The Sussex senior men’s team equalled their best ever Post War team placing when they finished a brilliant fifth in the CAU Inter-county Cross-country championships at Cofton Park, Birmingham on Saturday in what was, overall, the most successful Sussex Inter-counties ever.And this was not the best team placing as the Under 15 Boys finished a splendid third while the Under 13 girls also placed fifth, Under 20 men and women both placed eighth and the Under 13 boys eleventh out of the 40 plus Counties who competed in each of the events.
Several leading Sussex runners were missing from the senior team and it was left to County Masters champion,Howard Bristow, who had missed the County event because of a thigh niggle, to lead the team home in 30th place for what was certainly the finest run of his career.
He was ably supported by his Brighton & Hove team mate Max Dumbrell, who was the bronze medallist in the County championship and he finished an excellent 42nd with James Baker (Chichester) who is without doubt the busiest of Sussex athletes had a brilliant run to finish 50th just ahead of Crawley’s Paul Navesey’s 59th. Dean Heneghan (Horsham Joggers) and James Turner (Brighton & Hove) also ran better than they have ever done to close in the scoring six members of the team in 81st and 84th position out of the 250 finishers who were all good quality County runners, as they were in all the races. In the team event the North East scored 78 points and Scotland East 239 points ahead of Middlesex on 294 and Kent 297 with Sussex amassing 346 points. It was in 1955 when Sussex last finished as high as fifth in the senior team event.
There were some splendid individual “Top Ten” placings for Chichester’s Ben Collins (U15) and Brighton & Hove’s Martha Coyle in the U20 women’s championships. Collins was in particularly fine form and now at the top of the U15 age group he ran a remarkably good race to finish a splendid eighth compared to his 76th place in last weekend’s English Schools U17 championship while Coyle in the U20 women’s race, who missed last weekend’s English Schools, finished a brilliant 10th. Both runners got good support from their fellow team members Ben Martin (Lewes) having another fine run to finish 19th and Joe Smith (Crawley) 27th and Leo Brewer (Lewes) closing in the scoring team in 71st.They totalled 125 points to fill third place behind Hampshire’s 42 points and 103 for Essex.
There was a second fifth team placing for the U13 girls team where Maya Ramnarine (Hastings) just got the edge on Bodywork’s Bethany Cook who finished 31st and 32nd with Lois Dooley (Brighton & Hove) 53rd and Amelia Wright (Horsham) 55th closing in the scoring quartet.
Both the Under 20 teams filled eighth spot with Rosie Ellis (Chichester) 37th, Phoebe Connolly (Brighton & Hove) 72nd and Charlotte Reading (Chichester) 78th joining Martha Coyle’s tenth place to complete the team. Stephen Ferroni (Brighton & Hove) headed up the men’s squad with a good 12th place with Worthing’s Jack Woods and Jack Leitch placing 45th and 47th and James Martin (Lewes) 124th.
The U13 boys also had a good result filling eleventh team spot with Callum Stone (East Grinstead) leading them home in 41st place with Isaac Elam (Hastings) 51st, Edward Armitage (Bodyworks) 81st and Will Carey (Lewes) 86th. The U15 girls filled 15th place with Poppy Mercer (Bodyworks) placing 44th, Ellen Crombie (Hastings) 59th, Evie Clarke (Horsham) 99th and Olivia Monk (Brighton & Hove) 10th while the U17 girls were lead home in 17th spot by Karina Bennett (Chichester) who placed 86th and the U17 Boys finished 32nd being led home by Brodie Denholm (Brighton & Hove) who finished 68th.
Unfortunately the Senior Women failed to complete a scoring team although both Emma Macready (Worthing) and Izzy Coomber (Haywards Heath) had good runs to finish 19th and 77th respectively.