Ipswich JAFFA win first race in the 53-12 Cross Country League at Writtle

Andrew Rooke, on his way to victory at the Coastal 10, won the first race in the 53-12 Cross Country

Andrew Rooke, on his way to victory at the Coastal 10, won the first race in the 53-12 Cross Country League last Sunday. Picture: JAMES AGER - Credit: James Ager

Ipswich JAFFA have dominated the 53-12 Cross Country League in recent seasons, and that trend looks like continuing this winter.

Daniel King, of Colchester Harriers, on his way to seventh spot at Writtle

Daniel King, of Colchester Harriers, on his way to seventh spot at Writtle - Credit: Archant

JAFFA have a tremendous pedigree in this competition, having won the inaugural League back in 1990 when it was known as the Today’s Runner North-Essex League.

They went on to win the national title that season, against all the regional winners, and continued to dominate during the first half of the 1990s.

The first meeting in this season’s six-race series was held over a testing five-mile course at Writtle College last Sunday, organised by Springfield Striders, and JAFFA topped both the men’s and ladies’ team sections to take an early lead in the competition.

The defending champions filled two of the top three places in the men’s race, and two in the top three of the ladies’ category, although the individual winners came from elsewhere.


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Former JAFFA runner Andrew Rooke, running for Hadleigh Hares, led home a field of 329 senior runners.

Rooke has had a good year. His wins on the road have included the Framlingham 5, Woodbridge 10K, Framlingham 10K and Felixstowe Coastal 10,

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Robert Chenery was his closest challenger on Sunday in second, followed by JAFFA team-mate Jonathan Ling in third.

The top five were completed by the Harwich Runners double act of Robert Reason and Steve Cooper. The latter was also the leading veteran.

Tom Rehal, on his club debut for Tiptree Road Runners, impressed in sixth (the highest-placed Tiptree male athlete for many years), while international race walker Daniel King was Colchester Harriers’ leading performer in seventh.

Witham Running Club’s Rachel Sweatt triumphed in the ladies’ race, finishing ahead of the JAFFA duo of Laura Thomas and George Humphreys.

On the road, Sweatt had won the Pleshey & Essex Half-Marathon in 1hr 25mins 49secs in September.

Under-17 athlete Hannah Watson, fresh from an impressive run for Colchester Harriers at the previous day’s Essex League meeting at Horseheath, took fourth spot, with another youngster, Hadleigh Hares’ Emma Mortimer, in fifth.

The second meeting is this Sunday, to be hosted by Harwich Runners at Ramsey (juniors start at 10am, seniors at 10.45am).

The other races in the League are at Colchester (November 26), Halstead (December 10), Ipswich (January 14) and Hadleigh (February 18).

The supporting junior race at Writtle saw JAFFA again come out on top (49 points) from defending champions Colchester & Tendring (49) and Colchester Harriers (67).

JAFFA’s Poppy Gaunt and Springfield’s Dylan Robins were first in the under-11 age groups, with JAFFA’s Thomas Southgate first in the under-13 boys’ race.

The CATS had a one-two-three in the under-13 girls’ section, with Erin Rogers leading home team-mates Rachel Sandercock and Emily White.

Matthew Brayshaw was also a CATS winner in the under-15 boys, with Harriers’ Milly Presland the fasest in the equivalent girls’ category.

The older under-17 classes were won by Ally Thodike (CATS) and Tom Abbott (JAFFA).sal;r

Results

Top 20 men: 1 A Rooke (Hadleigh), 2 R Chenery (JAFFA), 3 J Ling (JAFFA), 4 R Reason (Harwich), 5 S Cooper (Harwich, over-45), 6 T Rehal (Tiptree RR), 7 Dan King (Col/Harr), 8 K Tilley (JAFFA), 9 S Kinner (53-12), 10 S Cornforth (Springfield).

11 S Fraser-Lim (JAFFA), 12 C Burgoyne (Spring), 13 J Smith (Spring), 14 Dom King (Col/Harr), 15 A Manton (Springfield), 16 M Finbow (Witham); 17 C Martin (Witham), 18 M Clements (JAFFA), 19 P Wain (JAFFA), 20 H Mizon (Witham).

Top 20 ladies: 1 R Sweatt (Witham), 2 L Thomas (JAFFA), 3 G Humphreys (JAFFA), 4 H Watson (Col/Har), 5 E Mortimer (Hadleigh), 6 V Presland (Great Bentley, over-40), 7 D Greenwell (Hadleigh), 8 K Hodgkiss (Harwich), 9 A James (Col/Harr), 10 V Jennings (JAFFA, over-50).

11 R Roughan (Halstead), 12 D Harrington (Tiptree, o-35), 13 V Knight (Tiptree, o-40), 14 S Spencer (JAFFA), 15 R Taylor (Col/Harr, o-40), 16 S Godden (Gt Bentley), 17 J Marks (Col/Harr), 18 R Hamblyn (JAFFA), 19 L Stuckey (Witham, o-40), 20 H Eastwood (Springfield, o-45).

Men’s teams, Pool A: 1 JAFFA 106pts, 2 Springfield 175, 3 Witham 221. Pool B: 1 Harwich 163pts, 2 Halstead 314, 3 Tiptree 423.

ladies’ teams, Pool A: 1 JAFFA 29pts; 2 Col/Harr 44; 3 Hadleigh 63. Pool B: 1= Harwich 57 & Tiptree 57pts; 3 Halstead 62.

Combined teams, Pool A: 1 JAFFA, 2 Col/Harr, 3 Witham, 4 Springfield, 5 Hadleigh, 6 Great Bentley. Pool B: 1 Harwich, 2 Tiptree, 3 Hadlstead, 4 53-12, 5 Mid-Essex, 6 Coplchester & Tendring.

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