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Superb Havering haul at Essex Championships

10:00 13 January 2017

Havering's under-17 girls celebrate their team gold (pic Maria Rand)

Havering's under-17 girls celebrate their team gold (pic Maria Rand)

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Cross-country teams impress once again

Havering's Jess Mitchell in action at the Essex Cross-Country Championships (pic Gary Howard)Havering's Jess Mitchell in action at the Essex Cross-Country Championships (pic Gary Howard)

Five individual medals and two team podium places made for a successful day at the Essex Cross-Country Championships for Havering’s under-17 and older age groups at Claybury on Saturday.

The under-17 girls’ squad were again the cream of the crop with two individual medals and overall team victory.

In-form Jess Mitchell finished strongly to claim gold and was close to under-20 winner and English Schools’ 1,500m gold medallist Jodie Judd.

Kate O’Neill was less than 30 seconds behind to win silver and theirindividual medals were backed up by good runs by Sophie Rand (eighth) and Catherine Barker (14th) as Havering took team gold to leave them poised for the league title.

Havering's Ben Davis in action in the under-20 race at the Essex Cross-Country Championships (pic Gary Howard)Havering's Ben Davis in action in the under-20 race at the Essex Cross-Country Championships (pic Gary Howard)

The under-17 boys’ team bronze came courtesy of good runs from Sam Atkins (10th), Lewis Debenham (16th), Oliver Bath (24th) and Oliver Morter (28th) to repeat the podium place that almost the same squad achieved last year – as Atkins replaced, Ben Davis who moved up effortlessly to the under-20s.

Sarah Wilson repeated her bronze medal from last year in the under-20 women’s event and earned automatic Essex selection for the Inter Counties Championships, while Amy Baggs placed a fine fifth.

Georgia Phillips was10th, but the Havering squad lacked a fourth runner and missed out on a podium place.

It’s a long time since junior and senior men have medalled at the same county championships but Davis and Rob Warner came home with bronze from their respective races.

Havering's Rob Warner won senior bronze at the Essex Cross-Contry Championships (pic Gary Howard)Havering's Rob Warner won senior bronze at the Essex Cross-Contry Championships (pic Gary Howard)

A strong determined run earned Davis a very good third place in the under-20 men’s race, after vying for the lead on the first lap and falling back slightly in the next two laps.

Davis had enough of a lead over fourth place to claim his medal, while James Stewart ran well to take 13th and Kieran O’Hara pushed hard to come home in 17th, as Havering missed out on team success due to being one runner short.

Meanwhile, Warner’s great season goes on as he ran with the lead gruop on the firs lap and stayed on the pace as the tempo increased, forcing his way up to third and nearly catching second.

Martin Chester was next home for Havering in 83rd place, with the ever-improving Gary Atkins in 97th. Steve Walker ran well in 116th with Richard Rowe 141st and Tony Collins 152nd completing the team.

Havering’s senior women finished seventh after a good run by Lydia Hallam, who led the squad home in seventh place in her first senior championships.

Vicky Smith was 17th, while Debbie Appleton had her first outing of the winter to finish 23rd, ahead of sister Jo Sullivan (52nd), who made up the scoring quartet as Tracy O’Neill finished 104th.

The seven-medal haul, added to the earlier under-13 and under-15 medals, brought the club’s tally across the two days of the championship to an impressive 13.

Havering’s haul consists of four gold, five silver and four bronze and is the best cross-country total at county level for a few years.

The top six in each age group earn Essex selection for the Inter Counties, ensuring the club will be well represented at Leicester in March.

* Havering’s Lauren Deadman added to her collection of international vests when finished 25th for Great Britain in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International on Saturday.

“I wasn’t very pleased with my run, but it’s always a great feeling to put on a GB vest!” said Deadman.

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