Essex Cross Country Championships, Day 2, Basildon, 4th January 2020


Three gold and two bronze medals at Basildon on Saturday added to the seven medals from Day 1 at Writtle before Christmas, made it a dozen medals from the Essex Cross Country Championships.

Bronze medals for the Under 17 Women started the medal roll. Sydney Foley was just short of a podium place but earned Essex selection for the Inter-Counties in March as she crossed the line in fourth. Ella Burgess (18th), Morgan Romain (19th) and Jessica James (21st) completed the scoring four to win team bronze, with Rebecca O’Rourke in 23rd. Jack Thomson was the only club Under 17 man on show in 32nd.

Kate O’Neill went one better than last year as she was an emphatic winner to take individual gold in the Under 20 Women’s race and Sophie Rand’s fourth-place earned her Inter-Counties selection alongside Kate. Grace Dukelow returned to club colours in ninth and Emily James’s 10th place ensured team gold for the quartet with Angelica Thomson next home.

Under 20 women’s winner Kate O’Neill (Gary Howard)

The Senior Women finished fourth as Morgan Campbell finished a fine tenth, with Robyn Matson in 24th and Clare Davies and Bella Woods in 34th and 35th completing the scorers. Jo Sullivan (69th) and Clare Rudgley (82nd) were also in action but Debbie Appleton had to drop out.

The Senior Men continued their dominance of the Essex cross country scene with a great victory to retain the county championship trophy for the second year. An excellent run by James Connor led the team home in third place and with powerful runs from Rob Warner in eighth and Grant Twist in ninth meant the club had three in the top ten.  They were backed up good runs from Ben Davis 14th and Under 20 Sam Atkins in 18th with a strong run from Gavin Watts completing the gold medal-winning team in 28th to give the club a comfortable 41 point margin over Woodford.

Senior bronze medallist James Connor on the first lap (Kevin White)

The club’s strength in depth showed with their second scoring six of Barry Smith 42nd James Stewart 53rd, John Whitehead 54th, Matt Bland 62nd, Steve Walker 102nd and Tony Pecoraro 122nd good enough to take ninth ahead of many good Essex clubs’ A teams. The 16 strong line up was completed by Graham Hogan 130th, Roy James 161st, Tony Collins 185th and Chris Coates 186th.

The winning scoring six senior men (LtoR: Rob Warner, Gavin Watts, Grant Twist, Ben Davis, James Connor, Sam Atkins) plus far-right seventh home Barry Smith. (Pic Peter Warner)


Under 17 Women:  4th Sydney Foley 19:51; 18th – Ella Burgess 25:06; 19th – Morgan Romain 25:11; 21st Jessica James 26:23 (Team 3rd – 62pts) 23rd Rebecca O’Rourke 29:26 

Under 20 Women:  1st Kate O’Neill 30:23; 4th – Sophie Rand 34:59; 9th – Grace Dukelow 42:25; 10th Emily James 44:47 (Team 1st – 24pts) 11th Angelica Thomson 49:39

Senior Women: 10th – Morgan Campbell 40:21; 24th – Robyn Matson 44:03; 34th – Clare Davies 45:23; 35th – Bella Woods 45:43 (Team 4th – 103pts) 69th – Jo Sullivan 52:11; 82nd – Clare Rudgley 55:27.

Under 17 Men: 32nd Jack Thomson 20:45

Senior Men: 3rd – James Connor M35 32:32; 8th – Rob Warner M35 34:06; 9th –  Grant Twist 34:12; 14th – Ben Davis 35:10; 18th Sam Atkins (U20) 35:29; 28th – Gavin Watts 36:04 (Team 1st – 80pts) 42nd – Barry Smith M40 37:12; 53rd James Stewart 28:16; 54th – John Whitehead 38:17; 62nd Matt Bland M50 39:04; 105th Steve Walker M50 41:26;  122nd Tony Pecoraro M55 42:50; (B Team 9th – 438pts)  130th Graham Hogan M40 43:05; 161st – Roy James M45 45:57  185th Tony Collins M40 48:13; 186th Chris Coates 48:21

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