Havering show girl power in Essex League
09:54 17 February 2017
Club clinches cross-country titles
Snowy Gloucester Park in Basildon proved a tough but pleasing backdrop for Havering in the final Essex Cross-Country League match of the season.
It has been an excellent season for Havering as they secured two team titles for the under-17/under-20 women and the under-13 girls.
It was a fourth victory in five races for the older girls as Jessica Mitchell also completed her fine season with a runners-up placing which put her second overall.
They already had the team title in the bag, but they emphasised their superiority as Mitchell was backed up by Kate O’Neill in third, while Sophie Rand was seventh.
Amy Baggs came home in 13th to complete the scorers, while Catherine Barker (14th) and Emily James (19th) showed Havering’s strength in depth.
The under-13s had already sealed their title, but still confirmed their dominance as their dozen finishers were led by Natalie Sewell in a superb third, while Sydney Foley (fourth) was second overall for the season.
Chloe Rand was a fine ninth, with Alice Atkins (13th) completing the scoring four.
Holly Bradley, Jessie Collier, Maddie Barker, Hannah Yexley and Freya Higginbottom finished between 23rd and 29th place, with Morgan Romain (31st), Rebecca O’Rourke (36th) and Hannah Johnson (37th) completing the dozen.
Alex Ford’s fourth individual victory gave him the overall title at and helped Havering’s under-13 boys to runners-up honours.
Matthew Blacklock was a fine third, as Sam Bradley (12th) and Alex Kerr (23rd) completed the scoring team, while James Bartlett (25th), Timi McDaniel (26th) and Jack Thomson (30th) also ran.
Molly Sweetman was second in the under-15 girls’ race, but clinched the overall title in style and was backed up by Lily Bath (12th) and Grace Dukelow (16th) as Lucy Priestley (26th) helped seal third overall.
The under-15 boys had their best day of the season, boosted by Harry Jones’ second place.
Alex Friend backed him up in eighth with Dom Jarvis (13th) and Ben Naish (20th) completing the team, while Henry Lay was 22nd and Reece Debenham 36th.
Sam Atkins led the under-17 boys with a fine fifth, while Lewis Debenham was 11th and Oliver Bath 17th.
And the men ended a successful campaign with one of their best turn-outs as 15 athletes toed the line.
Rob Warner was again the star as his fourth place on the day was enough for the individual title, while Ben Davis was sixth to become the first Havering athlete since 2000 to win the under-20 title. The previous winner was Warner!
Vet Steve Rand was a solid 17th to finish second overall among the veterans, with James Stewart (26th), Paul Grange (36th) and Euan Harlow (47th) completing the team.
Alfie Waithaka (53rd), Matt Bland (56th), Kieran O’Hara (75th), Gary Atkins (81st), Steve Walker (83rd), Jason Crispin (95th), Richard Rowe (108th), Tony Collins (131st) and Aidan Elmore (145th) also ran.
The senior women regained their Division One status as second place on the day ensured promotion.
Debbie Appleton was 13th, while sister Jo Sullivan was 31st and Claire Davies made a rare appearance to take 33rd as Lesley Gahagan (59th) completed the scoring and Tracy O’Neill finished 68th.
*Havering’s Dominic Alexandru, Callum Basinger, Thomas Greening and Gidea Park Primary pupil Teddy Matthews helped Essex under-11s win the Eastern Region Sportshall Championships.
The under-11 girls’ team, including Havering’s Stephanie Okoro, Tilly Canty and Charlotte Grundy also triumphed, while five others were in the under-13 teams.
Alex Critchell, Michael Okoro, Daragh Thomas and Patrick McLean-Tattan shone for the boys and Lola Kuponiyi for the girls.