The Battles of Bexhill

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The second of this season’s Sussex Cross-county League matches on Saturday produced more big fields and some good battles at Bexhill Down.

Although mainly damp for most of the afternoon underfoot conditions were good for the notoriously muddy course and apart from the wooded stretches the going was firm.

Four of the seven races winners from Goodwood, last month, were again victorious but it was not all plain sailing.

There was a tussle in the senior men’s 5-mile race as local runner Ross Skelton (Brighton Phoenix), who is very much in form at the moment, took on Goodwood winner Jamie Knapp (Brighton & Hove) along with former County U20 champion Steven Ferroni (Brighton & Hove) in the early stages.

By half-way Ferroni had dropped off the pace and Max Dumbrell (Phoenix) joined the fray Skelton had made a couple of attempts to open up a gap but on the final circuit it was Knapp who eventually broke clear to record his second victory of the season in 26:55s comfortably clear of Skelton 27:06s with Dumbrell well back in third place in 27:48s and Ferroni having to produce a last minute sprint to take fourth place ahead of club mate James Turner though both were timed at 27:59s.

It was a similar story in the senior women’s 3-mile race where Goodwood winner, Johanna Spannagl (Horsham) again had U17 runner Almi Nerurkar for company from the start along with Chloe Cook (Bodyworks) making a welcome return to competitive cross-country racing after devoting several years to Triathlons. By half-way they were being closed down by Arena 80’s Maisie Trafford but again it was the last of three laps that sorted the placings out.

Nerurkar  responded better to the heavier going and broke the quartet up to prove good winner in 18:32s with Cook running herself into the ground to take second spot in 18:38s and Trafford finishing third in 18:52s.  Spannagl, the winner at Goodwood, had to settle for fourth place in 19.08.

It was a different story in the U17 men’s 3-mile race Tom Eames (Brighton & Hove), although happy to stay with the leading group until half-way but then eased his way well clear for his second win of the season clocking 16:45s. Local runner George Pool who recorded 16:57s finished second and Crawley’s Joe Smith clocked 17:12s for third place.

Another Goodwood winner to successfully defend their title was Bethany Cook (Bodyworks), whose sister Chloe is mentioned above. Racing in the Girl’s 2.4-mile event  she took the lead early in the race and then stretched it to the finish in 14:10s.

As at Goodwood Maya Ramnarine (Hastings) chased her home in 14:55s took second place while Lois Dooley just managed to catch Brighton & Hove club mate Rebecca Losh in the closing stages to finish third with 15:02s to 15:05s.

Draft results have now been published.