Jordan Rowe triumphs at Essex County Cross Country Championships

The start of the Under-15 girls race in the Essex Cross Country Championships at Hilly Fields in Col

The start of the Under-15 girls race in the Essex Cross Country Championships at Hilly Fields in Colchester last weekend - Credit: Archant

Jordan Rowe tasted victory at the annual Essex County Cross Country Championships, held over a muddy and soggy course at Hilly Fields in Colchester last Saturday.

Action from the Essex Cross Country Championships at Hilly Fields

Action from the Essex Cross Country Championships at Hilly Fields - Credit: Archant

The talented Rowe, a member of Colchester Harriers, confirmed his No. 1 billing with a comfortable win in the under-17 men’s race.

Jordan Rowe on his way to comfortably winning the Under 17 men's race at Hilly Fields

Jordan Rowe on his way to comfortably winning the Under 17 men's race at Hilly Fields - Credit: Archant

In fact, the new Southern Inter-Counties champion had more than a minute in hand on his closest rivals, clocking 18mins 13secs to finish well clear of runner-up George Elliott, of Chelmsford AC, who registered 19.17.

Fellow Chelmsford athlete Callum Charleston was fourth, and Braintree AC’s Joe Nunse also enjoyed a top 10 finish in eighth.

In addition to Rowe’s gold medal, the Harriers had considerable success elsewhere with both their senior teams taking the bronze medals – the senior men had to plough through a tough 7.5-mile mud-bath of a course, with the ladies covering a tricky five miles.

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Chelmsford AC recorded an impressive one-two-three at the head of the senior men’s field. Alex Short was crowned the county champion in 39.56, followed by team-mates David Fewell (40.26) and Grant Twist (40.39).

Chris Sellens was again the Harriers’ talisman, leading them home in 17th to set the platform for third spot in the team rankings.

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The other five scorers were Allen Smalls (20th), John Fryer (23rd), Dave Allworthy (32nd), Colin Ridley (33rd) and Simon Bent 34th. There were also top 70 finishes for Jon Nears, Rob Gibby, Anthony Barraclough and Mark Harrod on a day when 180 completed the main race.

Tom Cammack was the leading member of Springfield Striders, in 18th position, while Graeme Knott was Harwich Runners’ top performer in 21st.

Gemme Kersey, of Basildon AC, triumphed in the senior ladies’ event by a big margin of 55 seconds from Faye Fullerton, of Havering Mayesbrook, and Thurrock Harriers’ Joanne Wilkinson. Springfield’s Elizabeth Davies was fourth.

But Colchester Harriers also packed well, to emulate their male counterparts with the bronze team medals.

International marathon runner Sarah Stradling was a fine seventh in a sprint finish that saw four runners all clock the same time, including Springfield’s June Allen.

Supporting Stradling in the Colchester team were the ever-improving Laura Shewbridge (14th), super veteran Denise Morley (20th) and cross country specialist Ellie Mayne (23rd).

If it had been six to score, as in the men’s race, then the Harriers would actually have been crowned champions as their next four runners all finished well up – Heidi Steele was 24th, Amanda Henry 26th, Rebecca Cooke 31st and Lyn Higgs 32nd.

There were 122 finishers in the senior women’s race, and the Harriers (64 points) were a close third behind winners Springfield (37) and runners up Chelmsford (59).

In the younger age groups, the Harriers’ under-13 boys were unlucky to finish just out of the medals in fourth slot. The squad comprised Ziggy Lambton 15th, Danny Millward 22nd, Marcus Holmes 24th, Matther Smith 25th and Jonah Varela 39th.

The Harriers’ under-13 girls were ninth, which was a good result for team members Lauren Strutt 26th, Katie Rice 41st, Savanna Harrison 47th and Hannah Rogers 54th, and the under-15 boys were sixth thanks to the efforts of Jake Young 20th, Oscar Dawson 29th, Jack Shepherd 37th, and Drew Olley 38th.

The Colchester double act of Joy Huggins (16th) and Alice Welby (22nd) shone amongst the under-17 girls, and the duo of Molly Huggins (12th) and Samantha Hart (16th) competed in the under-20 age group.

There was a deserved silver medal for Joe Patterson, of Colchester & Tendring AC, in the under-15 boys’ race. An in-form Patterson was 14 seconds behind winner Canaan Solomon, of Woodford Green. Club-mate Benjamin Miller was 14th, Euen Chess 28th and Dominic Doherty 35th as the CATS finished fourth team.

Elsewhere, Chelmsford AC’s Thomas Keevil was second in the under-13 boys’ section, Braintree’s Courtney Gordon took fourth in the under-13 girls’ age group, and the Chelmsford trio of Khahisa Mhlanga, Jode Judd and Katie Faint achieved a one-two-three in the under-15s.

Chelmsford’s Georgia Tuckfield won the under-17 title, with Braintree’s Hannah Irwin in second. Thomas Richardson, also of Braintree, lifted the under-20 men’s trophy.

CATS’ Lydia Callan (12th) and Jess Riches (25th) impressed among the under-15s.

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