Croydon Harriers’ men secured promotion to the top flight of the 2XU Surrey cross-country league for the first time in more than a decade, thanks to a third place finish on Saturday at Lloyd Park.

Brendan Murphy led the charge with his highest league finish, coming home in runner’s up spot in 29 minutes 52 seconds over the quagmire-like course.

David White (fourth, 30:32) and a returning Peter Chambers (fifth, 30:42) also bagged top five finishes, while David Brown (23rd, 32:56) edged inside the top 25.

Solid packing then ensued with Patrick Lucas (42nd, 33:44), Alex Penfold (50th, 34:13), David Chambers (51st, 34:14) and Jake English (54th, 34:26) all finishing in close proximity.

Neil Aikman (75th, 35:39) and Mark Maginn (78th, 36:04) completed the scoring 10, in a field of 149 finishers to ensure Croydon returned to division one for the first time since the 2000-01 season as runners up to Reigate Priory.

In the young athlete’s races, Omar Harhara led the Croydon charge to a team win in the U17/15 boys category, finishing third in 15:58 over the 2.5 mile course.

Laurence Johnston (16:17, third) and Kieron Connor (16:31, fourth) followed soon after and Luke Wakeling completed the scoring quartet to ensure the team win on the day.

They finished runners-up in the league overall. A further six Harriers competed.

In the U13s category, the scoring quartet of Matthew Maginn (seventh, 20:03), Matis Godet (eighth, 20:15), Caleb Drummond (12th, 21:47) and Marcus Stoute (13th, 24:07) ensured Croydon finished runners-up on the day, and fourth overall in the league.

Earlier in the afternoon, Lloyd Park played host to the Surrey Women’s League and it was Stevie Lawrence who spearheaded the Croydon challenge.

The Warlingham pupil finished runner-up in the overall young athlete’s race, but won the U17s category completing the 2.5-mile loop in 16:36.

It represents her first win in a county league event.

She was well supported by Naomi Carty (38th), Josie Kavanagh (50th), Sabrina Stoute (53rd) and Niamh Yehekzel (54th).

In the U13 girl’s competition, Misheel Suvd (37th) and Kyra Sethna-MacIntosh (43rd) were in action and Julie Williams kept the club flag flying in the women’s race finishing 174th out of 290.

This weekend sees Croydon take on the best in the county at the Surrey Indoor championships at the David Weir Leisure Centre in Sutton.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Winner: Stevie Lawrence won the U17s race in the Surrey Women’s League