There’s plenty of Chichester cheer in Sportshall League

Fleur Hollyer in flying action for Chichester in the Sportshall fixture  Picture by Lee Hollyer
Fleur Hollyer in flying action for Chichester in the Sportshall fixture Picture by Lee Hollyer

The Sussex Sportshall League resumed after the Christmas break with the third match at Tanbridge House School, Horsham.

The Chichester contingent are faced this season by possibly the highest standard of competition in the 20-year history of the league with record performances on show from a batch of current Sussex record-holders across many disciplines in track and field.

Chichester’s most consistent pairing of the day were under-15s James Austin and Brandon Bell, who doubled up in the two-lap sprint, vertical jump and long jump - with Kai Terry, Jack Blackman and Benedict Robinson supporting well.

There was a good balance in the under-13s with sprinters Alex Austin and Lewis Hall on good form and Michael Ackerman picking up good points with Austin in the four-lap as well showing prowess in the shot.

Middle-distance runners Jeremy Sharp and Harry Sage turned their hand to the six-lap while a trio of Tom Davy, Adam Hall and Joe Smith put in useful performances for the under-11s.

The busiest athletes of the day for the girls’ squad were under-13s Eloise Lane and Amelia Freeman, who showed great powers of recovery to tackle the four-lap and the six-lap races and then teamed up for the eight-lap paarlauf.

Sprinters Roberta Collyer, Emogen Spreckly and Rachel Laurie all showed good form on the track with Rosie Compton and Chloe Wildsmith picking up good points in the field events in the same age group.

For the under-15s, regulars Mia Faulkner and Lulu Baldwin were joined by newcomers Rosie Riedel-O’Brien and Poppy Wildsmith to give added strength in vertical and long jumps as well as the two-lap, four-lap and relay.

Maria Austin, Fleur Hollyer, Ella Howard and Emie McGeogh showed great promise for the under-11s.

Meanwhile, after the cancellation of the New Year’s Hangover race because of adverse weather and flooding, the 2014 West Sussex Fun Run League programme got under way with the Worthing seafront lido four-mile race - quickly followed a week later by a very soggy Valentines race at Southwater near Horsham.

Despite of strong winds and driving rain, a field of more than 500 assembled for the Worthing race, where no fewer than six of the Chichester contingent of 19 runners had tackled the mud of the South of England cross-country championships the day before.

A great run from 15-year-old Harry Lyne led Chichester home, beating all his senior team-mates in the process and finishing 15th, this a day after running for the club’s under-17s at Parliament Hill.

Next home were Keith Akerman in 50th and Nick Palmer in 70th, also enjoying their second race of the weekend.

Other Chichester finishers were Andrew Moore in 80th, Phil Gaunt 107th, Ashley Hiom 122nd, Kevin Batt 127th, David Pike 141st, Tony Cooley 144th, Jan Hill 162nd, David Knight 167th, Tom Blacklock 180th, Jill Renson 223rd, Peter Shaw 252nd, Stephen McNally 253rd, Sue Baker 259th, Robert Sawers 294th, Sandra Nemorin-Noel 321st and Dave Grunwell 430th.

A week later, a slightly-smaller field of 300 runners turned out for the Valentines off-road race where conditions were so tough that Chichester’s first runner home - John Leonard in a fine seventh place - took nearly 24 minutes to cover the 3.5-mile course.

Tom Blaylock led the rest with a solid 60th, just ahead of Steve Searle in 62nd and Ashley Hiom in 65th.

Other Chichester finishers: Norman Marshall 76th, Jan Hill 78th, Kevin Lockyear 79th, Tony Cooley 94th, Amanda Godfrey 100th, Tracy Lockyear 109th, Stephen McNally 112th, Jill Renson 142nd, Sue Baker 147th, Emma Searle 174th, Sandra Nemorin-Noel 191st, Dave Grunwell in 257th.

PHIL BAKER