Havering seal Essex League hat-trick

PUBLISHED: 10:30 20 January 2017

Havering's under-13 girls and boys at the latest Essex Cross-Country League meeting (pic Jane Hallam)

Havering's under-13 girls and boys at the latest Essex Cross-Country League meeting (pic Jane Hallam)


Cross-country athletes celebrate early

Havering's Alex Ford in action in the Essex Cross-Country League (pic Gary Howard)Havering's Alex Ford in action in the Essex Cross-Country League (pic Gary Howard)

There may still be one race to go, but some Havering members secured their Essex Cross-Country League titles with fine performances in Braintree at the weekend.

The under-17/under-20 women, the under-13 girls and, on an individual basis, Alex Ford in the under-13 boys’ competition, can all relax and enjoy the fact they have already triumphed overall.

The women have an unassailable lead after Jessica Mitchell’s brilliant form continued with her first league victory.

Kate O’Neill followed her home in second, just 11 seconds back, with Catherine Barker (12th) and Emily James (21st) completing the team victory.

Havering's Molly Sweetman in action in the Essex Cross-Country LeagueHavering's Molly Sweetman in action in the Essex Cross-Country League

The under-13 girls’ took second place on the day, with Sydney Foley leading them home in third place.

Natalie Sewell marked her club debut with an excellent fourth, while Annie Grannell was 12th and Hannah Yexley’s 18th completed the scoring foursome.

Also in action were Alice Atkins, Ava Poulson, Holly Bradley and Maddie Barker, filling 20th to 23rd places, while Jessie Collier was 28th, Rebecca O’Rourke 31st, Morgan Romain 34th and Rose Mears 36th.

Ford managed his third win of the season at under-13 level to put himself in an unbeatable position, supported by Matthew Blacklock (11th), Lenny Houston (15th) and Oliver Yexley (18th).

That left Havering just three points adrift of Southend and all but confirmed the runners-up spot.

The senior women had their best result of the season with a win as they look to regain top flight status.

Debbie Appleton was 11th on her first appearance of the season, with sister Jo Sullivan finishing in her highest place of 25th.

Joanna Reeves ran well for 36th on her club debut, with Lesley Gahagan 55th and Tracy O’Neill 67th.

Molly Sweetman had to settle for second in the under-15 girls’ race, but that has gone a long way to securing the individual title.

Lily Bath was seventh with her sister Molly in 16th and Kate Walker 23rd to bring the team home third.

The under-15 boys team finished third, their best of the season, with Alex Friend in 11th, Dom Jarvis 20th, Louis Berrett not far behind in 22nd and Ben Naish (29th) completing the scorers.

There were just two under-17 boys with Lewis Debenham finishing in a best-ever seventh and Oliver Bath also doing well in 11th.

But the senior men were decimated by ill health which saw their title hopes fall apart.

The only saving grace was Rob Warner, who secured the individual title after finishing second on the day, while under-20 James Stewart was 33rd.

Matt Bland was 64th in his first race of the season, while Kieran O’Hara was 70th, just holding off Garry Atkins in 73rd.

Another fine run by Steve Walker (88th) saw him complete the scoring team, with Graham Hogan (101st) and Tony Collins (124th) completing the Havering contingent.

The last match is at Basildon on February 11.

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