THEY may have been on club duty and representing different clubs at that, but youngsters Gus Withers and George Elliott ensured Eastwood School had two winners at the latest round of the Essex Cross-Country League.
After both missed the second round of action while on school duty, the pair came back to take powerful victories at Chelmsford’s Hylands Park.
Withers was a dominant winner in the under-13 boys race while Elliott didn’t have it all his own way in the under-15 boys race, eventually shrugging off West Suffolk’s Ben Eames in the closing stages to wrap up the win.
Behind Withers in the under-13 boys’ race, Southend’s Toby Wright had to settle for third after losing a sprint for the line to Colchester & Tendring’s Max Williams, while strong packing from Basildon’s Mitchel Cox (seventh), Mason Webb (eighth) and James Perkins (11th) ensured the team were convincing victors. Southend’s Mitchell Lawrence was ninth.
West Suffolk’s Eames split Chelmsford AC’s Elliott and his Southend AC rival Laurence Willmore in the under-15 boys’ race, with Elliott kicking clear in the final 400m and Willmore coming in third.
Max Jones had his best run in the under-15 age group with a sixth placed finish, one spot ahead of team-mate Daniel Ashley and with Christian Gray in ninth and Ben Haynes 13th, Basildon sealed their second of three team wins on the day.
Southend’s Adam Jordan was eighth.
There was a great run by Benfleet’s Sinead Clark in the under-13 girls race as she was next home after run-away winner Khai Mhlanga.
Clark’s team-mate Megan Richardson was fifth, one place behind Basildon’s Niamh Smith.
For the second league match in a row, Jodie Judd (Chelmsford AC) was denied victory by an athlete guesting in the race.
A week earlier the Canvey teenager had been beaten by Sophie Tooley (West Suffolk) and this time round it was Alice Newcombe who reeled Judd in to take the win.
Isobel Ives (Basildon AC) maintained her good form with a third placed finish while Benfleet’s Victoria Hiscock was fourth.
Another Basildon athlete, Jemima Walker, ran well for fifth place, Millie Smith (Chelmsford) was sixth and Kiera Tippett, running for the first time since switching clubs from Chelmsford to Basildon, was eighth.
Gemma Holloway found herself again beaten by Cambridge & Coleridge’s Claire Wilson in the under-17/20 women’s race, while Basildon were once again the dominant force in the team standings.
Alice Perkins led them home in fourth place, with Jade Peel (eighth), Maisie Jones (ninth) and Eleanor Johnson (10th) all ensuring all their scoring team were inside the top 10.
Basildon’s Adam Houchell again run well for third place in the under-17 men’s race, with Southend AC’s Ben Franklin and Rob Frith in fourth and fifth respectively.
Steve Hancock was 10th and Joe Ray 21st at Southend again won the team event in this age group.
Charlotte Peppiatt had a superb run in the senior women’s race, with the Benfleet RC athlete coming home in third place. Behind her Kerry Holland (Southend, sixth) and Kirsty Tydeman (Basildon, ninth) both picked up their best league finishes of the season.
The senior men’s race produced a thrilling finish between West Suffolk’s Macauley Deco and Havering’s Hoseah Gikungu with Deco edging the spring.
Grant Webb (Basildon) was the first south Essex athlete home, finishing in 13th place.