53-12 XC Writtle – Race report

Bentley Show Early Season Promise

On Sunday 29th October 39 GBRC athletes took part in the first 53-12 Cross League race at Writtle University College, hosted by Springfield Striders.  In total 440 runners took competed in the event with 222 in the men’s race, 108 ladies and 110 juniors.

The weather stayed dry, although a cold wind and slippery slopes made the going tough in places.

Both the men’s and ladies’ teams finished in fifth position, and although also now at the foot of Pool A in the League, there are a number of fast improvers who look sure to help strengthen the club’s performances over the winter.

In the men’s race Dave Wright (32nd) led the team of 23 home with another assured performance.  He was quickly followed by the ever dependable duo of Russ Sharpe (37th) and Chris Warren (44th), with Sharpe improving 7 places on last season’s final race.  Adam Smith (63rd) was next, followed by promising debutant Rob Blackman (72nd).  Mark Jasper (76th) and first-timer Paul Connell (77th) were swiftly behind, with Matt Laverack (93rd) completing the scoring eight.

Rob Thorpe (112th) began his season in excellent form, improving 27 places on the final race of the 2016/17 season back in February.  Two other club debutants also had promising openers; Peter Benton (155th) and John Cooke (192nd).

There were also a number of returnees to the cross-country scene after lengthy absences.  Mark Ross (160th) and Kevin James both opened their season’s accounts strongly, with Matt Knowles (173rd) returning after a 12 month absence through injury.

The race was won by Andrew Rooke of Hadleigh Hares.

In the ladies’ race 13 GBRC athletes competed.  Vicky Presland (joint 6th) once more began the season with a fine run, tying with former race winner Davina Greenwell of Hadleigh Hares.  Sam Godden (16th) and Meera Rajoo-Oakley (27th) provided solid support, with Eileen Shadford (35th) improving one place on the 2016/17 finale to complete the scoring team.

Two debutants made great starts to their cross-country careers – Helen Carey (43rd) and Kathy Bishop (50th) both showed they are ones to watch this season.  Fast improving Deborah Cubberley (53rd) made a fantastic advance of 15 places on her last outing in February, whilst Tricia Stacey (55th) and Anthea Colsell also improved on their last cross-country races in 2016/17.

The race was won by Rachel Sweatt of Witham Runners.

In the junior race 3 fast improving youngsters from Bentley took part with Tommy Colsell (57th) making a huge 51 place jump on his February race and finishing 12th in his age category.  He was followed by Harry Booty (74th) who leapt up 32 places on last season, with Angel Jasper (99th) also producing a fine performance to improve 11 places on her last outing.

The boy’s junior race was won by Tom Abbott of Ipswich Jaffa, with Milly Presland of Colchester Harriers taking the girls’ first spot.

Great Bentley will return to the cross-country scene next week at the challenging Harwich Runner’s hosted venue at Ramsey.

Matthew Knowles