COLCHESTER Harriers kicked-off the cross-country season with a tough double-header of fixtures.

They were in action at Horseheath, in Cambridgeshire, in the Essex League, and at Writtle College, in the 53-12 League.

Under-17 duo Hannah Watson and Max Caulfield performed fantastically in the first event to earn their Southern Inter-Counties vests for Essex.

Harriers' senior ladies finished fourth behind Chelmsford, Basildon and Havering, with Sarah Stradling sixth and first over-40 veteran and Debbie Cattermole first over-50 lady.

Harriers' finishers were under-17 girls Watson (eighth), Elizabeth Woods (26th), Daisy Hilson (37th) and Lily Waterson (38th).

Under-17 men Caulfield was fifth, Danny Millward 17th and Fergus Crouch 29th.

Under-13 girls Alexandra Bell-Cobbald was 17th and Daisy Bullamore 44th, while senior ladies Stradling was sixth, Sarah Sellens 19th, Ellla Neale 23rd, Samantha Hart 24th, Debbie Cattermole 27th and Ellie Cumner 36th.

For the senior men, Adrian Mussett was second, Angus Holford seventh, Ramadam Osman ninth, Joe Alexandra 19th, Allen Smalls 32nd, Chris Sellens 35th, Colin Ridley 40th, Andy Jobling 45th, Oscar Dawson 46th, Paul Spowage 72nd, Pete West 83rd, James Waterson 99th, Simon Smith 121st and David Hilson 136th.

The 53-12 Cross-Country League commenced over a popular five-mile course at Writtle College.

Although Harriers' men's team were weakened because of the Essex League meeting, the ladies saved the day with a powerful performance to finish second, just pipped by Ipswich Jaffa.

The men were fourth, running bravely, and with the ladies second, the combined score gave the green vests second on the day going into the second round at Ramsey.

The ladies were marshalled superbly by young Hannah Watson, who shrugged off her previous day's race to finish fourth.

She was well supported by Andrea James (eighth), Rachel Taylor (15th), Jo Marks (17th), Ffion Harris (22nd), Jenny Richardson (33rd) and Rachel Richardson-Wright, who took a fall and finished 103rd.

For the men, the King twins returned to cross-country action and there was a big success for Daniel, who was seventh, and Dominic, in 14th.

Then came Jon Nears (39rd), Alex Sales (41st), Richard Flutter (47th), Jamie Nelson (59th), Russell Goodridge (71st), Simon Smith (73rd), David Wright (79th), Fergus Crouch (86th), Nicholas Kricka (96th), Michael Burrows (127th), Dan Wilkinson (135th), Martin Claydon (143rd) and Simon Miller (145th).

The junior Harriers finished third overall - a good start for them - and Sam Hawkes had a terrific run, coming home fifth.

Milly Presland scorched round the course and was first girl and 13th overall.

Other finishers were Theo Gardiner (18th), Lee Harrison (23rd), Madeline Claydon (28th), Grace Gardiner (42nd), Savannah Harrison (58th), Isabella Minder (60th), Jon Longstaff (6th), Rachel Sale (67th), Amber Finder (69th), Daisy Bullmore (77th) and Michael Woods (79th).

Laura Shewbridge clocked one of the fastest-ever times by a Harrier lady over ten miles, managing a superb one hour, three minutes and 17 seconds in breezy conditions at the Fenland event.

At the Abingdon marathon, there were mixed results for a handful of Harriers.

Rachel Dale produced the run of the day in a personal best 3h 30m.

Richard Millward was also pleased with 3h 25m, as was Dan Wilkinson in 3h 53m, who has struggled with injury, while Simon Wilson struggled in 4h 8m.

Annette Oakman was first veteran 45 at the Run for Bud, in Birmingham.

Richard Flutter was sixth at the Chelmsford 5km in 18m 54s and was in the winning team with Chris Panton (20m 20m) and Keiron O’Callaghan (23m 32s).

Debbie Cattermole was first veteran over-50 in 21m 54s.

At the Chelmsford marathon, Richard Heath was seventh overall in 2h 58m, with Malcolm Statham clocking 3h 57m.

The last two Colchester Castle Parkruns saw Ramadam Osman, Daniel King, Mark Harrod, Andy Jobling, Paul Rodgers and Andy Raynor the first six home in a field of 333.

This was followed by a field of 323, with James Wright fourth, Jon Nears fifth, Andy Raynor sixth, Richard Boden 12th and David Wright 14th.

The Dolgellau Parkrun in mid-Wales saw a record-low field of 14 runners as Storm Brian raged around the Valleys.

David Wright was first and Rachel Richardson-Wright 11th.

Malcolm Statham ran the Blackwater marathon in 4h 11m, finishing second overall.