IT was a good day for the junior teams of our clubs in the Essex Cross-Country Relay Championships with Basildon AC winning three gold medals and Southend AC two.

As well as their three golds – in the under-13 and under-15 boys and under-17 women’s races – Basildon AC also picked up two silver medals, while Southend AC also claimed two silver and two bronze medals.

Benfleet RC didn’t do too badly in the medal stakes either with two silver and two bronze medals won over the tough Hadleigh Downs course.

Basildon’s under-13 boys team led the way for the new towners, with Joe Kidd, Mason Webb and Max Jones beating the Southend trio of Toby Wright, Jack Woolf and Brandon Thorpe into second place.

Jones, running the anchor leg for Basildon, ran the fastest split of the day.

Basildon also fielded a B team – consisting of Mitchel Cox, Sam Walsh and Matthew Ashley –and they came home in fourth place.

The under-15 boys team of Christian Gray, Dan Ashley and Adam Houchell repeated their younger team-mates victory, with Houchell, on anchor, running the quickest leg.

Southend AC’s team of Zach Inwood, Joe Ray and Lawrence Willmore were silver medallists and the Benfleet squad of Adam Foster, Ed Cooper and James Hiscock bronze-medal winners.

Basildon’s final win of the day came in the under-17 women’s race where Jade Peel – who run the fastest time of the day on the opening leg – Eleanor Johnson and Emily Bullis were convincing winners over silver-medallists Southend AC, who had Alex Morgan, Sarah Imbush and Chloe Wilson in their team.

The Southend AC under-15 girls team were too strong for their nearest rivals Benfleet, with Lucy Kidwell taking the lead from the start and with Annabel Matthews-Smith and Emma Jarvis following, that lead was never relinquished.

Southend High School for Girls pupil Jarvis ran the quickest lap of the day on the anchor leg.

The Benfleet team of Antonia Tidy-Jones, Abbi-May Walters and Emily Condon chased gamefully, but had to settle for silver.

Southend’s other gold medallists on the day were their under-17 men’s team. Rob Frith set the fastest time of the day on the opening leg, before passing on to Ashley Capel and eventually Ben Franklin.

Steven Hancock also ran for Southend in their B team, which was unable to field two more athletes.

Orion Harriers were the winners in the under-13 girls, with Basildon AC edging out Benfleet RC in the battle for the remaining medals. Basildon’s anchor leg runner Niamh Smith ran the swiftest time of the day to bring her team up to second after good ground work by team-mates Maddy Evison and Elise Coombs.

Benfleet had led after the first lap, following a good run from Sinead Clark and she was well supported by Niamh O’Riordan-Mitchell and Phoebe Jeffrey as they claimed the bronze medal.

Southend AC — Ella Healey, Natasha Walter and Rachel Aldis – were fourth and Benfleet’s B team – Rebecca Hurford, Lainey Terkelsen and Ellie Calvert – fifth.

In the senior men’s race, Southend AC’s Adam Hickey laid down a fierce marker on the first leg, setting the time of the day and putting his team in first place.

His team-mates Rhys Gillard, Roy Scott and Ben Hunter then backed him up well to ensure the Seasiders won a bronze medal.

Just ahead of them in silver medal position was the Basildon AC team of Grant Webb, Jon Briggs, James Tydeman and Jack Fitsall.

Benfleet RC were so close to a gold medal in the senior women’s race, but despite a brave effort by last leg runner Catherine Stunt, she could not fight off Colchester Harriers’ international marathon runner Sarah Stradling who posted the fastest time of the day and caught Stunt with the finish in sight.

Earlier Dominique Ballard and Charlotte Peppiatt had run extremely well to put Benfleet in the driving seat after the first two legs.

Basildon AC were bronze medal winners with Karen Whitmarsh, Nicola Bredin and Anna Whitfield making up their team.

*Other results (selected, completed teams only): SW: 11 CP Joggers (J Fitsall, J Hamilton, L Rieffel), 13 Phx Striders A (S Vine, N Maslin, R Roberts), 14 Phx Striders B (D Smith, B DeSchmidt, R Buckler), 16 Phx Striders C (N Hawkins, E Lyon, N Lyon).

SM: 16 Thurrock Harriers (D Lawless, G Bangs, M Bumstead, B Johnson), 19 Billericay Striders (K Jacob, D Morgan, K Walker, D Sweet), 21 CP Joggers (R Bonham, M Hayward, I Bartram, R Vautier).