The penultimate fixture in the Essex Cross Country League was a local affair at Great Notley Country Park. The recent snow remained on the ground in a couple of places as the runners covered a 2 lap undulating course including the notorious Big Bird Hill.

The ladies’ team was strengthened by the presence of front runners Hazel Buist and Rosie Atkins finishing in 26th and 28th position respectively. Melanie Candler (37th) and Wendy Carter (48th) completed the scoring four. All members of the team contribute to the success of the club on the day by pushing other clubs down the score sheet. Nicole Smith, Treena Harrington, cross country regular Sarah Frost and Jenn Langley swelled the ladies’ numbers resulting in a second place finish for Halstead on the day. Halstead ladies are now joint first in Division 2 with Billericay Striders and look almost certain to secure promotion to Division 1 in their first season back in this league.

Wesley Atkins (65th) was the lead Halstead man for the second week running continuing his excellent form. Richard Candler also put in a strong performance (81st) despite having a 15 mile off road race looming the following day. Jim Clark (86th), Bob Langley (97th), birthday boy Dan Hollinshead (105th) and Andy Owen (117th) were the remaining scorers with Simon King (122nd ) and Andy Carter (134th) completing the men’s team. The men finished third in Division 2 on the day and are now third overall in the table. However, with the top 3 clubs getting promoted there is everything to play for going into the final fixture.

Elsewhere Ian Chandler and John Warne took on the tough Benfleet 15 in horrible wet weather conditions. Chandler finished in 2 hours and 28 minutes with Warne close behind in 2 hours and 31 minutes.