Chichester’s junior combined under-13 and under-15 team enjoyed a fine end to their National League season by cementing runners-up spot in the final fixture at Worthing.
Although they were overtaken by Woking for third spot on the day, Chichester had more than 100 points in hand to finish behind league winners Portsmouth AC.
With the standard of competition having improved throughout the season, the Chichester squad needed to be on their best form to stay in touch in a match where four out of the seven teams scored more than 400 points.
In the under-15 age group, the boys’ squad were missing a few key athletes but the reserves brought in were equal to the task. Joe Roman and Brandon Bell gave a good account of themselves in the sprints while Zac Hurst was joined by Tom Trotman in the 300m to pick up good points.
A new combination of Jonny Ball and Sam Pink posted good times in the 800m and the pair showed their versatility by going on to gain second places in both A and B strings in the discus and hammer for a further crucial 28 points to add to the total.
Sam Reading and Ben Morton battled in the 1,500m with Benedict Robinson a capable reserve, while Hurst and Bell gave their usual smooth performances over the hurdles.
With Hurst, Roman and Trotman spearheading high jump, long jump and javelin respectively and a good showing in the 4x100m and 4x300m relays, the squad emerged at the top of the boys’ under-15s rankings on the day.
No less impressive were the under-13s. Regular pairing Alex Austin and Lewis Hall started off with a double first in the 100m before dropping just a couple of points in the 200m and long jump to finish as the club’s most successful pairing of the day. Reserve Jack Dean was also on hand to gain valuable experience.
Leo Stallard smashed his personal best to record 5.04.6min in a very competitive 1,500m with Harry Carter in support, while Jeremy Sharp once again gave a good account of himself in the 800m.
Stallard and Carter combined well in the hurdles and high jump while James Gillett made his first appearance of the season in shot putt and javelin, just losing out in the shot by 6cm in a new best of 8.93m, one of the longest throws in Sussex this season in the under-13 age group.
The girls’ under-13s were also on form but again had to contend with fierce competition.
New Sussex 70m hurdles champion Alyssa White was edged into second by a newly-discovered athlete from Fleet & Crookham, whose winning grade-one time of 11.9sec puts her way up in the national rankings. White returned to winning ways in the 150m with athletes from Portsmouth and Worthing hot on her heels.
Elsewhere on the sprints, Roberta Collyer and Rosie Compton teamed up well in the 150m while the middle-distance trio had to contend with the talented Portsmouth squad who have made their mark nationally over the season.
Eloise Lane had her best run of the season in the 800m to gain second place with a strong finish over the last 50m while Xenia Truman and Caitlin Brown gained a third and second in their respective A and B strings in the 1,200m.
With a number of key athletes missing, the under-15 girls had just four competitors in action - but all showed great team spirit by filling in as many gaps as they could.
Sprinters Mia Faulkner and Annabelle Phillips scored well in sprints and the long jump while Anna and Katie Hains ran well in a fast 800m but also gave a good account of themselves in both discus and javelin to maintain the club’s standing.
With the final fixture behgind them, both age groups have much to compete for in the separate Sussex under-13 and under-15 leagues with divisional matches over the next three weeks and the two grand Sussex finals in September.
1 City of Portsmouth AC 2,394pts
2 Chichester 1,881
3 Woking 1,719
4 Worthing & District Harriers 1,344
5 Fleet & Crookham 1,342
6 New Forest Juniors 1,138
7 Havant 920