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Medals galore for Havering at Essex relays on home turf

PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 October 2017

Rob Warner anchors the senior team to victory

Rob Warner anchors the senior team to victory

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Havering’s magnificent young athletes were in imperious form at the Essex Cross-Country Relay Championships as they collected a host of medals.

Havering's winning senior team  Ben Davis, Paul Grange, Jamie Buckley-Stanton & Rob Warner Havering's winning senior team Ben Davis, Paul Grange, Jamie Buckley-Stanton & Rob Warner

Saturday’s event was held at Stubbers in Upminster and the Havering teams felt very at home as they won an impressive four gold, one silver and a bronze medal along the way.

The women’s under-17 team, fresh from their Southern silver medal two weeks ago, led from start to finish with a dominant display.

They posted the fastest three girls’ times of the day to comfortably defend their title.

Kate O’Neill led them off and brought the 40-plus starters home in 10mins 27secs – the second fastest overall.

Matthew Blacklock of Havering Matthew Blacklock of Havering

That gave them an 11-second lead and they never looked like relinquishing it as Jess Mitchell clocked the fastest time of the day of 10.06 and Molly Sweetman cruised round in 10.32 to win the gold.

The B team of Sophie Rand (11.08), Catherine Barker (12.24) and Grace Dukelow (11.32) were fifth, while Chloe Morter, Amelia Day and Angelica Thomson were 10th.

Katie Raffery and Charlotte Wright also competed but their team was one short.

There was gold and bronze medals for the under-13 girls, who also fielded three other teams on the day.

Start of the senior race at the Essex Cross-Country relays Start of the senior race at the Essex Cross-Country relays

The winning A team matched the under-17 girls by claiming the fastest three legs thanks firstly to Chloe Rand, whose 11.25 was the fastest by an under-13 and gave them a 27-second lead.

Stephanie Okoro’s 11.28 was the second fastest and extended the lead to over a minute, before Natalie Sewell brought them home ahead of Chelmsford.

Isobelle O’Connor gave the B team a solid start with her 11.54 opener and Maddie Barker (11.51) and Tilly Canty (12.07) earned a fine bronze medal.

The three other Havering teams, almost entirely made up of girls in their first cross-country, were ninth through Charlotte Grundy, Freya Long and Freya Higginbottom.

The Havering girls under-13 team Stephanie Okoro, Chloerand & Natalie Sewell The Havering girls under-13 team Stephanie Okoro, Chloerand & Natalie Sewell

Kate Ruane, Hollie Freeman and Ruby Lendon were 13th, while right behind them were Heidi Aylen, Katie Ennis and Isabelle Bartlett in 14th.

Meanwhile, there was a silver medal for the under-15 girls as Sydney Foley gave them a 25-second first-leg lead with her 10.52 effort.

Lily Bath kept them in front with 11.34, while Annie Grannell battled well on the anchor, only to be pipped by Basildon’s Megan Harris.

The B team of Ava Poulson (12.53), Morgan Romain (12.47) and Alice Atkins (12.25) were 10th with Jess James, Rebecca O’Rourke and Mary Lammas bringing the C team home in 13th.

Molly Sweetman of Havering AC Molly Sweetman of Havering AC

The highlight for the under-13 boys was Matthew Blacklock’s impressive opener of 10.14 which proved the fastest under-13 split by some 20 seconds.

Alex Rawle and Joshua Lee-Prime’s final cross-country outings for the club helped them to eighth place.

The inexperienced B team of Tom Greening, Joseph Baxter and Sam Wilkins were one place back, while Owen Fisher and Alex Kerr ran in an incomplete C team.

The senior men were pipped for gold last year, but made no mistake this time round as Ben Davis, Paul Grange, Jamie Buckley-Stanton and Rob Warner combined for the first club win in many years.

Havering's winning under-17 girls team Jess Mitchell, MollySweetman, Kate O'Neill Havering's winning under-17 girls team Jess Mitchell, MollySweetman, Kate O'Neill

Anchor man Warner was given a lead of a minute and a half to defend and despite a great effort by Southend international Adam Hickey he held on for gold.

Steve Rand gave the B team a good start, before James Stewart kept up the momentum and good legs from Alfie Waithana and Matt Bland saw them finish in sixth and the first B team to finish.

The experienced mixed senior quartet completed the medal tally with a fine victory.

Jason Lendon got them off to a good start with 15.04, a time Faye Fullerton matched on leg two as the fastest woman on the day.

The winning Havering mixed team Faye Fullerton, Jason Lendon, Martin Chester & Robyn Matson The winning Havering mixed team Faye Fullerton, Jason Lendon, Martin Chester & Robyn Matson

Robyn Matson’s third leg kept the team clear in front and Martin Chester’s anchor leg brought them home two minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.

The women’s team can look forward to a better season after fielding three teams on Saturday.

For the A team, Debbie Appleton, Ginte Bailey and Bella Woods helped them to fifth place, while the B team of Jo Sullivan, debutant Toni Marshall and Clare Davies finished a creditable 15th.

The C team of Angie Thompson, Juliet Ward and Clare Rudgley crossed the line in 27th of the 43 finishers on a fabulous day for Havering.

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