Great battles expected at County Championships

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2019 will start as is traditional with the County Cross-country championship, which will again be held in the mud at Bexhill Down organised by Terry Skelton and the Hastings Club.

The day’s races start when the non-Championships Under 11 races are held, girls. at 11.10 and boys at 11.0 and the championship races start at 11.30 when Eleanor Strevens (Eastbourne) will, probably successfully, defend the U13 title she won last year and at 11.45 Miles Waterworth (Crawley) looks likely to take the U13 Boy’s title having won both of this season’ Sussex League events.

Probably the hottest bet, along with Strevens, to take a title will be Bethany Cook (Bodyworks) in the U15 girl’s event and quite possibly with the largest margin of victory of the afternoon and this will be her fourth successive title.

Complete entries are not to hand as we go to press, so to speak, but the reigning Boys champion, Liam Dunne from Chichester has moved into the U17 age group and Carlos Nieto (Hastings) is probably the one to watch in this group while fellow Hastings athlete George Pool could well retain his U17 crown over his home course and Alex Richer from Horsham looks to be the athlete to watch in the girl’s age group

The U20 men’s event will probably depend on which athletes are still home from University but Tomer Tarragano (Brighton & Hove) has won both of this season’s League events while Leo Brewer (Phoenix) always needs watching in Championship events.

Almi Nerurkar (Phoenix) should be a shoe in in the U20 women’s race to replace her current U17 crown and will could cause some trouble for those battling for the senior title as the two races are run together.

Reigning senior champion is Nicole Taylor (Tonbridge) and if she lines up she will probably start as favourite though Leah Harris (Worthing), who had one of her best ever runs in the Inter-counties at Oxford just before Christmas could also join the mix for the medals Chichester’s Bethany Garland who picked up the bronze medal last year.

With several of the “AB training group” intending to race and a few leading Phoenix athletes expressing interest the senior men’s race could be a corker with Tom Evans (Lewes), the current champion having a good battle on his hands. The race will miss both Brighton & Hove’s Stephen Ferroni, the recent winner of the South of Thames Championship and Crawley’s James Westlake, runner up last year, as both are injured.

Adam Clarke (Hastings), winner of the recent Inter-counties 10k road race at Brighton and last year’s bronze medallist Ross Skelton along with former winner Finn McNally (Phoenix) and club mates Robbie Fitzgibbon and Max Dumbrell plus Crawley’s Paul Navesey and Neil Boniface are expected to join the mix. If they all show it will probably be the classiest field for many years.

Generally team titles are pretty open but Phoenix will be expected to retain the silver statue of Mercury for the senior men’s race.