Under-13s are fine ambassadors for Chichester Runners

Chichester under-13s at their grand final / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Chichester under-13s at their grand final / Picture by Lee Hollyer

CHICHESTER’S under-13 athletes kept up the club’s fine tradition in their Sussex Grand Final at Crawley.

They gained acommendable fourth place out of the ten clubs and were neck and neck with the second and third teams throughout the 22-event match.

The result maintains Chichester’s record of never having finished outside the top half and keeps the club at the top of the all-time points table over the 16 years of the event.

Such was the dominance of the top four, there was an enormous margin of 110 points between Chichester and Haywards Heath in fifth.

The result maintains Chichester’s record of never having finished outside the top half and keeps the club at the top of the all-time points table over the 16 years of the event, just in front of Horsham, Crawley and Brighton & Hove.

Match result

1 Crawley 385

2 Brighton & Hove 322

3 Horsham 315

4 Chichester 300

5 Haywards Heath 190

6 East Grinstead 187

7 Lewes 173

8 Brighton Phoenix 169

9 Eastbourne 140

10 Worthing & District 76

Girls’ match

Chichester’s girls put up a fighting all-round performance against tough competition in what has been judged the highest-standard match since the competition began.

There was a 1.58m clearance from the Horsham No1 which puts her at the top of the UK rankings, and national top-20 performers in action thoughout.

In the long jump, Chichester’s Emily Shippam produced a best effort of 4.37m which would often be enough to win but on this occasion was good enough only for fifth.

Chichester had the best possible start on the track with Maya Shankar equalling her best time to 10.5sec to win the 75m sprint. She went on to finish a close third in the 150m with Emily Russell and Rachel Durham providing good support in the B strings.

Non-scorers Ellen Huxley and Fleur Hollyer earned places in the relay teams with quick times, while Nancy Gates and Lucy Hollyer gained valuable experience for the future.

The middle-distance quartet kept the points rolling in with Charlotte Bullard and Maggie King both well under two minutes in the 600m while Nicole Boltwood and Nina Moranne battled hard over 1,000m.

Tati Reed performed well in her first competition for the club for joint second place in the hurdles with Jess Rayner in support. Rayner then teamed up with Emily Shippam in the high jump.

Shippam did well to end third in the A string with a clearance of 1.35m with Rayner second in the B string with 1.30m.

In the four throwing events, the four Chichester girls involved gained a magnificent 51 points out of 60. A new combination of Alexia Everley and Reed both gained second places in the discus with Everley in the lead until the final round and only just pipped by the Crawley athlete.

In the javelin, Freya Chandler and Rebecca Mann repeated their successful pairing and gained 18 points out of 20 in the shot to complete Chichester’s most balanced girls’ team performance ever seen in the final.

Boys’ match

There were no individual wins for Chichester in the boys’ match but once again an all-round solid showing cemented the club’s place in the top four.

Two unexpected events provided the best results. New member Jake Harper showed good form in the discus with a throw of nearly 20m for third place in the A string, which enabled Oli Beach to win the B string with a throw of under a metre less, a combined haul of 18 points out of 20.

In the hurdles, Elliott Clarke, another athlete making his first appearance for the club, gained a close fourth place in the A string while Tom Davy was a clear second in the B string.

This was after Davy had teamed up with Joe Careswell in the 600m with Careswell just edged out by three tenthsths in the B string with a fast time of 1.46.9 and reserve George Ashby also breaking two minutes in the non-scoring race.

In the 1,000m, Owen Thomas and Douglas Smith did well to dip under the 3min 30sec barrier. Spearheading the boys’ sprints for Chichester was Jay Hinton, who was unlucky to pull a muscle just before the line in the 75m.

His momentum carried him over the line for a share of fifth place which would have certainly have been a top-three placing without the injury.

Harper ran a good B string and Careswell and Clarke combined well in a makeshift pairing over 150m to gain a valuable nine points.

No fewer than seven Chichester athletes lined up for the non-scoring 75m, showing the club have strength in depth for the future.

Jacob Piper had the fastest time, just outside 11 seconds, closely followed by Archie Lyne and Zach Enticknapp with Tom Cohen and Jonathon Simmons also inside 12 seconds. Just a few metres further back, they were joined by Alex Rivadossi and Eden Murphy.

As with the girls’ match, the field events were keenly contested by all ten clubs with Chichester giving a good account of themselves across the board.

Piper and Lyne tackled the long jump to good effect, not put off by the winning distance of more than five metres from the Crawley A string athlete, one of the longest jumps in the UK this season.

Gilbert Jones joined with Thomas for two solid fourth places in the high jump while Jones partnered Sam Spiby in the javelin for another haul of 14 points.

Spiby was joined by Oli Beach in the shot – and both athletes are young enough to compete in the same age group next season. Beach teamed up with Harper to round off an excellent competition.

PHIL BAKER

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