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Havering revel over the Hilly Fields to secure early Essex Cross-Country League titles

PUBLISHED: 14:30 17 January 2020

Havering's  Charlie Howell & Matthew Blacklock 3rd & 4th for the title winning U15 boys

Havering's Charlie Howell & Matthew Blacklock 3rd & 4th for the title winning U15 boys

Archant

Havering AC are bossing the Essex Cross-Country League this winter and after four of the five races, they have already sealed two titles.

Havering's Grant Twist leads the way at Hilly FieldsHavering's Grant Twist leads the way at Hilly Fields

Colchester's Hilly Fields was the venue for race four and the senior men confirmed their hat-trick of league titles after their third win of the season.

A fantastic run by Grant Twist, leading from gun to tape, saw him claim the individual victory, supported by another fine race by Rob Warner who kept himself in pole position for the overall title.

Ben Davis came home in seventh place, with Gavin Watts 19th, Sam Atkins 21st and Barry Smith 28th completing the scoring six.

They were closely followed by John Whitehead and Kieran O'Hara in 28th and 34th, just outside the scoring places.

There was a close tussle between Jamie Buckley-Stanton and James Stewart who finished 38th and 39th.

Matt Bland put in his usual good run in 51st to stay in contention for the M50 prize, while under-20 Louis Berrett was 67th, Martin Chester 70th and Steve Walker 93rd.

The veteran men are also leading their league after finishing third, but they will need to see off a late challenge from Southend.

The under-15 boys are also in an unbeatable position after placing second to add to their three victories.

Charlie Howell and Matthew Blacklock were a fine third and fourth respectively, as 11th-placed Owen Fisher and Max Robbins in 15th were the other scorers.

Finley Wolton (17th), Dan Peters (20th) and Charlie Burgess (23rd) were not far apart and Lewis Edwards (31st) and Archie Winney (34th) also closed in.

The under-15 girls were left shorthanded as key athletes were in action for Coopers Coborn School, but a sixth-place finish after three previous wins keeps them in a strong title position after Ruby Higgins, Maddie Barker and Tilly Canty packed well in fifth, sixth and seventh.

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The senior women also have a commanding lead at the top of the table, despite a fourth-place finish to add to their three victories.

Ginte Bailey's fourth place led the squad home and Bella Woods was a good 14th, while Clare Davies (30th) and Jo Sullivan (58th) also scored and Tracy O'Neill was 77th.

The under-13 boys' title will be decided at the final round after Southend's second win closed the gap on league leaders Havering.

Oliver Taylor-Bush and Ryan Carroll were sixth and seventh and newcomer Findlay McLaren in 11th and Toby Johnson in 13th were the other scorers.

A good turnout saw Daniel Lammas (15th) and Nathan Hart (18th) in the top 20, with Alfie Geeves (22nd), Zack Higgins (26th), Joseph Gray (31st), Sean Langan (40th) and Waleed Kabuye (44th) completing the squad.

The under-13 girls were once again runners-up to unbeaten champions Chelmsford and will finish the season in second.

New recruit Leila Jones was an impressive third on her debut just a few days after her 11th birthday, with Charlotte Evans one place behind, as Abigail Swan in ninth and Rosie Warner 18th completed the scoring team.

Ruby Tillson was 26th and another debutant Maggie Smith came home in 31st place.

A third successive third-place finish for the under-17/under 20 women keeps them in third.

Grace Dukelow, Morgan Romain, Rebecca O'Rourke and Emily James all finished between 18th and 25th.

The remaining titles will be decided at Discovery Country Park, Braintree on February 15.

Next weekend sees young athletes in action for their district teams at the Essex Schools Championships at Writtle, when places in the county team for the English Schools Championships are at stake.

As always the form book is no guide in this event as the age groups are different to those used in the usual club cross country events.

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