls have dominated the county scene all winter and with four finishers in the top six defended their county title by a comfortable margin.

Havering's Grant Twist on his way to senior silver (pic Kevin White) Havering's Grant Twist on his way to senior silver (pic Kevin White)

Jess Mitchell and Kate O’Neill repeated their gold and silver medals from last year, while Molly Sweetman took a fine fourth and Sophie Rand had a best county placing of sixth, with Catherine Barker 20th.

The senior men’s challenge was scuppered by injury and illness but Grant Twist marked a return to club colours with a strong run to take a superb silver behind international Adam Hickey – the club’s best individual senior county result for over 30 years.

With 2017 bronze medalist Rob Warner missing his first county championships for 23 years due to an ankle injury it was left to Matt Bland (34th), Alfie Waithaka (40th), John Whitehead (51st), Martin Chester (57th) and Graham Hogan (74th) to complete the scoring squad.

Robbie Cooman (78th), Steve Walker (105th), Gary Atkins (125th) and Tony Collins (174th) were also in action on the day.

Vicky Smith ran well to finish 12th in the senior women’s race, with Jo Sullivan in 56th, while Alex Friend (14th) and Louis Berrett (29th) were the only club representatives in the under-17 boys’ race.

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 Essex League fourth round race takes place at Writtle College. The third round was cancelled at short notice by the local authority owners due to the course conditions.

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