Blackheath Harriers, Bromley, provided hat-trick of winners in the opening Kent League races of the season on a muddy course at Tunbridge Wells, while in the team event, the senior women's second place was their highest ever in the event.

Reigning Kent League champion Jennie Butler led from start to finish, coming home more than 45 seconds clear. However, her chances of retaining the overall title this season appears slim as fixture clashes mean she may miss some matches.

With 800-metre runner Karyn O'Mahoney in 10th and marathon runner Julia Harrington 13th, the team improved one place on last year's third and prospects of a win in the event will improve with the

return of two of the club's top athletes. Siobhan Budd will be back from her studies in Italy and Olympic triathlete Sian Brice is due to give birth any time now.

There was good back up from Carolina Jones Baldock (33rd), Sarah Cummings (37th) and Alison Jelly in 47th.

The club also had the winner of the senior men's race as, on a rare excursion on the country, Great Britain's uuder-23 1,500-metre international, Michael Skinner raced away from the field for an easy win.

Roy Smith, currently in the best form of his life, achieved his highest-ever placing in the league, and with Martin Airey 14th and Anthony Draper 15th, the club was second in the team race.

Skinner has been racing for the club since he was 11 and it was in this under-13 age group the club had its other winner. Like Butler, the Andy Frankish-coached Rebecca Taylor headed the field from gun- to-tape.

The Newstead Woods schoolgirl was ably backed by Rachel Stokes (16th) and Sarah Coombes (21st) to give the team third place.

More individual wins in the younger age groups came with Eve Bugler, who was second in the under-17 girls race, while Matt Hill and Danny Brewer took third places in the under-20 and13 races respectively.

It was an encouraging turn out in the under-13s with Tom Corbett (17th), Duncan Proctor (20th), Robert D'Angelo (28th), Alex Ginn (29th) and Richard Bolton in 32nd.

Tom Beech and Dale Willis were 22nd and 23rd in the under-15s boys with Bryony Proctor 10th in the girl's race in the same age group. Ray Perkins was first home in the under-17 boy's event.

Meanwhile, there was a welcome return to form for one of the club's top distance runners at the Reebok Cross Challenge in Liverpool.

After a few years of injury problems, former Southern Cross Country champion Tim Dickinson came an excellent sixth in a strong senior men's race.

Dickinson lines up again this weekend at the National 6 Stage Road Relay at Sutton Coldfield. He is joined by Skinner, Smith, Dan Ayrton, Bill Foster and Joe Mills. The club will be fielding a team in the women's 4 stage event for the first time.

The club welcomes new members of all ages and abilities. For further details, call Dave Liston on 01322 663504 or visit the website: