A DEPLETED Colchester and Tendring Athletic Club squad battled well at their latest 53-12 Cross Country League meeting, hosted by Ipswich JAFFA.

A CATS junior team weakened by the winter coughing bug still managed to finish in a good second position at the meet, in the shadow of the Orwell Bridge.

This now leaves the title finely balanced, with both teams on six points.

Matt Brayshaw finished second and Aidan Cahill was fifth - they led the way with feisty runs against JAFFA’s best.

CATS then relied upon the upcoming youngsters to bolster their cause, with Jack Wharton finishing tenth and Finn Rattray in 22nd spot after producing his best race of the cross-country season so far.

Rocco Viljoen (25th), Kaela Swaine (30th) and brother Jude (36th) also impressed as did debutant Year 5 athlete Joseph Rogers, who was 35th.

Fred Walton and Stanley Hobbs (47th and 48th) were followed by a host of black vests.

Other CATS finishers: Rebecca Ventre 50th, Emily White 51st, Ally Thorndyke 55th, Lucy Thompson 64th, Oscar Griffith 68th, Rachel Sandercock 72nd, Elle Thompson 82nd, Emily Brayshaw 101st, Matt Clarke 106th, Lorkan Viljoen 108th Amelia Rogers 109th, Fallon Viljoen 115th, Elsa Styles 116th, George Gray 119th, Rebecca Clarke 121st.

CATS seniors were also in action, with Glenn Hobbs (116th), debutant Dave Cahill (121st), Jonathon Walton (169th) and Warren Page (175th) all battling for the cause.

CATS' Henry Dover came second at the Essex Cross County League fixture and now looks odds-on to finish as league runner-up.

Both Stanley Hobbs (35th) and Fred Walton (42nd) made their Essex League debuts in the race, held at Writtle College.

Charlie Regan finished 12th in the under-15 race while in the seniors race, Ben Miller was 49th and his father Roy finished 161st.