Youngsters impress

ATHLETICS: THURROCK Harriers’ youngsters showed the future is bright for the borough club, writes Ryan Goad.

The under-13 boys took the team honours at the third round of the Essex Cross-Country League at Hylands Park.

Reece Scott led the team home with a fine fifth place with Jack Exley just beating team-mate Harry Parker into eighth. Taylor Newell was not much further back and the fourth scoring member of the team finishing in 12th place to ensure the Harriers were convincing winners. Ben Prior was the fifth under-13 boy running, coming home in 40th spot.

Under 13 girl Hayley Instance finished ninth and led her team to fourth overall. Next home was Kira Scott in 20th, followed by Heather Peters (28th), Lucy Ball (29th) and Megan Smith (45th).

Brooke Mensah ran strongly to finish 12th in the under-15 girls race just ahead of William Edwards School pupil Gemma Archer-Haley (Havering Mayesbrook) who was 14th. Gable Hall School’s Elise Coombs (Basildon AC) finished in 35th spot.

Will Slaughter and Sam Smith finished in quick succession in 19th and 20th spot in the under-15 boys race while Gary Cahill was 15th in the under-17 men.

In the senior men’s race, East Tilbury’s Tom Richardson (Basildon) had his best league race of the season, finishing ninth, while the Harriers had the rare luxury of fielding their top four runners and were rewarded with their lowest points score of the season, 302, and sixth in the team contest.

Alex and Nick Houghton set the standard high finishing 28th and 35th. The duo rarely turn out together but when they do their impact on the team performance is enormous. Scott Rice continued his pursuit of an age group medal in the V40 section. He finished 40th overall and third in his age group. David Johnson finished in 55th spot from 206. John Green logged 68th position. Don Lawless and Anthony Tobin battled for the final spot in the scoring team. Lawless prevailed in 76th place, one in front of team mate. Mick Bumstead looks well under way to retaining his V60 title with an improved 97th place. He was top in his age group.

Other finishers: Jon Metcalf (91st), Dave Marchant (101st), Nick Trencher (102nd), Martin Mack (110th), John Russell (111th), Gary Cahill (131st), Nigel Instance (144th), Bernie Johnson(147th), Iain Scott (155th).

In the senior women’s race Sam Tuck was Thurrock’s only competitor. She returned her usual gritty performance to finish 41st in the 106-strong field.

l THURROCK Harriers’ teenage star Gemma Holloway has plenty to smile about at the moment. The 16-year-old Palmer’s College pupil was once again a dominant winner in the under-17/20 women’s race at the Essex Cross Country League in Hylands Park, making it three wins out of three.

And that came after Holloway was approached by British Athletics to be part of their Advanced Apprenticeship in Sports Excellence programme. The scheme, which was created for the most talented athletes, allows teenagers to gain a qualification alongside their current studies. Holloway will spend nine days a year with the British Athletics set up studying topics such as nutrition and performance, psychology, lifestyle and performance and dealing with the media. Holloway’s Harriers’ team-mate Chaima-Sarah Allali was 19th in the under-17/20 women’s race.

l WILLIAM Edwards pupil Katie Head has written herself into the record books. The 13-year-old throws specialist launched the 4kg hammer 43.17m at Walthamstow’s London Throws Open.

The distance was a UK best by a 13-year-old and caps a great season. The Newham & Essex Beagle athlete threw a PB of 52.18m for the 3kg hammer which ranked her second in the country and was the fourth best throw of all time.

l THE Thurrock District Schools x-country trials saw Corringham Primary School Year 5 girls win the team event with Demi Eves winning the race overall. Other results: 7th Casey Desmond, 15th Hannah Argent, 31st Rachel Garrett, 122nd Keira Smith.

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