IT was a fantastic afternoon for Benfleet Running Club as two of their young talents claimed victories in the final Essex League Cross-Country race of the season.
Sinead Clark (under-13 girls) and Victoria Hiscock (under-15 girls) were the two who took victory over an unsurprisingly boggy course at Epping Forest.
There was also a second win of the league season for Southend AC’s Toby Wright in the under-13 boys’ race.
Clark led from virtually start to finish to take the under-13 girls’ race as she finished a comfortable distance ahead of Southend High School for Girls pupil Katie Feint (Chelmsford AC).
Southend AC’s Meghan Samuels had a terrific race to come through to take fourth place, one spot ahead of Benfleet’s second runner home, Megan Richardson.
Eastwood School’s Phoebe Jeffrey (Chelmsford AC) was sixth in a race dominated by athletes from south of the county.
Toby Wright stamped his authority on the under-13 boys’ race from the outset to take a convincing win and one which also led his team to top spot.
Wright was well backed up by Mitchell Lawrence (sixth), Craig Wheeler (10th) and Toby Bloomer (13th) as the Seasiders ran out deserving winners.
In the under-15 girls’ race, Victoria Hiscock ran a well controlled race to come through the field and take Benfleet’s second victory of the day.
Rayleigh’s Millie Smith (Chelmsford AC) finished in fourth place with Basildon AC’s Isobel Ives one place further behind and Southend AC’s Natasha May ninth.
There was something of a shock in the under-15 boys’ race as Westcliff’s George Elliott (Chelmsford AC) suffered a rare defeat as West Suffolk’s Ben Eames got the better of him.
Lawrence Willmore and Adam Jordan were third and fourth for Southend AC, while Basildon AC’s county winning quartet of Christian Gray (fifth), Max Jones (seventh), Ollie Cantwell (ninth) and Ben Haynes (13th) ensured they again took first place in the team standings.
There was a sea of blue and yellow vests in the under-17/20 women’s race as the Basildon team proved again to be the dominant force in this age group with no less than seven of them in the top 10.
Alice Perkins led them home in third place, followed by Eleanor Johnson (fourth), Jade Peel (fifth), Kaylee Dodd (sixth), Amy Webb (seventh), Poppy Aitmarri (eighth) and Emily Bullis (10th).
It was no surprise that the Basildon team were the convincing winners in the overall league team standings.
In a relatively small under-17 men’s field, Rob Frith (Southend AC) was the first south Essex runner to finish in third place and with the help of Josh Mann (eighth), Steve Hancock (ninth) and Joe Ray (11th), Southend were clear team winners.
Former Southend AC athlete James Nadin (Chelmsford AC) was seventh.
Benfleet’s Charlotte Peppiatt ran strongly for fourth in the senior women’s race as did Basildon AC’s Karen Whitmarsh who wasn’t too far further back in seventh.
While in the senior men’s race, there was a superb run by Basildon AC’s Grant Webb who recorded his highest league finish in the senior ranks with a fourth place.
Alex Houghton was eighth for Thurrock Harriers and Oliver Kyriakides, an under-20 athlete, a superb 10th for Southend AC.