Chichester athletes find green shoots at Portsmouth

The Chichester team at the Mountbatten / Picture by Lee Hollyer
The Chichester team at the Mountbatten / Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s senior track and field athletics team made the short trip to Portsmouth in the Southern League – and came away many encouraging performances to perk up what’s been a disappointing season.

There was a new look to the men’s middle-distance events with Peter Concannon making his first appearance for the club’s league team after an impressive succession of finishes in road races across the south coast.

Thrower Tim Brown again led Chichester’s effort against quality opposition.

Firstly he teamed up with Chris West in the 3,000m and the Chichester pair were much too good for the rest. Concannon won the A string by exactly one minute in 9min 11.7sec and West was comfortably ahead in the B string, just breaking the ten-minute barrier.

Concannon completed a double with a lunge for the line to win the 1,500m – the margin a mere tenth of a second.

Conrad Meagher made it a double win for Chichester then helped produce a clean sweep by teaming up with James Baker in the 3,000m steeplechase and lapping all but one of their rivals.

Brandon Bell clocked a new best time of 56.1sec in the 400m and was just two tenths slower than his best in the 200m in 24.8.

Under-17s Brodie Keates and Sam Reading performed well against older athletes, Keates setting a new personal best of 10.31.1 while Reading partnered West over 800m.

Will Kallaway in the under-20s added to the club’s middle-distance strength in the 1,500m while ex-junior Ken Cross made a welcome return to the team after more than a decade’s absence.

Thrower Tim Brown again led Chichester’s effort against quality opposition, especially from Bracknell athlete Mark Wiseman, whose 14m shot putt and 49m discus showed why he is in the UK top 20 in each event.

In such company Brown was delighted with three A-string third places highlighted by a 36.41m effort in the hammer, less than a metre short of his best.

Two more seniors making their first appearances of the season were Aaron Hancock and Nic Fenmor Collins, with Hancock emerging as the club’s top points scorer after a busy afternoon involving seven events – the 100m and 400m hurdles on the track, long jump and triple jump, and shot, discus and hammer.

After a busy summer term coaching his Midhurst Rother pupils, Hancock was delighted with his all-round effort with very limited time for his own training.

Fenmor Collins partnered Brown in the javelin and rewarded with a second place in the B string, this after an absence from competition of several years.

The match also marked a first for a husband and wife team for the club as Sarah Fenmor Collins completed a second-place double with runner-up spot in a hard fought 5,000m in just over 20 minutes and beaten only by a nationally-ranked athlete.

Another Chichester athlete who came up against strong opposition was Grace Wills, who battled well in the 1,500m against Bracknell’s Hope Goddard, who has won multiple junior titles over track and cross country. Wills was just outside her best in 5.12.9.

Caitlin Moore had to battle hard in what was probably the best race of the day – the women’s 100m – in terms of quality with the athletes from Sutton, East Grinstead and Havant all posting excellent times. Moore’s time of 13.3 was just outside her season’s best.

The team’s mixture of promising juniors and experienced seniors, coupled with athletes returning to competition after an absence, gives reasons to be encouraged for the future and the squad look forward to the final league match on August 15 when they travel to Aldershot and may face some of the home club’s many internationals, especially in the distance races.

PHIL BAKER

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