The veteran women’s team from Chichester Runners are celebrating after scooping bronze medals at the final Sussex Cross Country League fixture of the season at Hickstead.
The club’s under-17 men and women led the charge for honours at the meeting, as reported last week. But another Chi squad with high hopes of medals, the women’s vets, had to do without top scorer Jane Harrop, who had already won the individual over-55 crown with a perfect score from the first three matches.
Chichester have established themselves at county level as one of the clubs to beat and look to have the depth of talent to be able to continue the trend.
It was left to regulars Sarah Loy, multiple winner of the Chichester parkrun, Anne Sydenham, who had run close to 40 minutes in the Chichester 10k, and newcomer Annabel Parker to try to hold on to their bronze team spot, supported well by regulars Helen Dean, Nadia Anderson and Sue Baker.
Loy was having her best cross-country performance of the season to finish just outside the top 20 overall and she was 12th veteran.
Sydenham in 15th and Parker 19th provided good support to give a team total of 45 points, fourth best on the day but ahead of nearest challengers Lewes, and extend their margin to 32 points over fourth place and come home with well-deserved bronze medals.
The only disappointment for team manager Sara Ellis was the combined forces of the under-17s and veterans were not able to close the gap to complete the hat-trick and win senior medals.
However at the end of her five years in charge of Chichester’s senior and under-17 women, she can step down confident in the knowledge Chichester have established themselves at county level as one of the clubs to beat and look to have the depth of talent to be able to continue the trend.
Chichester’s men have not been able to call on their best squad for any of the four fixtures.
At Hickstead Will Boutwood again showed his promise with a fine tenth place with Conrad Meagher less than 30 seconds behind in 17th.
Graham Woodward was next home in 55th with Justin Eggins the fourth scorer in 81st. This gave the club second place in division two on the day but with too much ground to make up on the leaders to secure promotion.
There was solid scoring from the B team with Dave Reading 97th, Mike Moorcroft 100th, Tim Brown 103rd and Peter Anderson 107th for ninth place in division three.
Chichester’s younger runners have not hit the heights of the under-17s this season, but there are signs they have built a sound platform for the future and there were many promising performances at Hickstead.
The day started with the Sussex primary schools championships, where teams from nine parts of Sussex were selected as a result of earlier areas race.
The winner of the Bishop Luffa trial race, Fionn O’Murchu, emerged as the winner. Having gained bronze at the Sussex clubs event in January, O’Murchu turned the tables on his Hastings rivals to gain the best win of his athletics career to date. Also in the leading pack was Max Sydenham, who finished a fine sixth, with Grace Bishop acquitting herself well in the girls’ race.
Barny McLarnon and Marcus Bone had good runs in the under-11 league race.
The under-13 girls finished sixth in the team race, just 11 points behind the runners-up. Nina Moranne was in touch with the leaders for much if the race and finished tenth with Nicole Boltwood 13th and Cerys Dickinson 18th for a team total of 41 points. Rose Potter in 29th and Clemmie Russell-Stoneham 41st were capable reserves.
The under-13 boys were able to field their top three runners and had their best result by a long way. Joe McLarnon led home in 14th closely followed by Archie Sadler in 20th and Douglas Smith 26th.
Another team to have one of their best showings of the season were the under-15 girls with Maggie King in fine form in fifth followed by new member Tara Sallaba in ninth, regular Caitlin Brown 19th and reserve Chloe Benson 23rd.
The under-15 boys went into this match in bronze position but with just nine points to spare over Brighton & Hove.
Liam Dunne led the charge with a fine tenth place in one of the most competitive age groups in the county this season. Ned Potter had his best run of the season in 12th and all eyes were on the third scorers.
Brighton’s man prevailed in 15th with Harry Sage a few places further back in 21st to leave Chichester just outside the medals.
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