Sterling effort as Woodford Green take silver

Woodford GREEN with Essex Ladies senior men’s team scooped a team silver medal in the Essex Cross Country Championships at Hadleigh Country Park on Saturday.

The women’s team wasn’t too far off the medals either, only one point separating them and a set of bronze medals.

Making the top 10 were Kevin Murphy, Mark Burgess, Kat Gundersen and new signing Evie Serventi.

The club had eight men vying for the six scoring places in the men’s 12 kilometre event, so there was good internal competition. The event witnessed the return of 22-year-old Mark Burgess, who won this race four years ago.

Burgess finished second in the club’s scoring chart, only behind Murphy by a place who took eighth spot.

Other scorers for Woodford were Tom Phillips in 16th and Darren Southcott in 18th, whilst Jim Roche and Angus Holford finished the race in 19th and 21st respectively.

But they couldn’t beat the Chelmsford team, who totalled 74, compared to Woodford’s 91.

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They were however the best represented team with 16 finishers in the 161-strong field.

Others who finished the race were Harold Wyber (24th) and Ed Messer (35th).

Andy Coleman completed the race in a time of 52 minutes and 48 seconds, with Rob Cox in 57th spot and Dave Cox only seven seconds in front of his dad Dave Cox who finished 59th.

John Wallis closed out the B team, finishing the course in 62nd.

The women’s race saw a debut from new signing, 38-year-old Serventi. This was a first taste of British cross country for the Australian and she performed admirably, only slowly losing ground on training partner Gundersen.

Both ran well and finished sixth and seventh respectively, separated by 50 seconds and just outside the automatic selection places for Essex’s inter-counties team. Bernie Pritchett enjoyed the race, finishing 12th of 82 finishers.

Woodford’s young athletes netted a couple of team medals, a bronze individual medal and six guaranteed Inter-County selections with another four in with a shout.

The individual bronze was won by Canaan Solomon in the under-13s boys’ race where he finished three seconds off silver with team-mate Daniel Rowden, just under a minute behind in seventh and with an outside chance of selection.

A gold team medal was won by Woodford’s under-20 women’s team of Claudia Conway (fifth), Sidnie Sales (seventh), Becky Hewitt (10th) and Kate Stockings (11th), while Lauren McGregor was the only Woodford finisher in the under-17 race in fourth spot.

In the under-17 men’s event, club athletes picked up the silver behind Chelmsford. Liam Blaikie was back in form and came home fifth, 10 seconds down on Basildon’s winner Jack Fitsall. James Stockings (seventh), Chris Sear (12th) and Ryan Dunne (22nd) made up the scoring team.

In the other age groups, Amelia Barrett showed steely determination to gain a fine fourth place in the biggest junior field of the day, the under-15 girls race, comprising of 46 runners.

Ellie Foster (23rd), Isobel Moss (30th), Lucy Hayes (37th), Billie Bradley (40th) and Jessica Edwards (43rd) supported with the team finishing in sixth.

Perry Rowan also picked up Inter-County selection with his fourth place in the under-15s event.