Essex Cross Country League, Round 4, Colchester, 11th January 2020

Club teams have already sealed two league titles with one round to spare as the fourth round of the Essex Cross Country League took place at Colchester’s Hilly Fields on Saturday.

Grant Twist leads the senior men to victory & the league title (Kevin White)

The senior men confirmed their hat-trick of league titles after their third win in four fixtures gave them an unbeatable lead. A fantastic run by Grant Twist leading from gun to tape took individual victory supported by another great run from Rob Warner in fifth, keeping him in pole position for another individual title. Ben Davis had a very good run in seventh with Gavin Watts19th, Sam Atkins 21st and Barry Smith 28th all running well to complete the scoring six. They were closely followed by John Whitehead 28th and Kieran O’Hara 34th both vying for scoring places and there was a close tussle between Jamie Buckley-Stanton 38th and James Stewart 39th.

Matt Bland put in his usual good run in 51st to stay in contention for the M50 prize with Under 20 Louis Berrett in 67th, Martin Chester 70th and Steve Walker 93rd all making the top one hundred with Gary Atkins 109th and Darren Priestley 116th breathing down their necks. The squad was completed by Roy James 143rd, Paul Berrett 163rd after badly spraining his ankle and Tony Collins 165th. The Veteran men are also leading the table after finishing third but will need to see off a late strong challenge from Southend.

Charlie Howell & Matthew Blacklock 3rd & 4th for the title winning U15 boys (Kevin White)

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 & fourth and 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 short-handed as key athletes were in Coopers’ School action but a sixth place finish after three previous wins keeps them in a strong title position at the top of the table as Ruby Higgins, Maddie Barker and Tilly Canty packed well in fifth, sixth and seventh.

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 as Southend’s second win closed the gap on league leaders Havering. Oliver Taylor-Bush and Ryan Carroll were sixth & seventh and newcomer Findlay McLaren in 11th and Toby Johnson in 13th were the 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 and Sean Langan and Waleed Kabuye 40th & 44th.

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, and Abigail Swan in 9th and Rosie Warner 18th completing the team. Ruby Tillson was 26th and another debutant Maggie Smith 31st.

A third successive third place 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 15th February as the Senior Women, Under 15 Girls, Under 13 boys, Veteran men and Under 13 boys all head for round 5 at the top of their table hoping to add to the two league titles already in the bag.

South of England Indoor Championships, Lee Valley, 11th & 12th January

Club athletes took home four medals from Lee Valley at the weekend as the South of England Championships for Under13s, Under 15s and Under 17s kick-started the indoor season.

Stephanie Okoro U15G 300m gold (Tony Benton)

Stephanie Okoro took pride of place as she won Under 15 Girls 300m gold in her first competitive races at the event. After a heat win in a relaxed 42.39s Stephanie powered home in the last 100m of the final to clock a personal best of 41.74s, to win by almost a second. The versatile South of England pentathlon champion had earlier placed fifth in the long jump.

Paris King & Jacob Blanc – hurdles silver medallists (Tony Benton)

There were two silver medals in the 60m hurdles events on Saturday. Paris King improved her club Under 15 record to 9.21s in winning her semi-final after a win in her heat but she had to come from behind in the final under an hour later to claim silver in 9.25s. Paris was joined on the podium by Jacob Blanc who stepped up into the Under 17 age group in style, winning his hurdles heat in a swift 8.31s before being edged into silver in the final with an even faster 8.23s, not far short of the 8.17s club record which looks likely to be broken later in the indoor season. Jacob also made his 400m debut on Sunday posting a fine 53.35s to earn a final place but opted not to run as he was feeling unwell.

The fourth club medal went to rising star Al-Ameen Salaam who won Under 15 shot bronze with his first round 10.83m put. He would have added to the tally in the 200m after crossing line in bronze position only to be disqualified for a lane infringement.

Under 17 men:
60m: Ridwan Salaam 7.34s PB Heat & DQ semi; Denzel Achi 7.38s semi & 7.39s heat; Michael Okoro 7.75s PB.
200m: Heat: Michael Okoro 24.91s; 400m. Heat: Jacob Blanc 53.35s PB; 60m Hurdles: 2nd Jacob Blanc 8.23s PB (Heat: 8.31s). LJ: 5th Denzel Achi 5.98m

Under 15 Boys:
200m: Al-Ameen Salaam 24.55s semi & 24.82s Heat. Final DQ; 60m Hurdles: Heats: Dominic Alexandru 9.62s PB & Thomas Moran 9.86s PB; SP: 3rd Al-Ameen Salaam 10.83m PB

Under 13 Boys:
Heat: James Campbell 9.73s PB

Under 17 women:
60m: Karis Thomas 7.97s PB semi & 7.98s PB Heat
200m: Karis Thomas 26.60s semi & 26.74s Heat; Uche Okpalauko 26.67s PB semi & 26.91s heat: 400m. Heat: Olivia Boachie 60.05s PB; Alice Brown 64.66s

Under 15 Girls:
60m: Cassie Campbell 8.90s PB Heat; 200m: Cassie Campbell 29.06s PB Heat; 60m Hurdles: 2nd Paris King 9.25s (semi: 9.21s PB & Club record; Heat: 9.28s). Heat: Bethan Jarret 10.14s PB & semi 10.27s; 300m: 1st Stephanie Okoro 41.74s PB & 42.39s semi; LJ: Okoro 5th 4.75m

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